September 20, 2021

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NASCAR: Blaney avoids last-lap wreck to win regular season finale at Daytona

NASCAR: Blaney avoids last-lap wreck to win regular season finale at Daytona

Ryan Blaney He won for the second week in a row when Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway ended under caution in overtime with a typical fiery finish.

(Logan Riley/Getty Images)

Tyler Riddick finished 16th and final in the playoffs with seventh. Riddick only needed to beat Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon and hope for a repeat win to win his first match. hem Morsi.

Reddick and Dillon were in contention to make one last desperate push to win the two-lap overtime race to the finish. But Blaney, who finished second in the restart, cleared the traffic with a push from Corey LaJoie and was ahead of the group when he finished the race crash.

Daniel Suarez, one of the 10 drivers in the front group trying to win the race to earn the automatic qualifying berth, turned Kevin Harvick to cause a multi-car crash. Suarez appeared to have been pushed to Harvick from behind by Kurt Bosch.

Blaney, winner of the Michigan Championships last week, heads into next week’s opener at Darlington Raceway with three wins this season for his Penske Ford team.

“Yes, we have good momentum,” Blaney said. “We’d like to make it three in a row, we’ll see.”

The end of the regular season had fairly low stakes in 15 of the 16 playoff slots before the race started. This meant that only a first-time race winner could beat Reddick or Dillon for last place.

The only other competition was for the regular season title, and it went to Kyle Larson, the five-time winner this season. The race for the regular season championship and points playoff was between Larson and Denny Hamlin, who entered Daytona trailing Larson by 28 points.

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Hamlin held the regular season lead for 22 weeks until Larson claimed it two races before in Indianapolis. Larson overcame 166 points from behind Hamlin to take the title.

“What a fantastic year he’s had,” said team owner Rick Hendrik, who gave Larson a job this season after Larson missed all but four of the races in 2020 while suspended due to racial slurs.

Chris Bucher finished second, one point short of the automatic playoff win he was looking for. But it was a 1-2 score for Ford.

“Missing that one-point playoff, that’s a tough one-day end,” Boecher said. “I’m sure I’ll turn it on and find something else different.”

Bubba Wallace had the third best season but is frustrated because he didn’t get any help from any of the Toyotas at the end of the race. Hamlin, his 23XI Racing team owner, was the closest Toyota driver to Wallace in the finish – way back in 14th place.

“I’m a little frustrated, I’m the one being called out for not working with my teammates and I’m the one being left hanging,” Wallace said. “There is a reason why Ford is in victory lane, because they always work together.”

Miss McDowell

Michael McDowell finished first and last in two high-speed races at Daytona this season.

The surprise Daytona 500 winner blew under caution on Saturday and was done after 23 laps. McDowell snatched a place in the playoffs with a victory in the Daytona 500, so an early exit didn’t affect his playoff chances.

But McDowell has no momentum after finishing 20th or worse for the seventh consecutive race.

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McDowell’s night in the pit began when crew chief Drew Blickenderfer was fired because his Ford failed a pre-race check. The chief of staff, Anthony Alfredo, was also fired for failing the inspection.

extra height

NASCAR feet Wendell Scott family memento dedicated to commemorating his historic victory in 1963 before the race. Scott is the only black driver to win a race at NASCAR’s highest level.

Scott passed Richard Petty with 25 laps remaining at Speedway Park in Jacksonville on December 1, 1963. But Buck Baker, who had already finished second, was declared the winner of the Jacksonville 200 and took the trophy in the victory lane.

Race officials found out hours later that Scott was the actual winner and had hit the entire field twice. But he was not credited with winning for another two years, and his family had long paid for a proper celebration.

NASCAR was committed on the eve of what would have been Scott’s 100th birthday.

Olympic glow

Olympic bronze medalist Noah Lyles served as the lead for the race and demanded more audience.

Lyles, the 200m favorite who settled in third in Tokyo, asked fans for a higher response after his first attempt left the effort poor. “That’s what I’m talking about,” he said before giving the order to drivers to start their engines.

Lyles would wear his medal before the race and mingle with driver Bubba Wallace on the grid. Wallace took a closer look at the medal.

Lyles Made headlines in Japan due to his emotional breakdown After the final 200 metres. The American sprinter was in tears after a rough year in which he went on antidepressants and struggled when his brother failed to make the Olympic team with him. Like gymnast Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka, Laiss wasn’t apologetic for broaching the topic of mental health.

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Qualifying begins next Sunday at Darlington Raceway, which recently repaved a turn two section that could change the way track racing. Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the race and Martin Truex Jr. won at the Circuit of South Carolina in May.