NASCAR: Here’s how Ryan Blaney edged Kevin Harvick for his first win at Charlotte – Charlotte Observer
In a restart-riddled race with 12 cautions and 12 lead changes, Ryan Blaney took advantage of a late restart to take the checkered flag in the Hisense 4K TV 300 for his first Xfinity Series win since 2015.
The High Point native started in third but didn’t see clean air until lap 53, when he took the lead from fifth-place finisher Denny Hamlin. But Blaney finished with 107 laps led in Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway – including the final three laps after edging past Kevin Harvick on the final restart of the race.
Harvick – the pole-sitter in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 – looked like the early favorite after leading 38 of the first 45 laps. But he fell short of his first Xfinity win at Charlotte as Blaney, who impressed in Saturday’s final Cup practice, took his fifth Xfinity Series win of his career.
After an early setback, Austin Dillon roared back to contend in the final stretch. But he couldn’t overtake Blaney, who claimed his first win at Charlotte in any series.
Three who mattered
Austin Dillon: In his 125th Xfinity race, Dillon ran the gamut through 200 laps. After an illegal pass in the race’s opening minutes, the Lewisville native went from second to the back of the pack. But Dillon stormed back for 20 laps led and a third-place finish to claim his sixth top-10 mark in nine races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Christopher Bell: In his first Xfinity race, Bell spun out after the second lap and quickly fell behind. But he climbed back into contention and rallied to finish fourth, the only top-five finisher not to lead a lap Saturday.
Justin Allgaier: Saturday’s pole-sitter looked good early, leading the first seven laps and fending off Dillon’s illegal maneuver. But a penalty assessed on lap 52 pushed Allgaier behind the pace, and he never recovered.
▪ Blaney’s father, Dave, claimed his only career victory in 2006. The two are the only father-son duo to reach Victory Lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the fifth father-son duo to each hold an Xfinity Series win.
▪ The top six finishers in Saturday’s race were all Monster Energy Cup Series drivers, making them ineligible for points in the series. Cole Custer, who has two top-five finishes in his two years in the Xfinity Series, finished seventh.
▪ Elliott Sadler, who entered Saturday atop the Xfinity Series standings, crashed around Turn 4 on the 180th lap to cut his day short. Darrell Wallace Jr., who threatened late, also saw an early finish with six laps to go.
They said it
“We were hitting really good restarts all day.”– Ryan Blaney, who claimed his first win at Charlotte.
“I knew I was in a pickle there … (Blaney) wound up just beating us there on the restart.” – Kevin Harvick, who finished second Saturday.
“I never really ran in traffic until today.” – Christopher Bell, who finished fourth despite spinning out early.
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