Youth overcame age and experience Friday night as 21-year old Ryan Blaney got past veteran Kyle Busch with six laps to go to win his second career NASCAR Nationwide series race. Blaney got by Busch on the final restart with six laps to go after Busch seemed to spin his tires. Busch was able to get to the rear of Blaney’s Ford but couldn’t get past as Blaney motored to the win in the NASCAR Nationwide series Food City 300.
The win came later than expected after rain delayed the start by nearly an hour. There was also a red flag period of eight minutes for a two crash on lap 111 involving Chad Boat and David Starr. Both drivers were uninjured but the debris forced NASCAR to stop the field for a cleanup.
Blaney’s night was also not without incident as he got loose coming off turn 3 on lap 283 of 300; Blaney got into Kyle Larson who had been one of the strongest cars. Larson’s night was done while Blaney continued. That incident was clearly on Blaney’s mind, as it was the first thing he mentioned in victory lane.
“I have to apologize to Kyle Larson,” Blaney said. “I just got loose on the bottom and got into him. I’m really sorry about that. I was trying to pull a slider and got really loose, so sorry about that.”
The final caution came with 9 laps to go when Jamie Dick made contact with Matt DiBenedetto. On the final restart, Blaney was able to move to the front and to the lead, holding off a determined Busch for the win.
“Kyle (Busch) didn’t go on that last restart,” Blaney said. “He said his tires were jacked up, but we got to the second line and I went – you can go and luckily we were able to hold him off here.”
Behind Busch who led a race high 161 laps, Chase Elliott was third, Ty Dillon fourth and Regan Smith fifth.
"The leader is at the biggest disadvantage on restarts,” Busch said. “I know when I want to go but everybody else is pushing me. My rear tires aren't on the ground and you can't go anywhere."
“We lost track position there early with guys coming early and then just taking fuel only on the competition caution and kind of leap-frogging us a little bit there,” Busch added. “But, made our way back up a little bit and then couldn't get by (Kyle) Larson on a single lane race track -- it's pathetic. But, once I did get a position on him kind of sort of you've just got to try to move the guy out of the way so I kind of forced him high and got clear of him and then that was sort of going to be the race until that last restart when my rear tires weren't on the race track and couldn't accelerate forward.".
Brendan Gaughan was sixth, Kevin Harvick seventh, Erik Jones eighth, while James Buescher and Chris Buescher rounded out the top ten. The full results can be found here.
Chase Elliott remains atop the championship points; Regan Smith is second, Ty Dillon third, Elliott Sadler, who finished in the garage in 29th is fourth in the standings, Brian Scott with his 11th place finish is fifth. The full updated point standings can be found here.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next Saturday night.