Ryan Blaney won the rain-postponed and crash-filled Coca-Cola 600 on Monday, putting an end to his NASCAR 59-race winless streak.
“I might shed a tear. This has been a cool weekend,” he said. “Obviously Memorial Day weekend means a lot, growing up here watching Dad (former driver Dave Blaney) run this race for a long time. It’s so cool just to be a part of it, let alone win it.”
It is the eighth career victory for the Team Penske driver. Pole sitter William Byron finished second and was .663 seconds back. Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing was third.
“The car was great tonight. Just not quite good enough,” Byron said. “Really proud of the effort. Pit crew was phenomenal on pit road.”
There were 16 cautions and 31 lead changes in the 600-mile race, one of the crown jewels on the NASCAR schedule.
Blaney’s most recent win before Monday was at Daytona International Speedway in August 2021.
The race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the 14th in the Cup Series season and the longest NASCAR race of the season.
Practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday were also canceled due to the rain, so the starting lineup for the race was set “per the rule book” – a metric based on performance at the Darlington Raceway two weeks ago.
Alex Bowman, who returned to competition a month after he suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car crash, finished 12th.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson started in last place, 37th, and finished there, 285 laps behind the winner.
Blaney’s victory capped a terrific weekend for Team Penske; Josef Newgarden won the Indy 500 on Sunday.
The American driver passed last year’s winner, Marcus Ericsson, in the final lap. A trio of red flag crashes set up a dramatic finish during the race, which saw 52 lead changes among 14 drivers.
It was the first time Team Penske drivers won both marquee races in the same year.