Ryan Blaney wins YellaWood 500, locks into the round of 8
TALLADEGA, Ala. (WSFA) - Ryan Blaney punched his ticket in the next round of the NASCAR playoffs on Sunday afternoon when he edged out Kevin Harvick by 0.012 seconds and the checkered flag.
The victory is Blaney’s second of the season and his third trip to victory lane at the famed Alabama Superspeedway.
Blaney passed Kevin Harvick on the back straightaway of the final lap. Coming off turn four into the tri-oval, Harvick was gaining ground, and it became a drag race to the finish line. Blaney held on as the rest of the field began wrecking behind the leaders.
“It was fun to drag race Kevin there at the end,” Blaney stated about the last lap of the race.
Kevin Harvick’s final ride at Talladega was an exciting one, and it was a classic Harvick finish. Somehow, throughout his entire career, he has found ways to show up on these superspeedways in the final laps and keep all the fans on the edge of their seats.
There were a few other playoff contenders that had forgettable days. Ross Chastain got caught up in a wreck when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran out of fuel on the final lap of the first stage. The slowing Stenhouse bottled up the cars behind him, and Chastain was just a victim of circumstances.
Brad Keselowski had been running up front all day, and then, on lap 162, he gave a little push in the tri-oval to Carson Hocevar, causing him to spin. Hocevar collected Ty Gibbs and Austin Dillon as he went around. Dillion ended up clipping Keselowski, whose car went briefly airborne. All the drivers were checked out and released from the infield care center.
Current points leader William Byron was in a great position at the end to win his second straight. However, there wasn’t anywhere to go as Harvick and Blaney battled for the win, and Byron settled for a third-place finish.
Next up for the NASCAR Cup Series is a stop at the Charlotte Roval on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. The road course will mark the end of the round of twelve as the playoff field will be cut down to just eight drivers. The current drivers below that cutoff line are Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Busch.
After the post-race inspection, Kevin Harvick was disqualified. The car was found in violation of Sections 126.96.36.199.F and 14.1.E and P; the former states that “windshield fasteners must remain secure for the entire Event,” and the latter section pertains to “Overall Assembled Vehicle Rules.”
Due to this ruling, Harvick was demoted to a last-place finish (38th), and he relinquished the three-stage points he earned for an eighth-place finish in the first stage of the race.
Greg Zipadelli, chief competition officer for Stewart-Haas Racing, released the following statement regarding the penalty NASCAR levied against the No. 4 NASCAR Cup Series team following the YellaWood 500 last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
“At the completion of the race, not all of our windshield fasteners were secure, as we had bolts that hold the windshield in place back out over the course of the 500 miles. We are in the process of diagnosing why this happened and how to prevent it moving forward. We are disappointed in NASCAR’s decision to disqualify our racecar and the hard-earned finish by our driver and team, but we will not appeal. Our complete focus is on the remaining races on this year’s schedule.”
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