TALLADEGA, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney is locked into the third round of the NASCAR Playoffs after surviving a wild, rain-delayed 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Blaney’s No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford barely beat the No. 6 Wyndham Rewards Ford of Ryan Newman to the finish line with the margin of victory a mere 0.007-seconds. The victory was Blaney’s first of the year and third of his career.
“An amazing effort the last two days, to be honest with you,” said Blaney, whose family co-owns Sharon Speedway. “From spinning out early yesterday, missing some big ones today, weave our way through. I can’t thank Aric (Almirola) at the end for helping me out. That big push that Newman and the 11 got, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to block it. They were coming so fast; they would have split me”.
Newman led the field off of turn 4 on the final lap but Talladega’s finish line is at the end of the tri-oval instead of the middle like most racetracks so that gave Blaney more track to get the job done.
“Disappointing to not win that one, to be so close,” Newman said. “I’ve been that close here before. Quite a few years I’ve tried. But just crazy racing and proud to get our Ford a good finish.”
When asked if he could’ve done anything differently Newman offered this response.
“You could replay it 30 days from now and come up with 27 different answers,” said Newman. “I think I could have gone down and taken his air, and he probably would have worked to the outside of me and probably spun me as I tried to block him.”
The race was slowed by 9-caution flags for 43-laps and included three big crashes that involved several cars. The first one happened when Alex Bowman tried to block Joey Logano, who punted Bowman out of the way. Bowman came back up the track and collected several cars including his teammate Chase Elliott. Eleven cars were involved in that “big one”.
The second big crash came on lap 164 when Kurt Busch got into the back of William Byron, turning the No. 24 Chevy into the path of several cars. Eight cars were involved in that crash.
They weren’t done. On lap 183 Kyle Busch was turned in front of the field, sending Brendan Gaughan flipping over several cars.
.@Brendan62 stuck the landing.
An unreal crash, but the car landed on all four tires like a freakin' cat. pic.twitter.com/aRHNEWK3mT
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 15, 2019
The victory automatically guaranteed Blaney a spot in the third round of the NASCAR Playoffs, joining Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson. Only 8-drivers will advance to round three, so only 6-spots remain.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin finished third in the race and sits third in the Playoff standings but is first in points. Hamlin’s teammate Martin Truex Jr is second in points and fourth on the playoff grid heading to Sunday’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are fifth through eighth on the playoff grid.
Logano sits 18-points ahead of ninth place Alex Bowman and 22-points ahead of 10th place Chase Elliott. Clint Bowyer is 2-points behind Elliott and William Byron is 27-points out of the final playoff spot.
The Hollywood Casino 400 takes place Sunday, October 20th at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBC and can be heard on Motor Racing Network affiliates or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.