It is Blaney’s third career Cup win and his first win of the year. It locks him into third round of the playoffs after he entered the race below the cutoff line.
Newman took the lead on the last lap going into Turn 3 thanks to a push from Denny Hamlin. Blaney then made contact with Newman’s left rear in the middle of the tri-oval. The two rubbed doors as they approached the checkered flag as Blaney barely edged him out.
“There was no blocking (Newman) and (Hamlin),” Blaney told NBCSN. “They were coming so fast and I figured if I’d give up the bottom they were just going to leave me in the middle. So I just decided to stay with Aric (Almirola). Great pusher all day and I kind of went up and pulled (Hamlin) off (Newman) and then he was so far out in front. … (Newman) kind of pushed me below the yellow line and I wasn’t going to go there after what happened in the Truck race. Kind of got forced down and it just worked out.”
NASCAR reviewed the finish multiple times and determined Blaney was forced below the yellow line and therefore it is not a penalty.
Blaney’s win is the second race in a row where a playoff driver has earned their first win of the year after Kyle Larson won at Dover.
For Newman it ties his career-best finish at Talladega.
“They spent $50 million redeveloping this place, I should have thrown in fifty bucks to have them move the start-finish line,” Newman said to NBCSN. “Repainted it or something. It was a great run … We just came up that little bit short. I don’t know what else to say. I could have pinched him some more … you can go back and bench race that three weeks from now. It was good racing to the end.”
The final run was setup by a huge multi-car wreck with seven laps to go.
The race was postponed from Sunday after rain paused the action just after the conclusion of Stage 2.
STAGE 1 WINNER: William Byron
STAGE 2 WINNER: Clint Bowyer
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Corey LaJoie finished seventh for his second career top-10 finish … Michael McDowell earned his third career top-five finish. All have been on superspeedways … Chase Elliott finished eighth after being involved in a wreck in the middle of the race.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Playoff drivers Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson, plus Jimmie Johnson, were eliminated in an 11-car wreck with four laps left in Stage 2. … William Byron and Erik Jones were eliminated in a multi-car wreck with 24 laps left in the race …
WHAT’S NEXT: Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway at 2:30 p.m. ET Oct. 20 on NBCSN