Ryan Blaney finally wins his first NASCAR Cup Series race
Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney wins the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway to capture his maiden NASCAR Cup Series victory in a career in 68th start in the premier NASCAR series.
Chased by Kevin Harvick for the final eight laps, the 23-year-old Blaney held off the experienced rival in a breathtaking battle to finally earn a visit to the Cup Series Victory Lane. For Blaney, it’s tenth NASCAR national victory, previously he won five times in the Nationwide/Xfinity Series and four times in the Truck Series.
After a restart on Lap 148 of 160, Blaney grabbed the lead from polesitter Kyle Busch on Lap 151. Racing side by side with Busch’s #18 Toyota down the Long Pond straightaway, Blaney stayed in the gas through the Tunnel Turn and cleared Busch’s Camry off the corner. A lap later, Harvick passed Busch and closed within a car-length of Blaney, who drove flawlessly for the final eight laps to keep Harvick at bay. Blaney crossed the finish line 0.139 seconds ahead of Harvick to become the 19th different driver to win for the Wood Brothers and the first since Trevor Bayne took the checkered flag in the 2011 Daytona 500.
Erik Jones finished a career-best third, followed by Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott. Kyle Busch slipped to ninth, after winning the first stage and leading 100 of the 160 laps.
Photos: Getty Images/nascar.com,