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NASCAR Xfinity: Ryan Blaney wins at Dover

Ryan Blaney celebrates in victory lane at Dover International Speedway after winning the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 on Sept. 30, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Ryan Blaney celebrates in victory lane at Dover International Speedway after winning the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 on Sept. 30, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney played NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff spoiler Saturday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway with his win of the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200. He led 136 laps of the 200-lap race, including a win in the second 60-lap stage of the race.

“It’s really hard to get a car like that, and to be honest, we didn’t have it in the first run,” Blaney said. “We were a little bit off on the first run. We made some great changes after the first stage to get it better to where it needs to be. We actually got it better for the last run. I think this team does a great job with that of maybe not firing off the greatest, but they know how to work on it and make it better throughout the race. As a driver, that all you can ask for — great changes throughout. It’s awesome to get to victory lane with Fitzgerald (Glider Kits, sponsor). This is really cool. We were close the first race this year and just didn’t quite get it. Definitely learned a lot for tomorrow.”

Justin Allgaier finished second to take sole possession of the championship points standings after ending the race at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 23 in a tie with Cole Custer.

William Byron finished third and moved from fifth to second in the standings.

Byron started on the pole and led the entire opening 60-lap stage, claiming a stage win to pad his playoff-point tally. Also, he moved from fifth to second in the standings.

Blaney got up to second in the closing laps of the first stage and got off pit road ahead of Byron during the caution between the first two stages to take a lead he didn’t relinquish throughout the remainder of the race.

“I was really tight the first run,” Blaney said. “We were super free here the first race. We tried to get to the other side of it and just overshot it. It was cloudy the first part of the race, but when the sun came out, I thought we got better and the track came to us. That’s what we planned on.”

Byron ran second to Blaney throughout the second stage, but early in the final 80-lap stage of the race, Allgaier took second as Blaney pulled away.
Blaney and Byron combined to lead all but two laps of the race. Daniel Suarez was credited with leading the other two — one each during each of the yellow flags that separated the race into its three stages.

After running in the top-five throughout the first 60-lap stage of the race, Erik Jones was nabbed speeding on pit road after the end of the first stage. He got back inside the top-10 by the end of stage two, but he was forced down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop for a right-rear tire issue with 12 laps remaining.

The race got off to a slow start, with the yellow flag waving three times in the first 25 laps. After those three cautions, the yellow flag waved only two more times to mark the conclusions of the first and second stages.

Daniel Hemric and Brennan Poole rounded out the top-five with fourth and fifth-place finishes.

Matt Tifft finished sixth after starting the race in the back for an unapproved tire change and, then, sustaining rear-end damage in the early laps of the race.

“We just try to take it race by race,” Tifft said. “You know; we’ve needed the consistency and we’ve had it there, speed wise, in parts of the season, but we just had things happen to us. So we’re just trying to be smart; you know? We kind of knew today that we were going to have an uphill battle starting from the back, but then, right off the bat, we got smacked in the back. I was hoping the damage wasn’t going to be too severe and it wasn’t; it didn’t affect us at all. You know; it was a great day for our team. We just need to keep that consistency rolling through next week in Charlotte. You know; it’s a – nothing’s set in stone yet, but if we can keep plugging away like we are right now. I wouldn’t say we unloaded the best we have all year by any means, but we just kept working on it, working on it and by the end of second practice, our Salute to Service Camry was pretty spot on. I knew we were going to have a good piece, but I knew there was going to be a lot of work to be done. You got to be super patient too, just trying to fight back from that far back.”

Suarez seventh, Custer was eighth, Elliott Sadler ninth, and Brendan Gaughan finished 10th.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on September 30, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,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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