Ryan Blaney survived three big ones to take the checkered flag in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
After rain began to fall at the end of the first stage on Sunday afternoon, the race was postponed to Monday afternoon. Ryan Blaney spun on pit road and got hit with speeding penalty on Sunday, but used the postponed race to redeem himself.
The No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford stayed in the top 10 for the most of the day. Blaney led three different times for a combined total of 35 laps led. He managed to be in the right place at the right time when three different big ones occurred around him, escaping unscathed.
With less than 15 laps to go at Talladega, the field began to scramble resulting in an 11-car crash in Turn 3. Brendan Gaughan went upside down as many of the playoff contenders that were racing for those playoff points saw their day come to am end. When the green flag waved, Blaney was on the move to the front.
Before the race got underway, all manufacturers met to talk to the drivers to discuss manufacturer teammates getting banding together to push one another to the front. The Ford camp certainly listened and it paid off in the end.
In the closing laps, Ryan Newman got a big push, rocketing him passed Ryan Blaney. Aric Almirola drove to Blaney's bumper and gave him the push that ultimately got him the win. Blaney took the checkered flag by 0.007 seconds over Newman, making it the sixth-closest finish in series history.
“We spun out early yesterday and missed some big ones today. We were able to weave our way through. I can’t thank Aric Almirola enough for helping me out there at the end.”
The No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford drove to victory lane for the first time this season, locking Ryan Blaney into the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and Michael McDowell rounded out the Top 5 at Talladega Superspeedway. After a series of accidents, Bowman, Elliott, Bowyer and Byron have found themselves in a must-win situation at Kansas Speedway.
Catch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in action again next week at Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, October 20 at 2:30PM ET on NBC.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— With the win in the Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ford Performance has won six of the last races at either Daytona or Talladega.
For many teams, beating any of the Ford drivers at a restrictor plate event is crucial. Brad Keselowski, Stenhouse Jr., and Clint Bowyer discussed the power of Ford Performance this weekend at Daytona. That success is also attributed to the power of Roush-Yates Engines.
“I think that every year we see seem to see different cars and teams and manufacturers have strengths and weaknesses. I think we’re starting to see at this point and time in the season where the Fords have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Probably more that we’ve seen in the last four or five years with the manufacturers. The Fords right now are the best cars on the speedway tracks for a number of reasons. One of which is the power in their engines is very strong a the higher rpms. And with the current gear rules and current engine packages at Daytona and Talladega, the engines sustain higher rpm for the duration of running in the pack,” said Keselowski. “And I think with the bodies, the Ford body on the Gen 6 car lends itself to well to the restrictor plate tracks with having high-efficiencies with respect to its drag characteristics. I would agree that the Fords have some strengths right now on the restrictor plate tracks and probably behind on the other race tracks. Like anything, if your golf game is good on the greens and not good on the driving range you have to make the putts. So the Fords are doing a good job at that. I would like to see it be a little more balanced out with our strengths and weaknesses but with the current landscape that’s where it is right now.”
“Let me just say this: Those Roush Yates engines are phenomenal. Doug does such a great job, puts a lot of emphasis on this plate stuff, takes a lot of pride in it, and he should. Those things run amazing. They take a beating out there. At the end of that thing, I was overheating, blowing water, doing all the things that you know are going to happen when we get like that. I mean, I was pushing him all the way down the back straightaway all the way through 3 and 4. It was just kind of one of those deals,” said Bowyer in his post-race media availability. “We were up against the wall, and I was shoving, and the water temperature was pegged and blowing water. But it's just -- those things are phenomenal. It's amazing any of these engines make it through this stuff. I'm just blown away if you really think about it and look at the mechanics of what those on in them things each and every week, you're looking back at last week, all the rpms and everything that turns, I'm just proud to have that Roush Yates power under our hood.”
“I think it's really strong. I think obviously qualifying showed that our Ford Performance cars are really strong, and I think I kind of echo what Brad said maybe on the broadcast before the race is the high RPM tracks we feel really, really good at. I feel like that's why we run the top of the racetracks, a lot of the racetracks we go to, and the engine package, the bodies, everything is just working really well for the speedways,” said Stenhouse Jr. “And then we work well together. We all practice together, and it was nice to be able to use your Ford teammates throughout the race to keep us up front, and even -- all the Fords, David Ragan's car was fast there. He's a good speedway racer. So we feel like we've still got work to do on other racetracks, but it's nice to capitalize on -- when you have the opportunity to, and that's what it's all about. The fastest cars don't always win at speedways, but it's nice that we've been able to capitalize on that for Ford, for Roush Yates, and particularly for Roush Fenway.
With the dominance of Ford Performance at restrictor-plate tracks, can anybody stop them when Cup heads to Talladega in October? That is a question that will be interesting to watch.
TALLADEGA, Al— Once a top-team on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Roush-Fenway went to the wayside after 2014. Once fielding five cars, they are now fielding two at the Cup level. Losing names like Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth was a shot for the organization. However, Roush Fenway stayed strong despite the performance on the track.
Although team officials won’t call it a resurgence, Roush Fenway has been competitive since going to a two-car organization this season following the departure of Greg Biffle at the end of 2016.
Winning the GEICO 500 was a mark of success in the “turning the ship”.
“Its ebbs and flows, its ups and downs. I've been stock car racing for 30 years in 2016, so this is my 31st year. But I had already been racing on a national level, drag racing and road racing for 20 years before I started with the stock car, with NASCAR,” said Jack Roush about the past few seasons.
Being part of Ford Performance, the emphasis is on the camp being one. That one mentality is the strongest it has ever been and at the top of their game, according to Roush.
“They give us a lot of tools in our toolbox and they give us unfettered support from their technical people that the things that they've got labs and all to do that are applied to what we're doing, and to be able to carry the banner for Ford is really special,” Roush explained.
Being “new” to the organization, Brian Pattie, crew chief for Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., believes that the priority has changed from within the organization.
“Just focus, focus one week at a time, execute, and after the checkered flag falls on a Sunday, we'll regroup on Monday and start over. Just try and not get ahead of ourselves. That's just the biggest part. Obviously we've got better people and better spots and the cars are faster. That helps tremendously,” stated Pattie.
Finding new success in NASCAR, Roush was confident that Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne would win races in 2017. Over the off-season, Roush restructured internally to put the right people in the right places to gel in an effort to bring the organization back to winning form.
The start of 2017 has been a new wind in the sails of the organization. Officials and workers still believed in the program, despite not having the numbers. The organization continued to believe in their personnel and drivers that they would work their way out of the slump.
According to Steve Newmark, team president, this win was a confirmation that all their hard work has paid off.
“I think this is just kind of affirmation of the work that's been put into it, and we really do follow kind of the -- Jack's leadership and the principles at that he's instilled in everybody, and it's been a promote from within organization, so you have a lot of people at Roush Fenway that started on the ground floor and have worked their way up and have had ups and downs, and Ricky is probably kind of the poster child of that, so I think that's why it makes it so enjoyable for everybody to be involved,” stated Newmark.
With his victory at Talladega, Stenhouse, Jr. locks himself into the NASCAR playoffs. Roush-Fenway believes that Bayne will make the playoffs with a win. Bayne currently sits 16th in points, just one point ahead of 17th place driver, Aric Almirola.
TALLADEGA, Al.— Although he had a strong third place run going, Kyle Busch was critical of his teammates and their help during the GEICO 500.
When it comes to restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing form a pact to draft together in an effort to work their way to the front for a potential victory at Talladega.
Busch was able to show the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing, but his teammates were nowhere to be found to help him score the potential victory after leading the race when the white flag fell.
“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place. Certainly myself and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), we all worked really well together today and it was fun to have comradery today with teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end,” Busch explained post-race.
Busch led a race high go 48 laps. Had the final caution not fell, sending the race into overtime, due to an accident involving Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Chris Buescher on the backstretch, Busch would have been the victor in the GEICO 500. But due to the drafting help Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. received from Jamie McMurray, Busch lost the lead to finish in the third position.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch explained. “Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together.”
Busch was able to get the jump on restarts in the closing stages of the race, and explained how he was able to get the advantage.
“Maybe it was everybody sleeping,” he answered. “ I don't know. But it certainly was working, and that was sort of my strategy was to get it where I was single file and I could choose a lane and see which one had the momentum behind me. If I was stuck side by side with the bottom line, I never had that opportunity in order to protect both lanes. I seem to be able to do a good job at that, I just don't know how it all fell apart there in the last lap or two for us that we couldn't get to where we needed to be.”
Busch settled for third, but remains confident heading into Kansas.
“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things,” he said. “Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”
TALLADEGA, Al.— Kyle Larson did not have the day he was hoping for in the GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway. After starting from the 21st position, Larson was in danger right from the get-go.
In the first 20 laps of the race, Larson hit the wall on the backstretch while in the middle of the pack on the backstretch. Shortly after he hit the wall, the right front tire blew sending Larson into the turn one wall on lap 18. According to Goodyear, the tire blew due to the contact with the wall.
Larson and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing quickly went to work to repair the car. Larson would not be in contention to win the race, but continued to battle through the event. Larson and his crew were able to finish sixth in the second stage to gain five driver championship points.
Finding their niche in the race, Larson and his crew set quietly waiting to pounce. That opportunity ran itself short as Larson rallied to finish in the 12th position.
Despite his struggles, Larson was able to extend his points lead over Martin Truex, Jr. from 40 points after Richmond to 54 points after the GEICO 500 at Talladega.