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Race report

NASCAR Cup Iowa: Reigning champion Blaney earns first win of 2024

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Ryan Blaney picked up his first win of the 2024 season at Iowa Speedway.

Sunday night’s race was the first for the Cup series at the track, which had hosted Xfinity, Truck, ARCA and IndyCar rounds previously.

In a race where teams were wary of tyre wear – and several paid the price by hitting the wall – Blaney and his #12 Penske Ford team mastered the strategy.

On the final caution of the race, Blaney was first out of the pits having taken two new right-side tyres. The race, which had eight cautions in total, ended with an 84-lap green-flag run to the finish and Blaney was never seriously challenged for the lead.

William Byron and Chase Elliott, who both took four new tyres on the final stop, tried to run Blaney down but to no avail. Blaney edged Byron by 0.716 seconds to secure his first win of the year.

Blaney led four times for a race-high 201 laps on his way to the 11th win of his career and the second triumph for Penske in the last three races. It was Blaney’s team-mate, Austin Cindric, who won at Gateway two weeks ago when Blaney ran out of fuel on the final lap while leading.

"What a cool way to win here. This place means a lot to me and means a lot to my mom," said Blaney, whose mother, Lisa, grew up in Chariton, Iowa. "We had a lot of people here tonight cheering us on, so they willed us to that one.

Race winner Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang

Race winner Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

"Our car was really fast all night and we got a little bit better through the night and two tyres [on the final pitstop] was a good call. I didn’t know how well I was going to hold on. I started to struggle a little bit at the end but had enough to hang on."

With Elliott third, Christopher Bell charged from the rear of the field in a back-up car to take fourth place, as Ricky Stenhouse Jr rounded out the top five.

Kyle Larson, who went from 33rd to first in Stage 2 earlier in the race, looked a strong contender to win until Daniel Suarez clipped his left-rear corner on lap 220, which sent him up the track and into the side of Denny Hamlin.

Larson ended up 34th at the finish having suffered heavy car damage, while Hamlin could only climb to 24th.

NASCAR Cup Iowa - Race results

   
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2
   
Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Pits Points Retirement
1 United States R. Blaney Team Penske 12 Ford 350

2:58'36.749

  6 57  
2 United States W. Byron Hendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 350

+0.716

2:58'37.465

0.716 7 42  
3 United States C. Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 350

+2.147

2:58'38.896

1.431 7 44  
4 United States C. Bell Joe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 350

+4.881

2:58'41.630

2.734 7 33  
5 United States R. Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 350

+11.586

2:58'48.335

6.705 11 32  
6 United States J. Logano Team Penske 22 Ford 350

+12.264

2:58'49.013

0.678 7 36  
7 J. Berry Stewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 350

+12.876

2:58'49.625

0.612 8 45  
8 United States A. Bowman Hendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 350

+13.121

2:58'49.870

0.245 7 29  
9 Mexico D. Suarez TrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 350

+15.669

2:58'52.418

2.548 8 36  
10 United States B. Keselowski RFK Racing 6 Ford 350

+15.780

2:58'52.529

0.111 7 32  
11 United States R. Chastain TrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 350

+17.395

2:58'54.144

1.615 9 26  
12 United States T. Gilliland Front Row Motorsports 38 Ford 350

+17.471

2:58'54.220

0.076 6 28  
13 United States J. Haley Rick Ware Racing 51 Ford 350

+22.560

2:58'59.309

5.089 9 25  
14
C. Hocevar Spire Motorsports
77 Chevrolet 350

+23.918

2:59'00.667

1.358 10 23  
15 United States M. Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 349

+1 Lap

2:58'39.589

1 Lap 10 22  
16 United States N. Gragson Stewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'40.297

0.708 9 21  
17 United States B. Wallace 23XI Racing 23 Toyota 349

+1 Lap

2:58'41.920

1.623 8 26  
18 United States C. Buescher RFK Racing 17 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'46.747

4.827 8 23  
19 United States A. Dillon Richard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 349

+1 Lap

2:58'51.253

4.506 7 18  
20 United States H. Burton Wood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'51.837

0.584 8 17  
21 United States C. Lajoie Spire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 349

+1 Lap

2:58'52.087

0.250 10 20  
22 United States T. Reddick 23XI Racing 45 Toyota 349

+1 Lap

2:58'56.813

4.726 8 15  
23 United States M. McDowell Front Row Motorsports 34 Ford 349

+1 Lap

2:58'57.416

0.603 11 14  
24 United States D. Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 348

+2 Laps

2:58'42.046

1 Lap 10 18  
25
T. Gibbs Joe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 348

+2 Laps

2:58'44.595

2.549 8 12  
26 United States J. Nemechek Legacy Motor Club 42 Toyota 348

+2 Laps

2:58'46.998

2.403 7 11  
27 United States R. Preece Stewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 348

+2 Laps

2:58'50.238

3.240 9 10  
28 United States C. Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 348

+2 Laps

2:58'51.385

1.147 7 9  
29 United States D. Hemric Kaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 348

+2 Laps

2:58'58.177

6.792 10 8  
30 United States A. Cindric Team Penske 2 Ford 347

+3 Laps

2:58'40.900

1 Lap 8 7  
31
Z. Smith Spire Motorsports
71 Chevrolet 347

+3 Laps

2:58'41.365

0.465 7 6  
32 United States E. Jones Legacy Motor Club 43 Toyota 347

+3 Laps

2:59'00.112

18.747 8 5  
33 United States K. Grala Rick Ware Racing 15 Ford 345

+5 Laps

2:58'56.698

2 Laps 12 4  
34 United States K. Larson Hendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 314

+36 Laps

2:58'53.825

31 Laps 15 22  
35 United States K. Busch Richard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 272

+78 Laps

2:32'59.940

42 Laps 10 3 Water pump
36 United States A. Allmendinger Kaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 54

+296 Laps

32'26.673

218 Laps 5   Accident

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