BLANEY WINS IN ATLANTA

Start: 10th
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage2: 2nd
Finish: 1st (Fifth career NCS Victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 325/325
Laps Led: 25
Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-86)

Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney passed Kyle Larson with nine laps to go to win the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Blaney tracked down Larson and made his race winning pass off Turn 4 and steadily pulled way in the final laps. The win was his fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory and first of the 2021 season. The driver of the BodyArmor Ford Mustang led three times for 25 laps and won for the first time in six starts at Atlanta.
  • Blaney started 10th and worked his way forward from the drop of the green flag, moving the BodyArmor Ford Mustang into the top-five by lap 16 when he passed teammate Joey Logano. Crew chief Todd Gordon made an air pressure change for Blaney during the first pit stop on lap 27 to aid a loose-handling condition in Turn 3. During the second run, Blaney reported the handling was improved, but was still too free over the bumps, which prompted crew chief Todd Gordon to make a significant wedge adjustment and Blaney scored a third-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 105. He pitted during the stage caution and lined up second when the race went green.
  • Blaney continued to run in the second position early in Stage 2. Midway through the run, he reported a slight vibration in the BodyArmor Mustang, but continued to run inside the top-five. Despite the vibration, Blaney finished second when Stage 2 concluded on lap 210. Gordon made the call for only a slight air pressure adjustment during a round of pit stops during the stage caution.
  • A quick caution at the start of Stage 3 brought the field back to pit road with the No. 12 BodyArmor crew winning the race off pit lane. Blaney pitted under green on lap 269 for four tires and fuel. He returned to the track nearly two seconds behind leader Larson but with 25 laps to go began to close in on the race leader.
  • With nine laps remaining, Blaney used a power move from the top-lane, diving under Larson and taking the lead in the No. 12 BodyArmor Ford Mustang. Blaney never looked back, officially crossing the finish line 2.083 ahead of Larson to score the victory. With the win and stage points, Blaney now sits seventh in the series standings, trailing the leader by 86 points.

Quote: “The 5 (Larson) was crazy fast there the whole race and then we started closing in.  Our BodyArmor Ford got a lot better there that last run.  I think towards the end of Stage 2 it was starting to get there and then before that last green flag stop it really came to life. I don’t know if the track changed or what, but we were just tightening it up all day.  I’m happy there were a couple long runs at the end. I can’t thank BodyArmor, Menards, DEX, Advance Auto Parts enough for what they do and Ford.  It’s cool to get a win at Atlanta.  I love this place.  It’s nice to have a good run here and win.”

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