January 22, 2021

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

CONCORD, N.C. — On a Saturday when Kevin Harvick dominated most of the first and the final stages of the Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney did even more of the same in the middle and led the only laps that mattered at the end.

That gave Blaney his fifth career series victory, and his first of this season in five starts. He led a race-high 107 laps overall — all but the last three during the middle portion of the race.

Blaney took the lead for good on the final restart with three laps to go, grabbing the lead from Harvick as they battled side-by-side coming out of Turn 4 at the 1.5-mile track.

“When you have a car that good, you really feel bad if you mess up and don’t win,” said Blaney, who had to start at the rear of the field after NASCAR penalized him for unapproved adjustments to his No. 12 Team Penske Ford prior to the race. “That’s what I thought was going to happen. I didn’t know if we were going to get our shot to get back to the lead.”

Harvick dominated the first stage, leading 38 of the 45 laps. But Blaney came all the way from the rear to finish fourth in the stage, serving notice that he had fast No. 12 Team Penske Ford. Then he was even more dominant while winning the second stage, leading 44 of 45 laps.

But after pit stops, Austin Dillon emerged with the lead with 38 laps to go. Harvick was hot on his tail, though, and Blaney was right behind Harvick in third.

He kept it even after the ninth caution of the day came out when Brendan Gaughan brushed the outside wall with 30 laps remaining, as his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing crew pulled off a flawless, fast pit stop.

On the ensuing restart, Dillon had to hold off a hard-charging Harvick and did so. Blaney then passed Harvick for second before yet another caution flag flew when Michael Annett hit the wall.

This time, on the restart with 20 to go, Harvick cleared Dillon to take the lead before the 11th caution of the day came out, courtesy of Elliott Sadler losing control of his No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and hitting the inside wall.

“I just got really loose going into Turn 3 and tore up a really good race car,” Sadler said.

Harvick then held off Blaney on the next restart with 15 to go, and was pulling away when Bubba Wallace lost a tire and brought out the final caution to set up a three-lap shootout at the end.

Harvick chose the outside line for the restart, with Blaney to his inside on the front row.

And this time, Blaney cleared Harvick as they barreled out of Turn 4. He then sailed away to the victory.

“We lost the lead on a pit stop when we got boxed in,” Blaney said. “I was really hoping we would get another shot at it and we finally got to the front row where we did. … It’s really cool to get back to Victory Lane with the Penske group in the XFINITY Series.”

Harvick finished second, with Austin Dillon, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five. It was an impressive performance for Bell in his series debut, as he came back to finish fourth after spinning early in the race on Lap 5.

In winning, Blaney joined his father, Dave Blaney, to become the first father-son duo to win XFINITY races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Dave Blaney won in the series at CMS in October of 2006. Ryan was 12 years old at the time.

FOX Fantasy Auto Form a Racing Team, Compete for Prizes

Play Now!