NASCAR Cup Texas: Blaney wins contentious All-Star Race

Ryan Blaney thought he won a maiden NASCAR All-Star Race only to miss out under a caution and claw back the victory in overtime to claim the $1 million prize.

Initially, Blaney took the chequered flag ahead of Denny Hamlin but a caution was displayed on the final lap for Ricky Stenhouse Jr who crashed into the backstretch wall.

Under normal NASCAR rules Blaney would have been declared the winner, but under the special rules for Sunday night’s All-Star event, the winner had to take the victory under a green flag.

That sent the final 50-lap segment at Texas Motor Speedway into a two-lap overtime but Blaney, thinking he had won, had already let down the window net on the driver’s side of his #12 Ford.

Blaney patched up the netting as best he could to make the restart and then held off Hamlin by 0.266 seconds to clinch the All-Star victory in controversial fashion.

The situation did not sit well with onlookers as NASCAR rules specifically require window netting fasteners to be “properly tightened and remain tight during an event.”

The win is not an official one that can count in the Cup Series, but Blaney has been one of the top-performing drivers this season despite lacking a victory.

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Menards/Wrangler Ford Mustang wins.

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Menards/Wrangler Ford Mustang wins.

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

“It was looking real bad for us. I thought the race was over and I let the window net down. I do want to thank NASCAR for letting kind of fix it and not make us come down pitroad,” Blaney said. “Yeah, that was really tough.

“Then I had to kind of do it all over again after getting that window net back up there. Great car. This #12 group did a great job. This is cool. I know it’s not a points-winning race but it’s going to be a lot of fun and the party’s going to be pretty big.”

Austin Cindric finished third behind an aggrieved Hamlin, with Joey Logano in fourth and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five.

Despite starting the race from the back due to unapproved adjustments to his car after Saturday’s qualifying, Alex Bowman charged back to sixth place ahead of A.J. Allmendinger, as Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski and Christopher Bell completed the top 10 in Texas.

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