Ryan Blaney held on by just .007 seconds in an overtime session to win the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday.
This was the first win of the season for Blaney, who has now won two consecutive races at Talladega.
Blaney Holds Off Rivals During Chaotic Finish
Weather delayed the race, which moved from Sunday to Monday. Rain once again suspended racing for nearly an hour after drivers had completed 57 laps.
Blaney had the lead heading into a final restart with two laps remaining. That led to a shootout finish that saw cars crashing and spinning over the finish line, one that required a second look to be sure of who exactly had won.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 23, 2020
Coming into the final stretch, Blaney knocked Erik Jones into the outside wall. That also sent Aric Almirola sliding sideways toward the infield. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took advantage of the chaos to make a move in the final few feet of the race, nearly passing Blaney before coming up about a foot short at the finish line. Almirola slid across the finish line just ahead of Denny Hamlin to claim third place.
“I just kind of blocked, just trying to block the best we could,” Blaney said after the race. “[Jones] got to my outside, and I tried to go up there to slow him down and…I’m not sure, I don’t know…three-wide, I hate that I hit him, but just kind of trying to beat and bang to the line.”
Jones held on to fifth place after the collision. The top five cars all finished within .1 seconds of Blaney after the hectic finish.
Drivers Show Support for Wallace
The biggest story of the weekend had nothing to do with the final standings. On Sunday, crew members found a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall. The incident led to an outpouring of support for Wallace from his fellow drivers and their teams, who walked with his car to the front of the grid before the race began.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 22, 2020
“The sport is changing,” Wallace, who finished in 14th place, said after the race. “All in all, we won today. The pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness in my life, from all the supporters, from drivers and crew members and everybody here. It’s truly incredible, and I’m proud to be a part of this sport.”
Wallace also earned support from the small crowd in attendance. Talladega allowed 5,000 fans to attend the race, though that number was lower after the delay to Monday.
Blaney’s win makes him the eighth driver to claim a NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2020, and likely clinches him a playoff spot. Unibet lists Blaney as a +1100 pick to win the NASCAR Championship, behind favorites Kevin Harvick (+550), Chase Elliott (+550), Hamlin (+600), Kyle Busch (+650), and Martin Truex Jr. (+650).