Ryan Blaney steals a win from Kyle Larson at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday afternoon.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile track and is known for its abrasive asphalt that shreds tires that gives the drivers a challenge through long-run stretches. With teams trying to find their footing in the early part of the season, Atlanta does not make it easy
The First Stage has Denny Hamlin on the Pole
Denny Hamlin had the pole coming to the green flag. He settled into a nice lead as the race neared the competition caution. With a good pitstop under caution, it was Kyle Larson restarting the race with the lead. The race ran the rest of the stage under green. Kyle Larson controlled the field the rest of the way and wins the first stage.
The Second Stage is Dominated by Kyle Larson
At the start of the next stage, Kyle Larson once again paved the way in the lead. The rest of the field followed with another long green-flag run that spanned the entirety of the segment. Larson retained his lead through green-flag stops and had a massive lead coming to the checkered. Kyle Larson wins the second stage by over eight seconds.
Ryan Blaney Steals a Win
Ryan Blaney moved to the lead coming to the green flag in the third stage. He and Kyle Larson fought hard for the lead, with Larson edging him out. Larson and Blaney stayed close as the final stage ran green.
Larson had a strong car all day but, he could not keep up the pace. Ryan Blaney was able to pass Kyle Larson for the lead with eight laps remaining. Larson tried chasing him down, but Blaney had the grip he needed late, to win in Atlanta.
It was a day that Kyle Larson should have won. He had the best car in the field by far, but the tire wear was too much to handle late in the race. Larson had a handful coming to the final ten laps, and Ryan Blaney capitalized on it. Of course, it helps when Ryan Blaney’s teammate was helping him out. Larson struggled to pass Joey Logano late in the race. With Logano holding up Larson, it allowed Ryan Blaney to make an easy pass. Ryan Blaney credited his win to his teammates holding up Larson. At the end of the day, Blaney had more grip, and Larson’s car fell off.
Next week, the Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway, but for something entirely new in the Cup Series. The Cup Series will be racing on dirt and will be racing in heat races for the first time. Many drivers on the circuit have background in dirt racing, but not in a stockcar. It will be something to take in, and see who can rise to the top in what is sure to be a challenge.