TALLADEGA, Ala. – Ryan Blaney’s winless streak in the NASCAR Cup Series extends to 56 races.
But he didn’t go down without a fight.
“The Fords were quick,” Blaney smirked. “It’s a fast car, just a shame not to win.”
Blaney led in the closing restarts of the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, including two overtime restarts. During all restarts, Blaney teamed up with manufacturer teammate Aric Almirola. Almirola gave Blaney strong pushes on the restarts to gain early control of the field, but a flat tire on the final restart changed Blaney’s attack strategy in the last laps.
Ultimately, a crash stopped the race to the start-finish line early, giving Kyle Busch the win by virtue of the timing of the caution flag.
“We did a good job working together,” Blaney continued. “But it’s unfortunate we got a little separated there with the No. 4 having to pit and the No. 10 having a right-front flat. I think we worked great together… just I think someone ran out of gas at the restart zone and kind of hurt our lane.”
NASCAR has faced controversy lately with the packages of the NextGen car at short tracks, and that controversy has followed to the largest circuits of superspeedway racing. At Talladega, fans usually witness three-wide racing – even four-wide battles – with drivers grinding doors, banging bumpers and swerving blocks to fight for the lead. Sometimes it leads to the biggest crashes in NASCAR history, but mostly showcases that NASCAR drivers are truly the best to wheel stock cars in America.
Sunday’s race saw a total of 21 leaders, only 14 when excluding pit stop cycles. However, statistics aside, fans visibly saw the aggression low and the race stay mild throughout the afternoon. Drivers even felt the mellow “follow the leader” mentality until the checkered flag was within reach.
“This is a completely separate race than anywhere else,” he shared. “You take it for what it’s worth, get ready to go for the next speedway.”
Drivers play with the cards they are dealt, and Blaney hopes to continue climbing the championship standings. He sits eighth in points with top-10 finishes at all superspeedway events.
“Hopefully, the momentum carries over.”