Blaney Takes Checkered Flag In Thunder Valley

Ryan Blaney got the best of Matt Crafton on the night’s final restart Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway, pulling away from the field as Crafton’s Toyota sputtered and failed to come up to full speed.Blaney took the checkered flag a half-second in front of runner-up Kyle Busch to give Brad Keselowski Racing its second straight Truck Series victory in “Thunder Valley.” Blaney’s win in the Number-29 Ford snapped Toyota’s five-race
winning streak. Rookies John Hunter Nemechek, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones and Erik Jones took positions three through six with Crafton holding on for seventh place.

The race extended two laps past its scheduled distance after a late spin by Ty Dillon produced the fifth yellow flag of the night – setting up the decisive green-white-checkered finish. Blaney led a race-high forty laps and had to overcome an early penalty to notch his fourth career victory. NASCAR determined that he jumped the restart following the night’s first caution.

The pass-through penalty on pit road forced Blaney well off the pace. But he steadily climbed back into contention, had himself in position to win in the closing laps and took advantage of Crafton’s balky restart to claim victory … The race was red-flagged for 45 minutes due to rain with thirty-four laps left and Crafton leading. The two-time defending series champion led all but four of the remaining laps once racing resumed. But at the end of the night, he yielded to Blaney – who led the final three trips around Bristol’s high-banked half-mile.


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