Ryan Blaney wins Talladega NASCAR Cup race; punches ticket to Round of 8
Speaking of punches, fists fly in Craftsman Truck Series race
By Dave Hascall
(Talladega, AL) – Ryan Blaney, whose Penske Racing Ford has won once this year on the NASCAR Cup trail, had many other potential race wins slip by the wayside. He won a wild race at the Talladega Superspeedway, punching his ticket to the next round of the playoffs. 16 drivers made the cut for the playoffs six weeks ago. After the Bristol night race on Sept. 16th, the field was cut to 12 with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Michael McDowell, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano, eliminated. William Byron advanced to the Round of 8 last week by winning at Texas Motor Speedway to join Blaney.
As far as the race went, it was typical Super Speedway Restrictor Plate racing, with many drivers surging to the front, only to be supplanted a few laps later. At the end of stage 1, a multi-car shunt occurred as Stenhouse Jr.’s car slowed, sending playoff driver Ross Chastain into the wall, clipping Christopher Bell, who is also still in the playoffs. With just over 25 laps left, playoff-eligible driver Brad Keselowski crashed.
As Blaney flashed under the checkers, there was another crash as several cars were involved. Harvick finished second on the track but was later disqualified due to an unsecured windshield. Byron was moved up to second over Denny Hamlin, Corey LaJoie, and Austin Cindric.
Next week’s race at the Charlotte Roval will set the Round of 8 in the playoffs, with four drivers eliminated. Tyler Reddick, Chastain, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Busch are presently below the cut-line. A win will be the surest way for one of those to secure a pass to the next round.
In Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega, journeyman driver Brett Moffitt scored the win, after a chaotic race. Stuart Friesen and Greg Van Alst were injured and Nick Sanchez’s face was bloodied after punches were thrown in the garage area.