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May 12, 2024

Ryan Blaney out at Darlington after multicar stack-up on restart

Ryan Blaney was involved in a multicar collision exiting Turn 2 on Sunday afternoon at Darlington Raceway, ending his race.

Blaney restarted sixth at Lap 129 of Sunday’s Goodyear 400 but was trapped on the outside of a three-wide scenario with Martin Truex Jr. and William Byron. In the bottom lane, Byron slid high into Truex, squeezing Blaney into the wall right-rear first.

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The right-rear toe link of Blaney’s No. 12 Ford Dark Horse Mustang was damaged, as was the front of Truex’s No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace made door contact while trying to avoid the melee, while Chris Buescher and Denny Hamlin also received minor damage in the incident.

Blaney showed his displeasure to Byron, taking a swerve at the No. 24 before heading back to pit road.

No. 12’s Team Penske crew attempted to repair the car but exceeded the allotted seven minutes on the Damaged Vehicle Policy clock, resulting in Blaney’s retirement from the event. The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion was credited with a 36th-place finish, last on the day and his first DNF since the season-opening Daytona 500.

“I was just mad I ended up in the fence and wrecked,” Blaney told FOX Sports. “He (Byron) shoved it three-wide under us and just got tight off of (Turn) 2 and I got tagged and ended up getting wrecked. … He used up a little more race track than I thought, so I kind of have every right to be mad. And he gets away scot-free.

“Just unfortunate. I thought we got pretty good. We finally got up to sixth and really made good ground up in the first stage. Had a good pit stop and the Maytag/Menards Ford Mustang was, I thought, we had something to work with and I was excited to start the second half of the race. Just didn’t get that chance.”

After finishing sixth, Byron told reporters he believed he was ahead of Blaney and Truex by corner exit.

“I felt like I was ahead of them,” Byron said. “The exit is really narrow right there. I hate if I did come up a little bit. I was surprised I was even in that spot. I felt like I would never get to the bottom of a three-wide there, but the lane was there into (Turn) 1 and my car turned really good. I got almost clear of Martin, and then yeah, I hate that it happened. I don’t want to crash, especially that early in the race, so I didn’t really expect that to happen. I probably could have given a little more room. It just gets really, really tight right there.”