Blaney Survives Last-Lap Wreck to Claim 2nd Talladega Victory

Blaney Survives Last-Lap Wreck to Claim 2nd Talladega Victory

The last time the NASCAR Cup Series went to a superspeedway, the race ended in drama as Ryan Newman crossed the finish line while wrecking in one of the most jaw-dropping crashes ever seen. This time, NASCAR at a Superspeedway began with drama when a noose was found in the garage stall of the #43 Chevrolet, driven by Bubba Wallace – the sport’s only black driver. The noose was discovered on Sunday evening after the originally scheduled race had been postponed to the following day due to rain. NASCAR immediately launched an investigation into the hate crime and the FBI, along with the Department of Justice, was brought into the investigation as well. At the time of this posting, the perpetrator had not yet been identified.

PRE-RACE: In a touching show of solidarity, all 39 NASCAR drivers pushed the #43 to the front of the grid on pit road, with Wallace inside the vehicle. Behind them, all team members walked to the front of the grid as well and stood around the car for the national anthem.

LAP 1: Martin Truex Jr started on pole with his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch beginning the race in P2 and P3 respectively. The starting order was determined by a blind draw because qualifying and practice are still barred from the schedule as part of NASCAR’s COVID-19 safety precautions. 

LAP 8: When the Ford cars of Team Penske got organized in the draft on the lower lane, the #19 of Truex Jr lost the lead to the #22 of Joey Logano.

CAUTION – LAP 25: The yellow flag flew for the competition caution to check tire wear. Logano maintained the lead during pit stops. 

LAP 56: A mixed draft of Chevrolets and Toyotas made a run to the front on the high-line, with the #8 of Tyler Reddick at the front of the pack. Reddick inched past Logano and claimed the lead.

CAUTION – LAP 55: Mother Nature decided to pay the 2.5-mile track another visit and the race was red-flagged due to rain for almost an hour.  

STAGE 1 END – LAP 60: The stage ended under caution with rookie Tyler Reddick claiming his first career stage win. Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 5. During pit stops at the stage break, Bowman briefly inherited the lead. However, Team Penske assembled once again and the lead went to the #12 of Ryan Blaney. 

CAUTION – LAP 94: The #38 of John Hunter Nemechek brought out the first incident-related caution of the day. The right rear tire on Nemechek’s Ford Mustang went down while entering the front stretch, causing the rookie driver to pull out of the draft before spinning through the tri-oval grass.

LAP 98: When the race restarted, Ryan Blaney remained in the lead but was repeatedly challenged by the #47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr and the #18 of Kyle Busch.

CAUTION – LAP 114: The yellow flew again after NASCAR officials saw debris on the back straightaway. The race restarted in time for a 2-lap shootout to the end of the stage.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 120: Ricky Stenhouse beat Blaney to the finish line by mere inches to win his first stage of 2020. Stenhouse picked up the playoff point while Blaney, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Christopher Bell completed the top 5. During the stage break, pit strategy came into play as several teams made pitstops for only fuel, not tires. Chase Elliott in the #9 won the race off pit road and led the field back to green to start the final stage. 

CAUTION – LAP 133: Elliott moved up to the high line as Blaney and Logano stormed past on the bottom. Elliott received a major bump from the #2 of Keselowski, just as Blaney and Logano moved up to the top groove to block the run. With nowhere to go, Elliott tried to veer to the lower lane but was turned by Keselowski before completing the move. The #9 wrecked towards the SAFER barrier and was hit by the #3 of Austin Dillon. Both the #9 and the #3 went to the garage and exited the race early.

CAUTION – LAP 141: The caution came out for the #15 of Brennan Poole and the #51 of Joey Gase who made contact at the back of the pack after the right rear tire went flat on the #15.

CAUTION – LAP 185: While the #48 of Jimmie Johnson was making a charge to the front, he was tagged in the left-rear quarter panel by the #4 of Kevin Harvick. Johnson spun to the apron at the entrance to Turn 1, while avoiding contact with other drivers. This caution caused the race to go into overtime, triggering a 2-lap shoot out to the checkered flag.

LAP 191: Heading into Turn 3, the #19 of Martin Truex made contact with the #8 of Reddick and collected Corey Lajoie, Matt DiBenedetto, and others. Since it was the last lap, the field raced back to the line as the draft quickly became every-man-for-himself. Coming to the line on the front stretch, the #20 of Erik Jones made an attempt at the win as Blaney drag-raced and door slammed the #20. Jones ricocheted and hit the outside wall. The #10 of Aric Almirola made a run up the middle lane but was spun by the #47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who was also making a mad dash for the lead.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 191: Blaney crossed the line just 0.007 seconds ahead of Stenhouse and claimed a well-deserved victory, having led 63 laps in total. This was the #12’s first win of 2020 and his second at Talladega. Almirola crossed the finished line backward but still managed to claim 3rd place. 

RESULTS:

  1. Ryan Blaney
  2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  3. Aric Almirola
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Erik Jones
  6. Chris Buescher
  7. Alex Bowman
  8. John Hunter Nemechek
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Kevin Harvick
  11. William Byron
  12. Ty Dillon
  13. Jimmie Johnson
  14. Bubba Wallace
  15. Ryan Preece
  16. Corey LaJoie
  17. Joey Logano
  18. Michael McDowell
  19. Brad Keselowski
  20. Tyler Reddick
  21. Brendan Gaughan
  22. Cole Custer
  23. Ryan Newman
  24. Martin Truex Jr
  25. Clint Bowyer
  26. Matt DiBenedetto
  27. Quin Houff
  28. Daniel Suarez
  29. Christopher Bell
  30. Gray Gaulding
  31. BJ McLeod
  32. Kyle Busch
  33. Timmy Hill
  34. Garrett Smithley
  35. Brennan Poole
  36. JJ Yeley
  37. Joey Gase
  38. Chase Elliott
  39. Austin Dillon
  40. Matt Kenseth
Share