DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ryan Blaney made the second stage of Sunday’s Daytona 500 look easy, leading 48 of 60 laps en route to his first stage win as a full-fledged member of Team Penske.
Blaney took the lead for good with 22 to go in the stage and cruised to the green-checkered flag despite more mass chaos behind him.
With 19 laps remaining before the stage break, another multi-car crash took out more of the top contenders from ‘The Great American Race’. It all started when Chase Elliott got turned at the entrance of turn three after a bump from behind by Brad Keselowski, with Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet snapping back across the track and going hard into the outside SAFER Barrier.
When the wrecking was all over, the second ‘Big One’ of the day involved seven more drivers and ended the day for several, including Elliott, Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
Following a 12 lap run to the stage break, Blaney ended up winning the stage after holding off a late charge from Paul Menard, who finished second in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford.
“I think the fact that guys can get bigger runs with this rules package has made today a little crazier than in past years,” said Blaney. “I feel like the runs are so much larger … that you have to go somewhere when you get to someone.”
“Our car’s been really fast, which has been nice to have, but it’s been crazy trying to control the race. It’s been wild and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
Joey Logano was third, followed by Aric Almirola and Michael McDowell.
Martin Truex Jr., Darrell Wallace Jr., Trevor Bayne, Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin completed the top-10 drivers who scored points at the second stage break of the day.
Danica Patrick, who was making her final NASCAR start on Sunday, was also collected in the lap 102 wreck, ending her bid for a Cinderella finish to her stock car racing career.
“I know we pulled this together not that long ago and it’s a tall order to put a competitive superspeedway car out for a race like this, but we did it,” Patrick said. “I said earlier today that I felt like the whole thing was picture perfect, with having GoDaddy back on the car. It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman also contributed to this story.
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is a Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.
Souza is a freelance reporter for NASCARHomeTracks.com, covering the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, as well as a weekly columnist for Trenton, N.J.-based Area Auto Racing News and the lead New England correspondent for Race Chaser Online, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday public address announcer.
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