Ryan Blaney Ends 59-Race Winless Streak With Coca-Cola 600 Win At Charlotteby Hunter Thomas May 29, 2023 1 comment
CONCORD, N.C. – Ryan Blaney ended a 59-race winless streak on Monday night by winning the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In a race that featured 31 leads changes throughout 400 laps, Blaney, who had won since August 2021 at Daytona, dominated the 600-mile race by winning Stages 3 and 4 and leading a race high of 163 laps.
That kind of snaps our winless streak right there and that’s even better,” Blaney said. “I’m just really thankful to everybody who stuck around with us. It’s huge to have BodyArmor on the car. It’s such a cool car and looking forward to celebrate with these guys and I’m just really proud of the car and the effort that we had and was able to hang on.”
The win was exceptionally emotional for Blaney. When he parked his car on the frontstretch, he climbed the wall and entered the grandstands to celebrate with the fans. His Team Penske counterpart, Josef Newgarden did the same thing after winning the Indy 500 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I was pretty fired up,” Blaney said. “I don’t get that excited very often, but I was super pumped. I loved how Josef did it yesterday. I was shocked — I wasn’t shocked, but really pleased when I turned around and did the little victory lap thing of how many people were still in the stands. It was packed, and I couldn’t believe it.
Both Team Penske wins were emotional, but for Blaney, it was emotional because he’s on a top tier team where winning is essential to maintaining a ride and lately, he has come close, but the team just hasn’t been able to seal the deal. During his post-race interview, Blaney displayed emotions as the fans chanted his name.
“We try to win every week, and it’s hard to do,” Blaney said. “It’s hard to win these races.Sometimes you just get in these streaks of things just aren’t going right, and then you feel like you’re doing everything right, maybe your cars aren’t fast enough to win races or you’re making too many mistakes. It can definitely be frustrating. It’s easy to get down on yourself when you don’t win. You’ve got to think to yourself, can I still do it? Can I still compete at a winning level? So it’s easy to kind of doubt yourself.”
With the win, Blaney now comes within one point of tying Ross Chastain for the lead in the standings. While Blaney is locked into the NASCAR Playoffs, you know that the team wants to be crowned the regular season champions.
Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron was stout all day, but he had to settle for a runner-up finish. Byron won the opening stage, and his team did well adjusting through the various conditions. In fact, Byron finished all four stages inside of the top-10, and he led on nine occasions for 91 laps. However, in the end, Blaney was just faster on the final restart.
“Yeah, it was fun,” Byron said. “I enjoyed it. I have trust in how he (Ryan Blaney) races. He caught me off guard with the last restart. He restarted first and I thought about it – I tried it in the simulator actually, but I never did it throughout the night. I was getting good pushes from the No. 5 (Kyle Larson). When we got wrecked or whatever happened there, I had lost my help. Anytime you have the same engine, you can kind of match your push-up pretty good. So yeah, he caught me off guard there that last restart. But like I said, I think he was just that good and cleared me anyways.”
Martin Truex Jr. made his way from the 18th place starting spot to finish third. Early in the race, Truex had battled his way to fifth in Stage 1, but throughout the longest race of the year, his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota team had to overcome adversity to earn their third top-five of the season.
“We just battled really hard and never gave up on the car,” Truex said. “We had some stumbles on pit road – had some issues there. We had some issues getting a flat tire with some contact leaving pit road, which wasn’t our fault either. Just battled a lot of adversity today, but our Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Boats Camry was really fast. At the end of stage three, I thought that we had a shot to win this thing and then we got some damage out of nowhere on the splitter, and then I got too tight. We made some adjustments to try to get us balanced back out, but it just wasn’t as fast then, and we still ran third. Just proud of everybody for the effort. We definitely had a shot at this one tonight, just didn’t get enough things to go our way and we didn’t do a good enough job on pit road.”
23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon and Zane Smith who earned his first-career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“It’s been a rough three weeks for me,” Smith said. “The Cup Series is a different level and obviously I’m trying to prove I belong here and it’s just an outstanding run.”
Throughout the race, there were 16 cautions for 83 laps. The most notable crash involved Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott in the closing laps of Stage 2.
The NASCAR Cup Series will make its debut appearance at the Portland International Raceway on Sunday, June 3. Live coverage of the Pacific Office Automotive 147 will broadcast live on FS1 at 4:30 p.m.