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NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney wins at Michigan

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN – AUGUST 22: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Cardell Cabinetry Ford, celebrates in the Ruoff Mortgage victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 22, 2021 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


Ryan Blaney got out in front of William Byron on a restart in the final 10 laps of the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Sunday for his second win of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. It also extended Ford’s string of consecutive Cup Series wins at MIS to seven.

“We were going to be fourth and the front row was open,” Blaney said of the final restart. “You have to take the front row. It gave us a shot to win the race and Kyle (Busch) gave us a really good push to get us clear into turn one, and then, I was playing defense. We were wide open, especially with (Kyle) Larson and William laying back and trying to get runs. That made it tough. It was cool to persevere all day. We didn’t start off very good, but we worked on it all day and found ourselves in a spot to capitalize on it at the end and did that. A very cool day and nice to be in victory lane here in Michigan. This is huge for Ford and Mr. Penske and a lot of fun.”

Byron finished, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson in third. Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

Larson started on the pole, but another Hendrick driver, Chase Elliott, won the opening stage at lap 60.
Larson led until a lap-20 competition caution, during which Hamlin got off pit road first by taking fuel only. On lap 27, the lap after the restart, Elliott took his first lead of the race.

Larson was first off pit road after the first stage to restart up front for stage two, but he lost that lead to Elliott on lap 80.

Elliott gave up his lead to pit during a cycle of green-flag stops on lap 111. Toyota drivers, including Kyle Busch, waited a few more laps to make their stops, and after taking only two tires late in the stage, Busch cycled to the lead for a stage-two win on lap 120.

Stage two winded with an Austin Dillon head-on crash into the wall after contact with Brad Keselowski. As Dillon exited the race, Keselowski continued to finish ninth.

“I was just trying to get as many stage points as I could get right there and did a good job of side-drafting and came down to the apron, and I’ve seen just one quick replay, but it was after the start/finish line,” Dillon said. “I was starting to come up off the apron, because it’s so rough down there. But I figured by that point, he would have given me a little room. I hate it. I’m thankful that the good Lord kept me safe today. That was a heck of a wreck, but I feel fine. I hate it for BREZTRI and my guys most of all. The built a rocket ship. They really wanted this one, and I did too. Just working our tails off right there. I think we would have had a shot to do something there at the end with our race car. It’s the best race car we’ve brought to the track at RCR this year, I feel like. It’s just a bummer, but we’ve got Daytona left and I just hate it. I don’t know why it happened, really. I thought I had a little room to come up, and he just held me down there a little bit too long, I guess.”

Busch returned to pit road during the caution after the second stage, along with some of the other front runners. Larson, meanwhile, was among the drivers who stayed out after stage two to retake the lead.

Larson continued to lead until a final cycle of green-flag stops inside the final 50 laps of the 200-lap race. But when the cycle completed on lap 174, Byron was the leader and Larson in second.

Other top-10 finishers included Matt DiBdnedetto in sixth, Kyle Busch in seventh, Elliott in eighth and Martin Truex Jr. in 10th.

The yellow flag waved six times throughout the race, including a caution for rain on lap 181. The precipitation never got harder than a sprinkle and fell over only a portion of the race track, so thd race was never red-flagged.

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Posted by on August 22, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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