Ryan Blaney wins first NASCAR Cup Series race at…

Kyle Larson, left, battles for the lead with Ryan Blaney, right, during a NASCAR Cup Series car race, Sunday, June 16, 2024, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Ryan Blaney emerged victorious in the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway, securing his first win of the season and a spot in the playoffs. Blaney, the defending series champion, demonstrated his dominance by leading a career-high 201 laps at the event.

Blaney’s victory was not without tense moments, as he expressed concerns about fuel strategy in the closing laps. However, his crew chief assured him that he had sufficient fuel, although Blaney admitted he could not remember hearing the confirmation during the race.

The crucial decision came on lap 263 when Blaney cautiously opted for a two-tire pit stop, allowing him to regain the lead and hold it until the checkered flag. Despite concerns about tire wear, Blaney’s strategic move paid off, allowing him to take victory by a narrow margin of 0.716 seconds over William Byron.

Take strategic care in the final rounds.
Blaney led 201 laps and showed dominance.
Strategic two-tire pit stop on lap 263 crucial for victory.
Blaney’s victory by 0.716 seconds over William Byron.
Chase Elliott finishes third, Christopher Bell fourth.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounds out the top five with a two-cushion strategy.
The race attracted a sold-out crowd of 40,000 fans.
Blaney’s special win with family ties to Iowa.
Successful performance by Team Penske at Iowa Speedway.
Kyle Larson faces adversity and finishes 34th after hitting the wall.

The race also saw notable performances from other drivers, with Chase Elliott finishing third, Christopher Bell overcoming a rear starting position to finish fourth, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top five after a similar two-tire strategy in the final pit. Stop.

The event attracted a sold-out crowd of approximately 40,000 fans, including a significant presence of Blaney’s friends and family. The win was especially special for Blaney, whose mother is from Chariton, Iowa.

Blaney’s win marked a successful outing for Team Penske at the 0.875-mile track, with the organization’s cars having a strong track record at Iowa Speedway in several racing series. Blaney’s win adds to his previous successes at the venue in the Xfinity and Truck series.

The race was not without its challenges as points leader Kyle Larson, who led 81 laps and won the second stage, suffered setbacks after crashing into the wall following contact with Daniel Suarez. Larson’s accident relegated him to 34th in the 36-car field.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway marked a major milestone for the track, located near Des Moines. The facility, which has been part of NASCAR’s schedule since 2013, celebrated the successful hosting of the premier series, further cementing its place in the motorsports landscape.

Sources: AP NASCAR