Blaney nets a million dollars after winning All-Star race in Texas

Blaney nets a million dollars after winning All-Star race in Texas

Ryan Blaney won his first All-Star Race on Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway with a half-fastened window net and a controversial overtime restart.

Ryan Blaney is $1 million richer than he was when he woke up on Sunday morning, though it took a bit longer than it should have. The Team Penske driver took the checkered flag  in the crazy All-Star race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Blaney led the race for the final 84 laps after taking the lead on lap 57. When the caution flew only moments before he crossed the finish line, he was effortlessly cruising toward the win by almost two seconds over Denny Hamlin.

On a two-lap restart, Blaney held off Denny Hamlin and Austin Cindric after he thought he had won the race just minutes before. After an unwarranted yellow for Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who was between Turn 4 and the finish line, the race was restarted. When Blaney reached the finish line and down his window net to begin celebrating, he wasn’t aware the caution had flown.

He spent the whole of the caution period attempting to reattach the window net, and was successful enough to meet NASCAR’s window net mandate and officially win the race.

The All-Star Race must conclude under green, according to NASCAR rules, and the caution was issued with Blaney just feet from the finish line. Blaney had lowered his window net, thinking the race was done. He tried desperately to re-hook it under duress, but to no avail. The window net was partly fixed before the restart, and Blaney then cleared Hamlin off Turn 2 to capture the victory.

“It was about to be real bad for us – I thought the race was over. Everyone thought the race was over and I already had my window net down,” Blaney said.

“I do want to thank NASCAR for letting me kind of fix it and not make us come down pit road. Yeah, that was really tough, and then having to do it all over again after getting that window net back up there… Great car; Jonathan Hassler and everybody on this No. 12 group did a great job.”

However, the caution turned out to be a bad decision. In Turn 2, Stenhouse smacked the wall but kept going. He was near the back of the pack and didn’t seem to be a threat to anyone else on the track. NASCAR’s decision to throw the caution with Blaney just seconds from the finish line is odd for reasons other than spectacle.

If Blaney had not finished ahead of Hamlin and Cindric, NASCAR’s officiating would have been a major talking point following the race. Race control’s actions are still under investigation, but Blaney saved them from a lot of heat by winning the race on the final restart.

Hamlin came in second. Austin Cindric finished third after winning the second stage. Joey Logano came in fourth, with Daniel Suarez rounding out the top five.

Logano and the No. 22 Team Penske team received the $100,000 prize for the best overall time on pit road, including their four-tire stop, at the end of Stage 2. Logano started the last stage third as a consequence.

Alex Bowman came in sixth, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski, and Christopher Bell. Five drivers were unable to complete the race.

In the final stage, Erik Jones crashed in Turn 4 as Kyle Busch, who won the first stage, was eliminated together with Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott in the second stage as Busch’s right rear tyre went down and he was hit by Chastain, who collected Elliott. When Kyle Larson blew a tyre and crashed at the end of the first stage, he was also eliminated.

Tyler Reddick had the fastest car at the All-Star Open on Sunday, but he didn’t finish the race due to a crash while attempting to take the lead.

Reddick qualified 15th out of 16 cars and swiftly advanced through the field. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Daniel Suarez, and Erik Jones were the four qualifiers from the open, so he was forced to sit out.

Each of the first three drivers mentioned won one of the race’s three stages, while Jones was voted the most popular driver among those who did not win or crash during the race by the fans.

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