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Ryan Blaney Dominates, Wins at Iowa

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney celebrates his win in the Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo: Patrick Vallely | The Podium Finish)

NEWTON, Iowa — Ryan Blaney made history when he won Sunday night’s inaugural Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway over William Byron by 0.716 seconds.

Blaney, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, won at Iowa Speedway in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Those wins at the 0.875-mile track were in 2012 and 2015.

However, the 30-year-old Hartford Township, Ohio, native looked forward to winning the much anticipated NASCAR Cup Series race at the Rusty Wallace designed track. Fittingly, Blaney’s No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang Dark Horse resembled Wallace’s black and gold No. 2 from 1991 to 1996.

In the early going, Kyle Larson, the polesitter, and Blaney, the outside polesitter, established themselves as the early favorites. Together, Larson and Blaney led on nine different occasions for a combined 281 of 350 laps.

Even with Larson and Blaney’s cumulative domination, leading over 80% of the race, the passing was plentiful at this short track in The Hawkeye State.

Blaney bested Larson for the Stage 1 win while Larson captured the Stage 2 win after pitting early for a reported vibration and making his way from 35th.

The complexity of the race changed on Lap 221 when Larson was sent into the frontstretch wall, tangling with Daniel Suárez and Denny Hamlin. Larson’s No. 5 team managed to repair their wounded ride, relegated to a 34th place finish.

From that point, it appeared as if Josh Berry would capture a sentimental, maiden Cup win for his Stewart-Haas Racing effort. Then, Chris Buescher‘s Turn 1 incident on Lap 261 resulted in the final pit stops of the night.

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney salutes the fans after winning the inaugural Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway, in Newton, Iowa, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo: Patrick Vallely | The Podium Finish)

When it counted, Blaney’s pit crew executed with a two tire pit stop called by crew chief Jonathan Hassler.

Unlike the race at World Wide Technology Raceway earlier this month, Blaney and his No. 12 team were on the right side of the box score. Besting Byron to the stripe, Blaney celebrated his win in the same colors synonymous with the University of Iowa.

“What a cool way to win here,” Blaney said. “This place means a lot to me and means a lot to my mom. We had a lot of people here tonight cheering us on, so they willed us to that one. Overall, I really appreciate the whole 12 boys.  I mean, our car was really fast all night and we got a little bit better through the night and two tires was a good call there.

“I didn’t know how well I was gonna hold on. I started to struggle a little bit at the end, but had enough to hang on. I’m super proud of the effort. I appreciate Advance Auto Parts, Ford, Ford Performance, Menards, Discount Tire, Wurth, Snap On, DEX Imaging, Wabash – everything they do. It makes up a little bit from a couple weeks ago.”

Save for Larson’s late accident, it was a stellar evening for Hendrick Motorsports, led by Byron and his runner-up result. Even with the speed, Byron acknowledged that Blaney was the driver to beat.

“No, he had a really good car, so he was up front and contending a lot, and him and the5 were really good,” Byron said. “So, we were just a step off of that, you know? I feel like I just needed to turn the center just a hair better and still kind of maintain the long run.

“Proud of the effort. It was a really good night, and I feel like we can learn from this and build from it to be a little bit better.”

As for Chase Elliott, Sunday night’s race at Iowa offered a glimpse into their potential while looking toward more speed to contend for wins.

“Yeah, I mean I definitely think we have been closer than we have been,” Elliott said. “That is good and nice to have some consistency across some different styles of racetracks, so happy with all that. We need just a little bit to be where we need to be to lead laps and kind of set the pace. We will keep working at it.”

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney made sure that smoke got in the eyes of the Iowa Speedway faithful after winning the inaugural Iowa Corn 350 in Newton, Iowa, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Photo: Patrick Vallely | The Podium Finish)

Nobody left Iowa smiling wider than Blaney, winning at The Hawkeye State, where his mother, Lisa, was born and raised. The typically mild mannered racer did a burnout and he hoped it did not upset a legendary crew chief.

“Yeah, home track. I’ve got to. It means a lot,” Blaney said. “It’s cool to win in a Truck here, an XFINITY car here and now a Cup car. That was cool. I’m worn out. It was a long race and driving hard. I figured I deserved a burnout, so hopefully Dale Inman isn’t too mad at me.”

Stage 1 Top 10 Results
  1. Ryan Blaney
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Daniel Suárez
  4. William Byron
  5. Josh Berry (R)
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Corey LaJoie
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Kyle Busch
Stage 2 Top 10 Results
  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Josh Berry (R)
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Bubba Wallace
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Chris Buescher
  8. Todd Gilliland
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Justin Haley
Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway Race Results
Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor/Make Status
1 2 12 Ryan Blaney Advance Auto Parts Ford Running
2 4 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet Running
3 9 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Running
4 10 20 Christopher Bell Rheem Toyota Running
5 35 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger/NOS Energy Drink Chevrolet Running
6 11 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford Running
7 3 4 Josh Berry (R) Ford Running
8 33 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet Running
9 13 99 Daniel Suárez Worldwide Express Chevrolet Running
10 5 6 Brad Keselowski King’s Hawaiian/Casey’s Ford Running
11 17 1 Ross Chastain Busch Light For The Farmers Chevrolet Running
12 14 38 Todd Gilliland Ruedebusch Ford Running
13 19 51 Justin Haley MotoRad Ford Running
14 20 77 Carson Hocevar (R) Premier Security Chevrolet Running
15 31 19 Martin Truex Jr. Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Running
16 23 10 Noah Gragson Bass Pro Shops Winchester Ford Running
17 16 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald’s Toyota Running
18 15 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford Running
19 36 3 Austin Dillon Get Bioethanol Chevrolet Running
20 25 21 Harrison Burton Menards/MasterForce Tools Ford Running
21 24 7 Corey LaJoie Gainbridge/Iowa Hawkeyes Chevrolet Running
22 8 45 Tyler Reddick McDonald’s Toyota Running
23 22 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford Running
24 12 11 Denny Hamlin Interstate Batteries Toyota Running
25 27 54 Ty Gibbs Monster Energy Toyota Running
26 34 42 John Hunter Nemechek Dollar Tree Toyota Running
27 29 41 Ryan Preece Morton Buildings Ford Running
28 6 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra USA 30 Years Ford Running
29 30 31 Daniel Hemric Cirkul Chevrolet Running
30 21 2 Austin Cindric Menards/Moen Ford Running
31 26 71 Zane Smith (R) Focused Health Chevrolet Running
32 32 43 Erik Jones Family Dollar Toyota Running
33 28 15 Kaz Grala (R) Ford Running
34 1 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Running
35 7 8 Kyle Busch zone/Kwik Trip Chevrolet Water Pump
36 18 16 AJ Allmendinger (i) Action Industries Chevrolet Accident

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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