The winner of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway didn’t have the lead for very many laps.
But Ryan Blaney did have it after Lap 200, the final lap of the FireKeepers Casino 400. Blaney led the final eight circuits after getting out front on a restart, the only laps he led all day. He won a drag race to the checkered flag with some nifty blocking of second-place driver William Byron.
Blaney won for the second time this season. His first victory came in March at Atlanta.
As Blaney was adding to his trophy case, another driver was clinching a playoff spot. That leaves one berth available heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale at Daytona.
Below is more about Blaney’s win Sunday, plus the complete results of the race.
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
Ryan Blaney won by 0.077 seconds over William Byron in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan. Blaney exited the final turn with a larger lead, but Byron dived to the inside on the front stretch, which forced Blaney to follow him down and throw the block.
“Michigan’s a matter of pretty much running wide open and just trying to play the air game,” Blaney told NBCSN in a postrace interview. “I hate that you have to race that way but that’s how you have to run. It worked out for us.”
The decisive restart came after a multicar crash in front of the entrance to pit road.
Blaney got to the lead with the aid of a “great push” from Kyle Busch and kept his Team Penske No. 12 car out front the rest of the way.
“I appreciate Kyle for pushing me through there,” Blaney said.
NASCAR results from Michigan
Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin filled out the top five at Michigan. All of them had clinched playoff spots prior to Sunday.
One driver got off the playoff bubble. Kevin Harvick clinched with a 14th-place run. Harvick had won the previous three races at Michigan.
Another driver might have had his bubble burst. Austin Dillon crashed out of the race at the end of Stage 2. His No. 3 car hit the outside wall hard after it made contact with the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski.
Dillon blamed himself for the wreck but Keselowski was apologetic as well.
“Watching this makes me sick to my stomach for Austin and his team. He was crazy fast today and deserved better. Definitely not what either of us wanted to see,” Keselowski wrote on Twitter. “With a lap to go we both wanted the stage point and I should have given him more room to avoid this. Glad he is ok.”
The wreck doomed Dillon to a 36th-place finish. He now trails Tyler Reddick by 25 points for the 16th and final playoff spot. Reddick had his own issues Sunday; he finished 29th because of a late wreck. He could have locked out Dillon for the points tiebreaker with a clean finish.
Dillon and Reddick can make all that playoff math irrelevant by winning at Daytona, but they’ll be competing with a host of drivers who also can get in with a win. That will make the racing in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) even more tense.
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