Ryan Blaney Starts From The Rear And Battles Back To Win At Charlotte Motor Speedwayby Camille Jones May 27, 2017
CONCORD, N.C. – Ryan Blaney held off a hard-charging Kevin Harvick on a restart with three laps to go at Charlotte Motor Speedway to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 on Saturday afternoon.
After qualifying in the third position, Blaney was forced to start from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments on his Team Penske No. 12 Snap-On Ford. He went on to lead a race high of 107 laps on his way to capturing his fifth career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory. Blaney has competed in a total of five series events in the 2017, and no finish has been worse than fifth. The last time Blaney won in the NASCAR XFINITY Series was in September of 2015 at Kentucky Speedway. This is the second victory of the season for Team Penske after Joey Logano’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this season.
“It’s pretty neat to win here. … We had a really awesome race car all day,” Blaney said. “We had to start in the back and I thought that was pretty impressive thing to do to get up front. After we got the lead, we were able to control the race. I lost the lead there on the last pit stop. We had a good pit stop, I just kind of got boxed in. We didn’t get the angle there and that was on me. Luckily, we were able to get back up front and give ourselves a shot. Starting third, we only had a couple of laps to get back up front and try and make it happen. We were getting really good restarts all day. So, my hat’s off to the Penske group.”
Kevin Harvick finished in the second position in his Stewart Haas Racing No. 41 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford after leading 58 of the 200 laps raced. Harvick captured his 18th top-10 finish in 28 NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“If I could do (the final restart) again I would probably do it differently,” Harvick said. “I felt like the 12 (Blaney) had the best car on restarts. He was the one who helped us get the lead. Just wasn’t able to get going through one and two. I needed to be clear by the time I got to three and four. I hadn’t been taking the top but I felt if the 12 and 22 (Brad Keselowski) got paired up on the top, I would be in double trouble. I had a heck of a time today. All in all, I just got beat there by the 12. He did a good job all day there on the restarts. I’m really proud of everybody on the team. We ran well and led a bunch of laps.”
Austin Dillon rallied back in his No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet to capture the third-place finish position after jumping the start of the race and being sent down pit road for a pass-thru penalty.
Christopher Bell spun through the frontstretch grass to bring out the caution on lap four, but he rallied back to finish fourth in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut.
“JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) brought a really fast SiriusXM Camry today, just really thankful to be in this No. 18 car,” Bell said. “We had to fight through a lot of adversity there, we had a lot of issues there. We would start passing guys and we’d have to go back and start at the tail. I’m glad it was 200 laps because we used every single bit of it. We didn’t have a lot of luck on the restarts at the beginning of the race starting on the bottom, but we got the luck when we needed it at the end.”
Denny Hamlin finished in the fifth position. Brad Keselowski, Cole Custer, Brennan Poole, Brendan Gaughan and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-10.
Darrell Wallace Jr. made contact with the outside wall and wiggled as the field went by him as he tried to keep his Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Leidos Ford straight on the track; however, he went for a spin and brought out the caution with seven laps to go.
The field lined up for a restart and took the green flag with just three laps remaining. Harvick and Blaney battled side-by-side on the front row for the lead, before Blaney dove low to make the winning pass.
There were three Stages in the event. Harvick dominated Stage 1, while Blaney took the win in Stage 2 and Stage 3, winning the 300-mile race.
The Hisense 4K TV 300 saw a total of 12 cautions with 52 laps run with the yellow flag flying. There were 12 lead changes with seven different leaders.
Elliott Sadler currently leads the points standings over teammate Justin Allgaier by just six points.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to competition on Saturday, June 3 at Dover International Speedway for the OneMain Financial 200. Coverage will be found on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com