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Ryan Blaney Snaps Long Winless Drought With Strong Performance in Coca-Cola 600

The Team Penske driver has returned to NASCAR Cup Series victory lane for the first-time in 693 days, dating back to August 2021 at Daytona.


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Amidst the ongoing struggles of Ford at NASCAR's top-level, Ryan Blaney put together a stellar performance to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series victory since August 2021.

Blaney, driving the No. 12 Ford Mustang for Team Penske, was the class of the field in Monday's Coca-Cola 600, leading 163 of 400 laps to secure his first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series this season.

"I might shed a tear," Blaney said post-race. "This has been a cool weekend. Obviously Memorial Day weekend means a lot, growing up here watching Dad run this race for a long time. It’s so cool just to be a part of it, let alone win it."

A native of High Point, North Carolina, Blaney's win in the Coca-Cola 600 marks the second NASCAR Cup Series win of the year for Team Penske, with the first coming at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Joey Logano.

The win also marks the second for Team Penske this Memorial Day Weekend, just over 24 hours after Josef Newgarden scored the victory in the 107th Indianapolis 500, part of a star-studded motorsports tripleheader on Sunday.

"I just was able to get the lead on the restart, and the car was so good that I could kind of bide my time a little bit, and then we were able to drive off," said Blaney. "I was hoping no caution because you never know. I know we had the car to do it, but restarts are crazy."

At 29 years old, the Memorial Day triumph was emotional for several reasons, most prominently because of the drought that Blaney has faced, going 693 days since his last NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona.

Getting emotional on the frontstretch, Blaney said: "You start to get to feel like you can’t win anymore when you don’t win in a while. It kind of gets hard. So just super thankful to the 12 guys for believing in me. Thank you guys for sticking around. Really appreciate it."

Pulling away from the pack on the race's final restart, Blaney was able to maintain the top spot over William Byron, who finished in the runner-up spot, three-quarters of a second behind the race's eventual winner.

Martin Truex, Jr. rebounded from a mid-race pit road penalty to finish in third-place, while 23XI Racing teammates Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick completed the top-five in fourth and fifth.

It's the first-time that 23XI Racing has placed two entries inside the top-five in a points-paying NASCAR Cup Series event, after doing so one week ago in the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro.

Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon, and Zane Smith completed the top-10, in a race that featured several comers and goers over the course of 600 miles.

Alex Bowman, returning to the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time since suffering a fractured vertebra, finished just outside the top-10, in 12th, after starting outside the top-30.

The main controversy of Monday's event came before the halfway point of the race, when Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott tangled in a vicious accident on the frontstretch, which the two drivers had a difference of opinion about.

Leaving Charlotte, the top-six in regular-season standings are separated by 17 points, led by Ross Chastain, who leads the points by one marker over Ryan Blaney. William Byron, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., and Christopher Bell complete the top-six.

The NASCAR Cup Series will now travel to WWT Raceway for the 15th event of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Joey Logano is the defending winner of the event, in its inaugural running for the Cup Series.

Photo Credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

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