The winner of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway needed some help in getting to Victory Lane.
Ryan Blaney took the lead from Kyle Larson with eight laps remaining in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 and then rolled to a 2.083-second victory. It was Blaney’s first win of 2021 and the fifth of his Cup Series career. Blaney also became the sixth different winner in the season’s first six races.
Larson won the first two stages of the race and held a sizable lead late in Stage 3, only to have his tires wear down during a long green-flag run and slow his car. That allowed Blaney to close the gap and ultimately drive away to the checkered flag.
Below is more about Blaney’s win, plus the complete results of Sunday’s race.
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
Ryan Blaney made a late charge past Kyle Larson, who led 269 of the race’s 325 laps.
“Gosh, we had a great long run car all day,” Blaney told Fox Sports after the race. “It took us a little bit to get going. I was pretty free all day, so we made a really good change to tighten me up where I needed it, and it looked like Kyle was getting loose.
“I’m happy it worked into our favor that there was a couple of long runs at the end. That let us kind of get there. And he got slowed up behind some lapped traffic.”
Blaney’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano was the “lapped traffic” that made the biggest difference. Logano was running in front of Larson and Blaney to stay on the lead lap when Blaney made the pass for the lead.
Larson was not pleased with Logano being in the way.
NASCAR results from Atlanta
Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson finished 1-2, followed by Alex Bowman in third, series points leader Denny Hamlin in fourth and Kyle Busch in fifth.
“I think he just got a lot better there that last stage and kind of changed up my flow of the race a little bit,” Larson said of Blaney to Fox Sports after the race. “I could get out to such a big lead and I could take care of my stuff and run the bottom where it was maybe slower but I could take care of my tires.
“He was fast there and I just wanted to maintain that gap that I had, so I had to run in the faster part of the race track and just use my stuff up. And then he was just a lot better than me there late in the run.”
Hamlin scored his series-leading fifth top-five finish of the season.
The Cup Series now turns its attention to next Sunday’s race at Bristol (3:30 p.m. ET; Fox, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The event will be the series’ first race on dirt since 1970.
NASCAR at Atlanta results
|9.||Martin Truex Jr.|
|12.||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|