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NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney nabs All-Star win in controversial finish

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – MAY 22: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Wrangler Ford, celebrates with the million dollar check in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway on May 22, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Ryan Blaney won the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth on Sunday night after taking the checkered flag twice. He took his first checkered flag just after a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on what was thought to be the final lap, but unlike in official points-paying events, a caution on the final lap in an exhibition event like the All-Star Race sends the event into overtime.

Blaney, thinking he won at the first checkered flag, lowered his window net. He struggled under the caution to put the net back up and managed to do so.

“We were cruising, there, and I just wanted to get to the white to have it covered, and then, the caution came out off of four,” Blaney said. “I thought it was like any other race. That rule was never kind of relayed to us. I already took my window net down and everything. My left arm is worn out from trying to get that damn thing back up. I got it rigged up enough to where it halfway stayed. I appreciate NASCAR for not making us come down pit road to fix it and letting me get it clipped back again to where we could stay out there. This Mustang was a rocketship. I am really glad we ended up winning that after that last caution. I am so proud of everybody. Tonight will be fun.”

After leading a race-high 84 laps, Blaney snapped a two-race winning streak by Hendrick Motorsports of the yearly exhibition event.

The eventual race winner took his race-winning lead by passing Team Penske teammate Austin Cindric on lap 84 of the race that was scheduled for 125 laps but extended to 140 laps by overtime restarts late in two stages and at the end of the race.

The Penske trio of Blaney, Cindric and Joey Logano led a group of eight drivers who stayed out during a seventh and final caution on lap 105. Denny Hamlin, meanwhile, was the first off pit road with new tires.

Hamlin was up to second after passing Cindric on lap 119 to take race runner-up honors. After the race, Hamlin questioned Blaney’s win because of Blaney’s dropped window net during the final caution.

“That’s the rule,” Hamlin said when asked if Blaney should’ve been black-flagged. “I don’t know what we’re talking about, here. This is not a judgement call by me. This is just, that’s the rule. It’s unfortunate for him. Very, very unfortunate for him, but it’s the rule. You have to play by the rules.”

Cindric and Logano finished third and fourth while Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.

After starting on the pole, Kyle Busch dominated the race early, including a stage-one win on lap 25. He led all the way until a cut right-rear tire resulted in a big crash on lap 48 that also involved Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott. The race was red-flagged because of the incident.

Cindric inherited the lead, and after an overtime restart took the second 25-lap stage win.

William Byron and Blaney were the first two off pit road after stage two to restart in the top-two for the third 25-lap stage. Meanwhile, Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske pit crew won $100,000 bonus for the fastest pit crew when mandatory stops were made between the second and third stages.

Blaney passed Byron for the lead on lap 58 for the stage-three win. The third stage also went into overtime after a late-stage spin by Christopher Bell.

Cindric, Blaney and Logano restarted in the top-three for the final 50-lap stage — Cindric and Blaney because of stage wins and Logano as a result of his team’s pit-crew competition win.

Alex Bowman finished sixth, and A.J. Allmendinger was seventh. Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing teammates Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski finished eighth and ninth, and Christopher Bell rounded out the top-10.

Stenhouse, Buescher, Suarez and Erik Jones advanced from the 50-lap All-Star Open to start in the last four positions of the 24-car All-Star Race.

Stenhouse won the first 20-lap stage after taking the lead on lap one and running front for the entire stage. Buescher won the second 20-lap stage.

Corey Lajoie was up front to start stage two of the open after staying out during the caution between the first two stages. But Buescher took the lead on a lap-32 restart that followed a Landon Cassill crash.

“It is cool to be able to race our way in with our Fastenal Ford Mustang,” Buescher said after his stage win in the Open. “That was some aggressive racing like we know it is going to be with these short runs when we come to the All-Star event. We got side-by-side, there, and when I saw him starting to slip up the hill, I knew we had to commit. It was cool. I got a good push down the straightaway and had to be really protective into one and that grip was just starting to come in. I am curious to see where the end of this race goes and really excited for the All-Star race tonight.”

Suarez took the checkered flag in the Open after leading the entire 10-lap final stage.

Jones was the final driver to advance to the main event by receiving the most votes among drivers not already advancing to the All-Star Race in an online fan vote.

Stenhouse finished the All-Star Race in the 19th position after an unscheduled pit stop for a flat tire and his late-race crash. Jones wound up 20th after a lap-105 crash.

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Posted by on May 23, 2022. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.