It was a photo finish for Ryan Blaney in his first Talladega win; taking Team Penske and Ford Performance back to Victory Lane at Talladega SuperSpeedway for the 29th time. Blaney is now the second driver locked into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8. Ford Performance teams have won 8 out of the last 9 races at Talladega SuperSpeedway.
“Congratulations Ryan, Roger, and Team Penske,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Blaney and Newman put it all on the line during that last lap and left everything on the track. It’s a great day when you see both Ford Performance cars battling for the win and five different Ford teams finishing in the top-10. It demonstrates the level of determination and passion that these teams have to win. We are honored to design, develop, and build the FR9 Engines in partnership with Ford Performance.”
After the eighth caution, the race went back to green with the No. 12 Blaney and No. 10 Aric Almirola in the front row with 2 laps to go. On the final lap, Blaney surrendered the lead to Ryan Newman, who received a strong push to the front. Coming to the checkered flag, Blaney side-drafted, and with help from fellow Ford teammate Almirola, beat Newman to the finish line by a mere .007 seconds. This marked Blaney’s third career MENCS win and his first Talladega win.
“It means a ton,” commented Blaney. “I have been coming here ever since I was really young and watched my dad run here a lot and watched him run pretty good here a lot. I got to drive for the Wood Brothers here. It is a cool feeling. This new infield in this new victory lane. I love coming here and I love it even more now.”
Eight different Ford Mustang’s led the 1000 Bulbs.com 500 for a combined 125 laps of the 188-lap race; led by Blaney with a race high 35 laps and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with 32.
Six Ford Mustangs finished in the top-10 at Talladega; along with Blaney and Newman were Aric Almirola in P4, Michael McDowell P5, Corey LaJoie P7, and Stenhouse Jr. in P9.
With one race to go before the next Playoff cut, Blaney leads the Ford Playoff field with Kevin Harvick (+36), Brad Keselowski (+20), and Joey Logano (+18) currently above the cutoff line, while Clint Bowyer (-24) is currently below the cutoff line.
This weekend, MENCS heads to Kansas Speedway for the final race before the MENCS Playoff Round of 8 is set. Reference the full 2019 schedule on roushyates.com.