FORT WORTH, TX (AP) — Ryan Blaney needed an extra lap after thinking he had already won $1 million and $1 million in the NASCAR All-Star race. He lined up for the first time.
Blaney’s crew was already celebrating a victory in the pit, and the driver had already lowered the Ford 12’s window net after crossing the start-finish line.
“Everyone thought the race was over,” Blaney said.
The All-Star race should end with a green flag, and the first reason the warning flag was raised just before Blaney crossed the line was because Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran into a wall going into the back stretch.
Pushed back by his Penske teammate Austin Cindric in the restart, Blaney stayed in the lead and was able to hold down Denny Hamlin, who was 0.266 seconds behind.
Sindrick was third and another team Penske driver, Joey Logano, was fourth. Daniel Suarez, who advanced to the main event such as Stenhouse through the preliminary round of 16 vehicles on the morning of the day, took 5th place.
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Former NASCAR All-Star winners Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson all went down in the second stage.
It was Roger Penske’s team’s fourth All-Star Race win. The last was Logano in 2016.
Pole sitter and 2017 winner Busch took the lead when a flat right rear wheel came out on the fourth turn on lap 48 late in phase two. He was decelerating towards the bottom of the forward stretch when he was hit from behind by Ross Chastain, who was running at 185 mph.
Chastain’s Car #1 went almost all the way to the left after a rattling crash, then with all four tires on, rushed off the track for 2020 All-Star winner Elliott.
“I saw Kyle having a problem with his tires. I guessed left and should have guessed right,” Chastain said.
Elliott said he saw Busch struggling and saw Chastain hitting him really hard.
“I just didn’t give him enough space. I knew he would go straight, but I didn’t expect him to go right so quickly. It was just that I was wrong.” said Elliott. “For me, it was really avoidable. It just messed up and I couldn’t get gap shots fast enough.”
Busch was a polesitter and led all but one of the first 48 laps before the wreck. His #18 car wobbled from a punctured right rear tire in 4th round and then slowed down on the road ahead.
This comes just a few laps from stage two after Larson, who won the previous two All-Star starts (2019 and 2021), banged hard against a wall as he loosened in the fourth turn. Larson didn’t change the tires and the right front tire went down.
“I just left it centered and took off,” Larson said. “I really hate it when that happens. Our car can’t overtake at all, so I think it’s good enough for restarts, especially the leader.”
Busch led all 25 laps in the attentionless first stage after starting at the pole.
Syndrick took first place at the end of the second segment. Ryan Blaney started the race and was the second as it was at the end of the first stage. Blaney won her third lap 25 stage and began her final lap 50 run from the front with Penske teammates Cindric and Joey Logano, who recorded the fastest pit stops between the second and third stages.
James Buescher and Suarez, from Stenhouse, Texas, advanced to the All-Star race in an early qualifier on Sunday. Erik Jones, riding in Petty GMS Motorsports’ car number 43, was shortlisted in 24 vehicle categories in a fan vote, failing to finish 20th in the final stage.
Stenhouse and Buescher won the first two 20-lap stages of the qualifying race. Suarez took the lead in the final 10 lap penalty shootout, which was the Mexican driver’s third appearance on the All-Star field.
Texas is the fourth track to host the annual exhibition, but the second track to host multiple All-Star races. The first All-Star race was held in Charlotte in 1985, and in 1985 Atlanta recorded a 33-game winning streak in Charlotte. The race was moved to Bristol in 2020 when North Carolina will not allow spectators due to COVID-19 restrictions.
to the next
Held next Sunday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600 kicks off the second half of the 26-race regular season before the 10-race playoff chase begins. This is the 14th point race of the season.