Ryan Blaney Prevails in Green-White-Checkered Duel at Kentucky

Ryan Blaney Prevails in Green-White-Checkered Duel at Kentucky

by September 27, 2015 0 comments

SPARTA, Ky. — A green-white-checkered restart set up a wild finish in the 300 at Kentucky Speedway, yet that didn’t faze Ryan Blaney, who took the win after re-grabbing the top spot after spending 81 laps in the lead.

Seizing the lead from Ty Dillon on the restart, the driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford refused to look back as he jetted away to the checkered flag by 0.519 seconds.

The win served as Blaney’s second in Kentucky’s standalone XFINITY race and the fourth of his career and also helped boost Team Penske’s already considerable lead in the owners standings. It also served as the completion of a season sweep of Kentucky for Team Penske as Brad Keselowski won at the track in July.

“Not only this team, this whole Penske organization has been strong at Kentucky ever since we’ve started coming here in the last couple of years,” Blaney said of his second win of the season. “It’s something about these rough racetracks that really suits them well and they do a great job of bringing great race cars to the track.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to drive them a couple of times here at this race track and it’s something really special to do… Honestly, I’ve never seen a team be so dominant at the race track.

“Every time we come here, the No. 22 car is one of the favorites to win and it usually does it. I’m really lucky to be behind the wheel.”

While Dillon was dismayed with the fact that he finished second in a race that he 43 laps in, he is encouraged by the fact that he’s even in a position to say he’s disappointed with a runner-up finish and says his team has made strides from the beginning of the year.

The driver of the No. 3 WESCO Chevrolet should also be taking comfort in the fact that he chipped away at points leader Chris Buescher’s lead for the second consecutive week – moving to 19 points out of the lead from 25.

“First of all, I am disappointed for second, and that’s a good thing,” Dillon said. “I’m proud to be sitting here saying that. Earlier this year, we didn’t have that opportunity to say that very often. Man, it hurts when you’ve got a big lead with four to go – I don’t even know what the caution was for – but, that’s a stinger.

“We’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing right now… All in all, it was a good run. We battled hard, we’re resilient and we’re doing what we’ve got to do.”

Rounding out the top-10 of the race’s results were Regan Smith, Chase Elliott, Brandon Jones, Brendan Gaughan, Buescher, Erik Jones, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Tifft.

The race was marred with cautions aplenty as 10 separate yellow flags flew for a total of 55 laps. The red flag also made a brief appearance as well for 18 minutes and 26 seconds right at the middle stages of the race.

The action got started early as contact between Brennan Poole and Ben Rhodes triggered an accident between Blake Koch and Ryan Reed that inflicted the most damage on the latter two drivers on Lap 3.

Michael Self brought out the second caution of the night with a solo accident on the backstretch on Lap 28 while the third caution of the night came out on Lap 86 for debris.

Poole was involved in the fourth caution of the night as well in the accident that triggered the waving of the red flag after coming together with Harrison Rhodes on Lap 100 – dropping heavy amounts of fluid on the track in the process.

Another debris caution came out on Lap 109 with the next caution coming out on Lap 120 for a solo accident by Dylan Lupton.

Solo accidents by Ben Rhodes and Eric McClure brought out the respective seventh and eighth cautions – the latter incident causing McClure to be transferred to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Another multi-car accident on Lap 189 involving Brian Scott, Ross Chastain, Cale Conley and Ryan Truex served as the ninth caution of the night and a solo accident by Jeremy Clements brought out the caution to set up the green-white-checkered.

With the team’s win tonight, Team Penske has now taken a 64-point lead in the owners standings with six races to go in the season.

The XFINITY Series will return to action in next Saturday’s Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway.

Top-10 Finishers of the 300

  1. 22 – Ryan Blaney – Ford – Team Penske
  2. 3 – Ty Dillon – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  3. 7 – Regan Smith – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  4. 9 – Chase Elliott – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  5. 33 – Brandon Jones(i) – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  6. 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  7. 60 – Chris Buescher – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
  8. 54 – Erik Jones(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  9. 6 – Darrell Wallace Jr. – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
  10. 20 – Matt Tifft(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing

Top-10 in the Drivers Standings after Round 27 of 33

  1. 60 – Chris Buescher – Roush Fenway Racing – 982 | Leader
  2. 3 – Ty Dillon – Richard Childress Racing – 963 | -19
  3. 9 – Chase Elliott – JR Motorsports – 957 | -25
  4. 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 935 | -47
  5. 6 – Darrell Wallace Jr.# – Roush Fenway Racing – 874 | -108
  6. 1 – Elliott Sadler – Roush Fenway Racing – 872 | -110
  7. 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 857 | -125
  8. 18 – Daniel Suarez# – Joe Gibbs Racing – 852 | -130
  9. 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing – 836 | -146
  10. 16 – Ryan Reed – Roush Fenway Racing – 735 | -247

# = Rookie, (i) = Ineligible for NASCAR XFINITY Series points.

Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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