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Race report

NASCAR Cup Iowa: Reigning champ Ryan Blaney earns first win of 2024

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Ryan Blaney picked up his first win of the 2024 season at Iowa Speedway – the series’ newest venue.

Sunday night’s race was the first for the series at the .875-mile short track, which has hosted Xfinity, Truck, ARCA and IndyCar series events in the past.

In a race where teams were wary of tire wear – and several paid the price by hitting the wall after flats Blaney and his No. 12 Penske Ford team mastered the strategy.

On the final caution of the race, Blaney was first off pit road and took just two new right-side tires. The race – which had eight cautions – ended with an 84-lap green-flag run and Blaney was never seriously challenged for the lead.

William Byron and Chase Elliott – who both took four tires on the final stop – tried to run Blaney down but to no avail. Blaney edged Byron by 0.716 seconds at the checkered flag to secure his first win of the year.

Blaney led four times for a race-high 201 laps on his way to the 11th win of his career and second for Penske in the last three races. It was Blaney’s teammate, Austin Cindric, who won at Gateway two weeks ago when Blaney ran out of gas on the final lap while leading.

"What a cool way to win here.  This place means a lot to me and means a lot to my mom," said Blaney, whose mother, Lisa, grew up in Chariton, Iowa. "We had a lot of people here tonight cheering us on, so they willed us to that one.  
"Overall, I really appreciate the whole No. 12 boys.  I mean, our car was really fast all night and we got a little bit better through the night and two tires (on the final pit stop) was a good call there.  I didn’t know how well I was going to hold on. I started to struggle a little bit at the end but had enough to hang on. "
Blaney, who is not prone to do post-race victory burnouts did one following his win on Sunday night.
"Home track. I’ve got to. It means a lot. It’s cool to win in a Truck here, an Xfinity car here and now a Cup car. That was cool. I’m worn out. It was a long race and driving hard. I figured I deserved a burnout, so hopefully Dale Inman isn’t too mad at me.”

Watch: Ryan Blaney wins Cup Series’ first race at Iowa Speedway

Elliott ended up third, Christopher Bell – who started from the rear of the field in a backup car – was fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top five.

Completing the top-10 were Joey Logano, Josh Berry, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and Brad Keselowski.

Read Also:

Stage 1

Blaney passed Kyle Larson with nine laps remaining and held on to win Stage 1 by 0.260 seconds, his second stage win of the 2024 season. Suarez finished third, Byron fourth and Berry fifth.

A.J. Allmendinger was the first to experience a tire issue in the race, hitting the Turn 1 wall on lap 52 after the right-front went down on his No. 16 Chevrolet. He retired from the race after 54 laps.

Stage 2

Larson came from 33rd to first and held off Berry by 1.762 second to claim the Stage 2 win, his eighth of the 2024 season.

Larson pit under caution on lap 86 when he thought he had a tire going down, but it showed no problems. Elliott was third, Blaney fourth and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top five.

Just after a round of green flag pit stops began, Ross Chastain had a right-front tire go down and tagged the wall, but he was able to nurse his No. 1 Chevrolet to pit road. He rebounded to finish 19th in the stage.

 

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most of the lead lap cars elected to pit with Keselowski first off pit road thanks to a two-tire stop. Chris Buescher stayed out and inherited the lead as the race returned to green with 132 laps remaining.

On lap 220, Suarez got loose on the frontstretch and got into the left-rear of Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet, who shot up the track and into the side of Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota.

 

Larson was able to continue but had severe damage and was knocked out of contention of a race he looked likely to win. Buescher led the way on the restart on lap 228.

Buescher then hit the wall with a flat tire and sent everyone down pit road on lap 263 for new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Blaney was first off pit road with two new tires and led the way on the restart with 84 laps remaining. Berry was fourth, the first car on four new tires.

With 50 laps to go, Blaney remained in the lead with a nearly one-second advantage over Byron and Elliott third.

Byron remained less than a second behind Blaney with 25 laps remaining and Elliott closing to challenge for the runner-up position.

Read Also:
CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL PITS POINTS
1 R. BlaneyTEAM PENSKE 12 Ford 350

2:58'36.749

  6 57
2 W. ByronHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 24 Chevrolet 350

+0.716

2:58'37.465

0.716 7 42
3 C. ElliottHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 9 Chevrolet 350

+2.147

2:58'38.896

1.431 7 44
4 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 350

+4.881

2:58'41.630

2.734 7 33
5 R. Stenhouse JrJTG DAUGHERTY RACING 47 Chevrolet 350

+11.586

2:58'48.335

6.705 11 32
6 J. LoganoTEAM PENSKE 22 Ford 350

+12.264

2:58'49.013

0.678 7 36
7 J. BerrySTEWART-HAAS RACING 4 Ford 350

+12.876

2:58'49.625

0.612 8 45
8 A. BowmanHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 48 Chevrolet 350

+13.121

2:58'49.870

0.245 7 29
9 D. SuarezTRACKHOUSE RACING 99 Chevrolet 350

+15.669

2:58'52.418

2.548 8 36
10 B. KeselowskiRFK RACING 6 Ford 350

+15.780

2:58'52.529

0.111 7 32
11 R. ChastainTRACKHOUSE RACING 1 Chevrolet 350

+17.395

2:58'54.144

1.615 9 26
12 T. GillilandFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 38 Ford 350

+17.471

2:58'54.220

0.076 6 28
13 J. HaleyRICK WARE RACING 51 Ford 350

+22.560

2:58'59.309

5.089 9 25
14
C. HocevarSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
77 Chevrolet 350

+23.918

2:59'00.667

1.358 10 23
15 M. Truex JrJOE GIBBS RACING 19 Toyota 349

+1 Lap

2:58'39.589

1 Lap 10 22
16 N. GragsonSTEWART-HAAS RACING 10 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'40.297

0.708 9 21
17 B. Wallace23XI RACING 23 Toyota 349

+1 Lap

2:58'41.920

1.623 8 26
18 C. BuescherRFK RACING 17 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'46.747

4.827 8 23
19 A. DillonRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 3 Chevrolet 349

+1 Lap

2:58'51.253

4.506 7 18
20 H. BurtonWOOD BROTHERS RACING 21 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'51.837

0.584 8 17
21 C. LajoieSPIRE MOTORSPORTS 7 Chevrolet 349

+1 Lap

2:58'52.087

0.250 10 20
22 T. Reddick23XI RACING 45 Toyota 349

+1 Lap

2:58'56.813

4.726 8 15
23 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'57.416

0.603 11 14
24 D. HamlinJOE GIBBS RACING 11 Toyota 348

+2 Laps

2:58'42.046

1 Lap 10 18
25
T. GibbsJOE GIBBS RACING
54 Toyota 348

+2 Laps

2:58'44.595

2.549 8 12
26 J. NemechekLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 42 Toyota 348

+2 Laps

2:58'46.998

2.403 7 11
27 R. PreeceSTEWART-HAAS RACING 41 Ford 348

+2 Laps

2:58'50.238

3.240 9 10
28 C. BriscoeSTEWART-HAAS RACING 14 Ford 348

+2 Laps

2:58'51.385

1.147 7 9
29 D. HemricKAULIG RACING 31 Chevrolet 348

+2 Laps

2:58'58.177

6.792 10 8
30 A. CindricTEAM PENSKE 2 Ford 347

+3 Laps

2:58'40.900

1 Lap 8 7
31
Z. SmithSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
71 Chevrolet 347

+3 Laps

2:58'41.365

0.465 7 6
32 E. JonesLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 43 Toyota 347

+3 Laps

2:59'00.112

18.747 8 5
33 K. GralaRICK WARE RACING 15 Ford 345

+5 Laps

2:58'56.698

2 Laps 12 4
34 K. LarsonHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 5 Chevrolet 314

+36 Laps

2:58'53.825

31 Laps 15 22
35 K. BuschRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 8 Chevrolet 272

+78 Laps

2:32'59.940

42 Laps 10 3
36 A. AllmendingerKAULIG RACING 16 Chevrolet 54

+296 Laps

32'26.673

218 Laps 5

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