Ryan Blaney edged Ryan Newman for the win in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway to advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy Cup Series Playoffs.
After the race was postponed to Monday due to rain with 57 laps complete, Blaney survived three big multi-car accidents to take checkered flag by 0.007 seconds – the sixth-closest finish in series history – over Newman. He also spun coming to pit road on Sunday.
"We spun out early yesterday and missed some big ones today," Blaney said. "We were able to weave our way through. I can’t thank Aric Almirola enough for helping me out there at the end. That big push that Newman and the 11 got I knew I wasn’t going to be able to block it. They were coming so fast and they wanted to split me. I wanted to stay to the bottom and kind of pulled the 11 off the 6 and then had a big enough run to get to the 6."
The win was the first of the season for Blaney and the third of his career.
The frantic race to the finish followed a red flag for clean-up for a 11-car crash going into Turn 3 that saw Brendan Gaughan get upside down. Blaney led three times for 35 laps, including the final seven.
Newman’s runner-up was his best finish this season with Roush Fenway Racing and it tied his best Talladega finish.
"We just came up that little bit short," Newman said. I don’t know what else to say. I could have pinched him some more. I could have probably took the aero. You can go back and bench race that three weeks from now. It was a good race until the end.
Chris Buescher and Parker Kligerman both crashed in the tri-oval coming to the finish.
"I saw the guys spinning in the back," Newman said. "I was hoping for a yellow, but there wasn’t."
Denny Hamlin came on strong in the end after rebounding from a speeding penalty on Lap 91, and a lap down, to finish third with a damaged Toyota.
"We waited till the bulk of them got out, then went up there and tried to win," said Hamlin, who is now 56 points above the cutline. "We almost did.
"I think we played the race as good as we could given all the issues we did have. Just a great job with my FedEx team getting us moved on here."
Defending race winner Aric Almirola came home fourth for his seventh straight top-10 finish at Talladega with Michael McDowell rounding out the top five.
Alex Bowman (-18), Chase Elliott (-22), Clint Bowyer (-24) and William Byron (-27) are the four drivers below the cutline heading to the elimination race next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
How Blaney Won: One challenge happened 24 hours ago to Blaney when he spun out on pit road. Despite spinning on pit road and a pit road speeding violation, Blaney stayed within the top 10 most of the day. Following a late race caution, he battled Newman side-by-side through the tri-oval to win by a foot.
Who Had a Good Day: Blaney’s first win at Talladega in his 11th start…Hamlin has finished in the top five in both Round of 12 races…Michael McDowell finish was his fifth career top-five finish…Corey LaJoie finished seventh and notched his second career top-10 finish both coming in the last two superspeedway races.
Who Had a Bad Day: It was a rough day for playoff drivers…The string of bad luck started on Lap 107 when Alex Bowman was spun by Joey Logano after an attempted block sparking a multi-car wreck with Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Preece and Martin Truex Jr…Clint Bowyer faced issues on Lap 154 when he got stuck after spinning and caused him to go three laps down…One last "Big One" happened on Lap 182 that sent Brendan Gaughan flipping in the air along with collecting playoff drivers Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
What Else Happened: The talk of Sunday became which manufactures would work together after the "Corvette meeting" happened during the rain delay. Despite the talk of that a total of 46 lead changes took place on Monday afternoon each manufacture led at least one lap. While three "Big One’s" occurred it provided a nose to nose finish at the line between Blaney and Newman.
Quotable: "I have been coming here ever since I was really young and watched my dad run here a lot and watched him run pretty good here a lot. I got to drive for the Wood Brothers here. It is a cool feeling. This new infield in this new victory lane. I love coming here and I love it even more now." – Ryan Blaney
Notables: Blaney’s first win since the Charlotte Roval in 2018…It was his his first career superspeedway win…It marked Team Penke’s 120th career win..He becomes the 13th driver to win in 2019.