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.
Martin Truex Jr Victorious At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr passed teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 485 and went on the win the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was Truex’s second of 2021 and 29th of his Cup Series Career.
“He (Hamlin) started getting tight, our car was getting better and better,” said Truex of the late race pass. “We were able to take advantage of it. Really happy. For whatever reason our car really turned on when the lights went down. Always good when a plan comes together and it works out the way you hoped it would.”
Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott finished second, his seventh top-10 finish in 13-races at Martinsville and fourth top-10 of 2021.
“Really, really hard-fought second actually for us,” said Elliott. “We were not great, but had some, I guess our strong suit was kind of early on in the run, then really faded hard, too hard there in the latter part of a run. But we never got one of those super long runs, which is probably a good thing for us because we were struggling on that end. But, yeah, proud we could fight back.”
Hamlin settled for third after leading the most laps in the race (267).
“Had a really good car on the short run all day,” said Hamlin. “Got great restarts. Was fast for 25, 30 laps. Then it seemed like guys would start catching us. Unfortunately it was just too many laps there at the end that we couldn’t hold those guys off.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively, giving HMS three cars in the top 5.
The race featured 18-lead changes among 7-drivers and was slowed by 15-caution flags for 105-laps.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is April 18, 2020 at Richmond Raceway.
Josh Berry Gets First Career Xfinity Series Win At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josh Berry passed Ty Gibbs for the lead on lap 223 and stayed out front for the final 27-laps to get his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the rain-delayed Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was the first career victory for Berry in 13 Xfinity Series starts.
“Man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys,” said Berry referring to his No. 8 JR Motorsports team. “They’re such a great group. I knew this would be a good opportunity to win. (Crew chief) Taylor (Moyer) called a perfect race. The car was good, and we just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel-hop. This is just unbelievable.”
Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson finished second and picked up a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, which eased the pain of being the runner-up.
“One hundred thousand dollars richer,” said Gragson. “Great 1-2 finish for our team at JR Motorsports. I really wanted to win there, but I was having to protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way. I couldn’t open up my arc the way I needed to and make speed.”
Daniel Hemric finished in third position followed by Gibbs, who faded to a fourth place finish. Gibbs’ teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth. Jones was the leader Friday night when storms red-flagged the event after completing 91-laps.
The race featured 13-lead changes among 9-drivers. The race was slowed by 12-caution flags for 75-laps.
The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is April 24, 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mother Nature Wins At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature is throwing a wrench into this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series Schedules at Martinsville Virginia.
Friday’s Xfinity race is under a red flag following 92-laps of the scheduled 250-lap event after rain showers put an end to NASCAR’s attempt to get the event finished. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is scored as the leader of the race.
NASCAR has rescheduled the remainder of the event for Sunday at Noon ET.
The Cup Series race was red flagged on lap 43 because of showers. JGR’s Denny Hamlin is scored as the leader. Hamlin has led 38-laps. Team Penske’s Joey Logano started on the pole position and led the other laps.
NASCAR will restart the event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Per NASCAR rules, an event is considered official after half of the scheduled distance has been completed.
Both races will be broadcast live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.