Late pass gives Blaney NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Charlotte

Jim Dedmon—X02835
May 27

CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick was between a rock and a hard place with
three laps left in Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and
Ryan Blaney took full advantage of the veteran driver’s conundrum.Passing Harvick for the lead after a restart on Lap 198 and 200, Blaney
crossed the finish line .244 seconds ahead of the driver of the No. 41
Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.Blaney had pushed Harvick to the front past eventual third-place finisher
Austin Dillon on a restart after the 10th caution, brought out when Michael
Annett’s No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet scraped the Turn 3 wall on Lap 176.But when Blaney powered his No. 12 Team Penske Ford into second-place after
the 11th caution, Harvick was faced with a dilemma when the caution flew for the
final time for Darrell Wallace Jr.’s spin in Turn 2 on Lap 194. If Harvick chose
the inside lane for the final restart, second-place Blaney would have lined up
in front of Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, setting up the possibility of
a ferocious push.Harvick chose the top lane but couldn’t clear Blaney through the first two
corners after the restart with three laps to go. Blaney surged ahead and had the
lead by the time he exited Turn 4. End of story.”We were able to push Kevin (Harvick) to the front and get to second, and
that gave us a shot and got by him at the end there on that last restart,” said
Blaney, who won at the same track that gave his father, Dave Blaney, his only
NASCAR XFINITY Series victory in 2006. Dave Blaney was at CMS on Saturday to
celebrate with his son.”To win at a track where my father did is pretty cool,” Blaney said.Blaney won for the first time this season, the first time at Charlotte and
the fifth time in his career.Harvick took the defeat philosophically, knowing he was confronted with two
difficult choices at the end.”I knew I was in a pickle then,” Harvick said. “I didn’t really know what
to do. If you take the bottom and get the 12 (Blaney) and 22 (Keselowski) hooked
up, we might have got beaten worse.”We just got beat by the 12. He did a great job all day on the restarts.”In fact, Blaney led 107 laps to Harvick’s 58, but was shuffled back to
third during his final pit stop on Lap 160 when he was blocked in his stall on
pit road.”I thought we had a really good pit stop,” Blaney said. “I just kind of got
boxed in, didn’t angle out very well. That was on me. But luckily we were able
to get back on the front row and give us a shot. It was so hard starting third
when you only have a couple of laps to get to the front row.”That was really tough, and I thought we were going to run out of laps to
make it happen.”The final caution, however, gave Blaney the opportunity he needed.Christopher Bell finished fourth in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut, after
a remarkable recovery from a spin off Turn 4 on the third lap of the race.
Turned sideways by a tap from Ryan Reed’s Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Bell’s No.
18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota slid through the infield grass but avoided major
damage to the undercarriage.Bell spent the next 195 laps working his way back toward the front.”I’m glad it was 200 laps, because we used every single bit of it,” Bell
said. “We didn’t have a lot of luck on the restarts at the beginning of the
race, starting on the bottom, but we got the luck (with outside starting
positions) when we needed it at the end.”Denny Hamlin finished fifth, followed by Keselowski, Cole Custer, Brennan
Poole, Brendan Gaughan and Tyler Reddick.Despite his crash and 35th-place result, Sadler retained the series lead by
six points over JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier, who started from the
pole and finished 12th.NASCAR XFINITY Series Race — Hisense 4K TV 300Charlotte Motor SpeedwayConcord, North CarolinaSaturday, May 27, 20171. (3) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 200.2. (5) Kevin Harvick(i), Ford, 200.3. (2) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.4. (7) Christopher Bell(i), Toyota, 200.5. (8) Denny Hamlin(i), Toyota, 200.6. (39) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 200.7. (6) Cole Custer #, Ford, 200.8. (11) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 200.9. (17) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 200.10. (10) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 200.11. (9) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200.12. (1) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.13. (4) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 200.14. (13) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 200.15. (27) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 200.16. (21) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 200.17. (26) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 200.18. (15) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.19. (18) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 200.20. (40) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 200.21. (25) Casey Mears, Ford, 200.22. (24) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 200.23. (35) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 200.24. (34) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 200.25. (22) Ben Kennedy, Chevrolet, 200.26. (19) Matt Tifft #, Toyota, 200.27. (16) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.28. (14) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, 200.29. (31) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 200.30. (36) Todd Bodine, Chevrolet, 200.31. (33) David Starr, Chevrolet, 199.32. (32) Cale Conley, Toyota, 198.33. (29) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 192.34. (37) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 190.35. (12) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, Accident, 180.36. (23) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, Accident, 177.37. (20) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, Accident, 166.38. (28) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Electrical, 22.39. (38) Carl Long, Dodge, Accident, 21.40. (30) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, Electrical, 11.Average Speed of Race Winner: 113.72 mph.Time of Race: 02 Hours, 38 Minutes, 17 Secondss. Margin of Victory: 0.244
Seconds.Caution Flags: 12 for 52 laps.Lead Changes: 12 among 7 drivers.Lap Leaders: J. Allgaier 1-7; K. Harvick(i) 8-47; D. Hamlin(i) 48; B.
McLeod 49; D. Hamlin(i) 50-52; R. Blaney(i) 53-108; D. Wallace Jr. 109-111; R.
Blaney(i) 112-129; K. Harvick(i) 130; R. Blaney(i) 131-160; A. Dillon(i)
161-180; K. Harvick(i) 181-197; R. Blaney(i) 198-200.Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): R. Blaney(i) 4 times for
107 laps; K. Harvick(i) 3 times for 58 laps; A. Dillon(i) 1 time for 20 laps; J.
Allgaier 1 time for 7 laps; D. Hamlin(i) 2 times for 4 laps; D. Wallace Jr. 1
time for 3 laps; B. McLeod 1 time for 1 lap.Stage #1 Top Ten: 41,20,00,12,48,42,2,3,22,16Stage #2 Top Ten: 12,20,2,41,00,6,16,3,22,48