Ryan Blaney wins the GEICO 500 at the line, in a heated battle with Ricky Stenhouse Jr to the checkered flag in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Talladega Superspeedway is home to fast speed, tight packs, and big wrecks. The NASCAR Cup Series brings forty drivers in two lines roaring through two straightaways and high banked corners. It’s a track that gives fans the chance to witness some of the best racing seen. Drivers will weave in and out of lines to draft their way up to the front. The races at Talladega Superspeedway are two of the most anticipated races of the year.
The First Stage
Martin Truex Jr. held the pole coming into Monday’s race but let Denny Hamlin move into the lead to kick off the race.
Joey Logano came out of the competition caution with the lead, staying in control through the late laps of the stage.
The Second Stage
After a short delay and pit stops, the second stage kicked off with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski pushing Ryan Blaney to the lead. The three teammates held the bottom lane, denying anyone else from breaking up the trio.
With more rain on the way, many teams were vying for their position on the track. Fortunately, the rain never came. So, everyone was rethinking their strategy as a debris caution came out on lap 30. The caution split the stage into two sections, as everyone came down pit road for service.
Ryan Blaney was the first off pit road, continuing to control the pack. With ten laps remaining, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a big run on the outside lane and was able to clear Blaney for the lead. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went on to win the second stage of the race.
The Third Stage
Chris Buescher was able to cycle to the lead after taking fuel only during his pit service. He quickly shuffled out of line on the restart. Chase Elliott then moves to the front, but he even loses his spot. As Elliott was falling through the field, he spun around to bring out the next caution.
Ryan Blaney was then able to lead once again. Ten laps later, another caution came out as Brennan Poole lost control of his car through the corner. William Byron took the lead on the restart with 46 laps remaining.
Shortly after, Tyler Reddick took over the race lead and led the field for a few laps in the race. Stenhouse Jr. then gave Blaney a push back to the top spot. A late caution came out after Jimmie Johnson was turned around by Kevin Harvick.
The race moved into overtime as Harvick led the field to the green flag, then pulling away on the bottom. Ryan Blaney lost several spots on the top lane but held his line. On the final lap, Blaney received help from Ricky Stenhouse Jr, allowing Blaney to charge back into the lead heading onto the front stretch. Battling side by side with Erik Jones coming to the line, Blaney kept his focus. Jones then spins around, and Blaney beats Stenhouse Jr. by less than an inch. Ryan Blaney wins the GEICO 500, his second-straight Talladega victory.
Team Penske in the Playoffs
Ryan Blaney finally wins his first race of the season. Team Penske now has all their drivers in the playoffs, with each of them having a race win.
Ryan Blaney and his Penske teammates were working together all day long. The team strategy with the three cars lining themselves up on the bottom and holding their cars on the yellow line was a winning plan. All three drivers held the fastest line around the track to pick up some speed. Blaney led the most laps of the race because of this approach.
Every time the Cup Series comes back to the big tracks, more teams are trying to do what Team Penske is doing by teaming together on the superspeedways. It shows how sticking together with teammates and working in a line pays off. The Team Penske strategy kept Blaney in the lead, and ultimately, gave him the win.