Ryan Blaney dominates for triumphant return to Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 600

Ryan Blaney erased his winless drought spanning more than a season by emerging victorious in a wild, rain-postponed Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, May 29.

The 29-year-old Blaney, a third-generation racer from High Point, North Carolina, led seven times for a race-high 163 of 400-scheduled laps, including the final 26. The event was originally scheduled to occur on Sunday, May 28, before being postponed to Monday amid ongoing precipitation and an increase of steady rain. Even when the race was delayed again for half an hour in the early stages due to light precipitation, Blaney prevailed through 6 cautions, on-track chaos and seven side-by-side restart battles against pole-sitter William Byron, including the final one with 20 laps remaining, to fend off the competition and claim his first NASCAR Cup Series checkered flag in 59 races.

With on-track qualifying that was scheduled to occur on Saturday, May 27, being canceled due to inclement weather, the starting lineup for the main event was determined through a metric formula per the NASCAR Rule Book. As a result, William Byron, winner of the previous Cup event at Darlington Raceway, was awarded pole position and was joined on the front row by Kevin Harvick.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, William Byron managed to pull ahead of Kevin Harvick and clear him to assume an early lead through the first two turns. As the field fanned out through the backstretch, Byron managed to retain the lead through Turns 3 and 4 and back to the frontstretch as he led the first lap while Brad Keselowski challenged Harvick for second place.

During the second lap and with Byron leading, Harvick managed to pull ahead of Keselowski exiting the backstretch to retain the runner-up spot as Keselowski was then overtaken by Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney for top-five spots. Kyle Busch would then overtake Keselowski and drop him out of the top five on the track while Byron continued to lead.

Then on Lap 13, Byron, who led the first 13 laps, was overtaken by the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota TRD Camry piloted by reigning Coke 600 winner Hamlin. Hamlin would proceed to lead at the Laps 20 and 25 mark. By then, teammates Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr., who started 10th and 18th, respectively, carved their way into the top five while Harvick, who started on the front row, was clinging a spot within the top 20 as he continued to slip backward.

When the scheduled competition caution flew on Lap 35, Christopher Bell, who assumed the lead from teammate Hamlin a lap earlier, was scored the leader in his No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota TRD Camry by nearly a second over Blaney, who just managed to overtake Hamlin for the runner-up spot. By then, Truex overtook Byron for fourth and Keselowski overtook Kyle Busch for sixth place while Tyler Reddick, Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher were running in the top 10.

During the competition caution, the field led by Byron pitted. Following the pit stops, Byron reassumed the lead after exiting first followed by Blaney, Bell, Keselowski, Hamlin and Reddick while Truex dropped to seventh. Amid the pit stops, Joey Logano plummeted within the leaderboard after he slid through his pit box while running in the top 15.

When the race resumed under green on Lap 41, Byron retained a narrow advantage until Blaney managed to muscle ahead on the outside lane in his No. 12 BodyArmor Cherry Lime Ford Mustang and assume the lead during the following lap. With Blaney leading Byron, Keselowski battled Bell for third while Hamlin and Buescher battled for fifth.

Just past the Lap 50 mark and amid a series of early on-track battles, Blaney was leading by nearly a second over Byron followed by Bell, Keselowski and Hamlin while Kyle Busch, Truex, Reddick, Buescher and Larson were scored in the top 10. Behind, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was in 11th ahead of Chase Elliott, rookie Ty Gibbs, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones while Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Michael McDowell and Justin Haley were running in the top 20. Meanwhile, AJ Allmendinger was running in 21st ahead of Corey LaJoie, Bubba Wallace, Logano and Harrison Burton while Jimmie Johnson, Zane Smith, Austin Dillon, Ryan Preece and Harvick rounded out the top 30, with names that included Aric Almirola, rookie Noah Gragson and Chase Briscoe mired outside top 30.

Thirteen laps later, Bell, who methodically carved his way back to the front, reassumed the lead from Blaney. By then, Byron was in third ahead of Keselowski and Hamlin while Reddick overtook Kyle Busch for sixth. Behind, Truex was mired in eighth ahead of Larson and Stenhouse while Bowman, who made his return from a four-race absence amid a fractured vertebra from a sprint car accident at Iowa in late April, was scored in 16th.

On Lap 74, the second caution of the event flew when Jimmie Johnson spun his No. 84 Club Wyndham Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 off of Turn 2 and the outside wall. By then, Bell was scored the leader by more than a second over Blaney followed by Byron, Keselowski and Hamlin. During the caution period, the field led by Bell returned to pit road amid a stack-up. Following the pit stops, Byron reassumed the top spot after exiting pit road first from his first pit stall ahead of Blaney, Bell, Hamlin, Reddick and Kyle Busch while Keselowski, who pitted from fourth place, dropped to 10th due to a slow pit stop and hesitancy from the jackman. Amid the pit stops, Michael McDowell, who hit Bubba Wallace on pit road, was penalized for an equipment interference along with AJ Allmendinger. Austin Dillon would then pit for a second time for repairs to his front nose.

When the race restarted on Lap 79, Byron and Blaney dueled for the lead through the first two turns until Byron managed to pull ahead on the outside lane through the backstretch. Bell would then follow suit in second over Blaney, where both would battle for the runner-up spot, while Reddick marched his way up to fourth ahead of Larson, Truex and Hamlin.

At the Lap 90 mark, Byron retained the lead by two-tenths of a second over a hard-charging Blaney while third-place Bell trailed by nearly a second. Amid a series of on-track battles within the middle of the pack, Reddick retained fourth while Truex moved up to fifth ahead of teammate Hamlin. In addition, Kyle Busch was in seventh, Larson fell back to eighth and Keselowski was back in ninth over Stenhouse, Erik Jones, Suarez, Ty Gibbs, Chase Elliott and Buescher.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 100, Byron fended off late charges from Bell and Blaney to claim his seventh stage victory of the 2023 season. Bell settled in second as Blaney dropped to third while Reddick, Truex, Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Larson and Stenhouse were scored in the top 10. By then, 33 of 37 starters were scored on the lead lap.

Under the stage break, nearly the entire lead lap field led by Byron returned to pit road for service, except for McDowell as he assumed the lead. Following the pit stops, Byron exited pit road first for a third consecutive time following a fast pit service from the No. 24 pit crew ahead of Bell, Blaney, Reddick, Truex and Keselowski. Amid the pit stops, Austin Cindric was assessed a vehicle interference penalty while Legacy Motor Club’s Erik Jones and Noah Gragson took their respective cars to the garage due to mechanical issues as a result of running over the same debris on the track.

The second stage started on Lap 107 as McDowell and Byron occupied the front row. At the start, Byron and McDowell dueled for the lead until Byron pulled ahead through the backstretch. With Byron back in the lead, Bell, Reddick and Blaney would overtake McDowell for positions as the field fanned out and jostled for positions. McDowell then began to fade and lose the track positions he gained while Byron was leading by a steady margin over Bell and Blaney.

On Lap 117, Bell tracked down and overtook Byron for the lead. Reddick would soon follow suit in second while piloting the No. 45 Carolina Blue Jordan Brand Toyota TRD Camry along with Blaney and Keselowski while Byron dropped to fifth at the Lap 120 mark. Through the Lap 125 mark, Kyle Busch was in sixth followed by Hamlin, Truex, Suarez and Stenhouse while Buescher, Elliott, Harvick, Gibbs and Larson occupied the top 15. Behind, Logano was mired in 16th ahead of Wallace, Haley, Almirola and Preece while McDowell had fallen back to 25th behind Cindric, Bowman, Austin Dillon and Allmendinger. In addition, Chastain was mired in 26th, LaJoie was in 29th and Briscoe, who received the free pass to cycle back on the lead lap during the first stage break, was back in 32nd.

By Lap 135, Bell continued to lead by a tenth of a second over Reddick while third-place Blaney trailed by more than a second. Bell would then manage to stretch his advantage to four-tenths of a second over Reddick at the Laps 140 and 145 mark. Meanwhile, Cindric made an unscheduled pit stop under green after scraping his No. 2 Menards Ford Mustang into the outside wall entering the backstretch. McDowell had also pitted under green, with both competitors falling out of the lead lap category.

Within the Lap 145 mark, green flag pit stops slowly commenced as Hamlin pitted, though he stalled his car upon his service’s completion. Kyle Busch would then pit his No. 8 Alsco Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 under green followed by Keselowski, Truex, Reddick, Blaney, Chastain, Byron and a host of other competitors. Bell would then surrender the lead to pit by Lap 148 as Elliott, who had yet to pit, was leading. Upon his completed pit stop, which was slow, Bell was overtaken by Reddick, Keselowski and Blaney while trying to blend back onto the track. Amid the pit stops, Wallace was penalized for an equipment interference violation.

Once the remaining competitors led by Elliott pitted, the No. 45 Carolina Blue scheme piloted by Reddick assumed command of the field on Lap 154 followed by Keselowski, Blaney, Truex and Bell. A lap later, however, the caution flew due to precipitation reported in Turns 3 and 4 as the field was brought down to pit road and placed in a red flag period on Lap 158.

Half an hour later, the red flag lifted once the precipitation cleared and the track was dried as the field returned to the track under a cautious pace. During the caution period, some led by Byron and Keselowski pitted while the rest led by Reddick remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Larson had the hood of his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 raised up while Logano was penalized for an equipment interference.

When the race resumed under green flag conditions on Lap 163, Reddick and Blaney dueled for the lead until Reddick pulled ahead through the backstretch as Truex made his move for second. Shortly after, the caution quickly returned when Johnson, who was multiple laps down, made contact with his driver Gragson against the Turn 2 outside wall, which resulted in Gragson scrubbing the wall and debris being scattered while Johnson spun.

During the following restart on Lap 169, Reddick and Blaney dueled for the lead for a second time. They remained dead even during the following two laps until Reddick managed to muscle ahead of Blaney on the outside lane. With Reddick leading, Truex was in third followed by Elliott while Daniel Suarez battled Buescher, Keselowski and Byron for fifth.

Then on Lap 175, the caution returned when Kyle Busch, who was battling within the top six, got loose entering Turns 1 and 2 and made contact with Keselowski, sending Keselowski scraping into the outside wall, before Busch spun from the top to the bottom lane of the backstretch while being barely hit by Suarez as the field scattered to avoid Busch. Following his spin, Busch reversed his car below the apron towards Turn 4 before spinning his car the right direction and pitting for repairs. During the caution period, names that included Keselowski, Ty Gibbs, Larson, Logano, Haley, Allmendinger, Bell, Cindric, Preece and Suarez pitted while the rest led by Reddick remained on the track. During the pit stops, Larson’s No. 5 pit crew popped the hood up on the car for a second time for adjustments.

At the start of the following restart on Lap 181, Reddick and Blaney battled dead even for the lead entering Turn 1 until Blaney managed to pull ahead and assume the lead from the inside lane. As the field fanned out through the backstretch, Almirola, who had a brief shoving match with Wallace during the red flag period, got loose and hit the backstretch’s outside wall while running within the top 10 and began to plummet below the leaderboard while the race remained under green flag conditions.

Then on Lap 185 and amid the on-track battles, the caution returned when Hamlin, who was battling Elliott within the top 10, slipped up and squeezed Elliott into the outside wall entering the frontstretch. With both managing to continue straight, Elliott then seemingly retaliated by darting back to the left and sending Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota straight into the outside wall head-on, thus collecting Elliott in the process with both sustaining significant damage to their respective entries as Keselowski barely dodged the incident. Despite sustaining heavy front nose damage to his car, Hamlin emerged uninjured as Elliott nursed his damaged No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to the garage. The incident was one that prompted Hamlin to voice his displeasure towards Elliott while suggesting NASCAR to suspend Elliott for next weekend’s event at Gateway.

During the caution period, some that included Byron and Chastain pitted while the rest led by Blaney remained on the track.

When the race restarted on Lap 191, Buescher made his presence at the front known as he battled Blaney for the lead, which he succeeded during the following lap, while Reddick trailed in third. Behind, Harvick carved his way up to fourth followed by Logano and Keselowski while Truex was in seventh.

A few laps later, Harvick moved his No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang up into second place as he battled Blaney and Keselowski to defend the spots while Reddick slipped to seventh behind Keselowski, Logano and Ty Gibbs. In the process, Buescher maintained the lead in his No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang.

Then on the final lap of the second stage, the caution flew due to BJ McLeod spinning and stalling his car in Turn 4. The caution was enough for the second stage’s conclusion scheduled for Lap 200 to conclude under caution as Buescher captured his first stage victory of the 2023 season. Harvick settled in second while Keselowski, Logano, Blaney, Bell, Ty Gibbs, Byron, Chastain and Wallace were scored in the top 10. By then, 25 of 37 starters were scored on the lead lap.

Under the stage break, nearly the entire lead lap field led by Buescher pitted while Stenhouse and Kyle Busch remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Harvick beat Buescher off of pit road first followed by Logano, Gibbs, Blaney, Byron and Keselowski, whose pit stall erupted in flames upon exiting his stall.

The third stage started on Lap 207 as Stenhouse and Busch occupied the front row. At the start, Stenhouse peeked ahead with the lead on the outside lane while Harvick battled Busch for second. Harvick then made his move on the frontstretch during the following lap as he assumed the lead while Logano challenged Stenhouse for second. As Logano assumed second in his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang, Blaney battled Busch and Stenhouse for third while Buescher was back to sixth in front of Keselowski.

At the Lap 220 mark, Harvick was leading by eight-tenths of a second over Blaney followed by Logano, Busch and Byron while Bell, Truex, Buescher, Gibbs and Chastain were scored in the top 10. By then, Keselowski dropped out of the lead lap category after pitting a lap earlier under green amid concerns of a loose wheel to his No. 6 Castrol Edge Ford Mustang.

Ten laps later, Blaney, who assumed the lead from Harvick four laps earlier, was leading by more than a second over Harvick while Busch maintained third ahead of Byron and Bell, who rallied from starting at the rear of the field during the race’s resumption after his No. 20 pit crew made an unapproved adjustment to his car during the red flag period. A lap later, however, Bell drew the caution after getting loose underneath Byron entering the frontstretch and spinning through the front-stretch’s grass. Bell, however, was able to prevent his car from hitting the wall as he slid through pit road before proceeding.

During the caution period, the lead lap field led by Harvick pitted. Following the pit stops, Byron reassumed the lead after exiting pit road first from his first pit stall followed by Harvick, Blaney, Gibbs, Logano and Buescher. Amid the pit stops, Kyle Busch, Truex, Buescher and Chastain made contact on pit road after getting squeezed into one another, with Truex later being assessed an equipment interference penalty.

With the race restarting on Lap 236, Byron and Blaney battled for the lead through the first two turns and the backstretch until Blaney peeked ahead and assumed command during the following lap. Behind, Harvick and Logano jostled for third as Larson drew himself into the picture. Reddick also carved his way up to sixth in front of Ty Gibbs while Kyle Busch was back in eighth ahead of Stenhouse and Chastain.

By Lap 240, Larson carved his way into third followed by Reddick while Logano and Harvick dropped to fifth and sixth. Meanwhile, Blaney maintained the lead by half a second over Byron as Wallace cracked the top 10 by moving into 10th.

Ten laps later, Blaney extended his advantage to more than a second over Byron as Reddick was in third followed by Larson and Harvick. By then, Busch was in sixth ahead of Gibbs, Logano, Stenhouse and Wallace while Bowman, Cindric, McDowell, Chastain, Truex, Preece, Haley, Bell, Zane Smith and Austin Dillon were scored in the top 20.

Another 10 laps later, Blaney continued to lead by four-tenths of a second over Reddick while Larson, Byron and Harvick trailed in the top five.

On Lap 274, the 10th caution of the event flew when Keselowski got loose and clipped the right rear of the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang piloted by Todd Gilliland as both spun through the backstretch. During the caution period, the lead lap field led by Blaney pitted, but Byron reassumed the lead with the benefit of his first pit stall and another stellar pit stop from his No. 24 pit crew. With Byron exiting pit road first, Blaney followed suit along with Reddick, Harvick, Gibbs and Larson.

During the following restart on Lap 280, Byron retained the lead as the field fanned out through the first two turns. Behind Byron, Blaney retained second while Reddick used the outside lane to battle and overtake Harvick for third. Two laps later, Blaney reassumed the lead after gaining a strong run beneath Byron’s No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through Turns 2 and 3. Meanwhile, Harvick fell back to seventh as Larson, Truex and Gibbs occupied spots in front of him.

By Lap 290, Blaney maintained the lead by three-tenths of a second over Reddick while Truex carved his way up to third while trailing by more than a second, all while Byron slipped to fourth in front of teammate Larson.

When the third stage concluded on Lap 300, Blaney fended off a late charge from both Reddick and Truex to capture his first stage victory of the 2023 season. Reddick settled in second followed by Truex while Byron, Gibbs, Larson, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Stenhouse and Alex Bowman were scored in the top 10. By then, 27 of 37 starters were scored on the lead lap.

During the stage break, the lead lap field led by Blaney pitted. Following the pit stops, Byron retained the lead after exiting pit road first followed by Blaney, Larson, Ty Gibbs, Reddick, Kyle Busch and Harvick.

With 93 laps remaining, the final stage started as Byron and Blaney occupied the front row. At the start, Byron and Blaney engaged in another tight battle for the lead before Blaney pulled ahead and motored away with the lead.

Eighteen laps later, Blaney was leading by more than two seconds over Reddick followed by Kyle Busch, Byron and Larson while Gibbs, Stenhouse, Bowman, Wallace and Harvick were scored in the top 10. Behind, Truex was mired in 11th ahead of Haley, Zane Smith, Austin Dillon and Logano while Cindric, McDowell, Allmendinger, Chase Briscoe and Preece rounded out the top 20. Meanwhile, Buescher was mired back in 21st while Bell, Harrison Burton, Almirola, LaJoie, JJ Yeley and Chastain rounded out the 27-car field of competitors scored on the lead lap.

With 60 laps remaining, Blaney maintained the lead by more than three seconds over Kyle Busch while Reddick was back in third ahead of Larson and Byron.

Then with laps remaining, the caution flew when a right-front tire came off of the No. 34 Chicago Pneumatic Compressors Ford Mustang piloted by McDowell in Turn 2. During the caution period, the field led by Blaney peeled to pit road for service. Following the pit stops, Byron’s pit crew continued to deliver after enabling their driver to exit first and reassume the lead ahead of Reddick, Busch, Blaney, Larson, Harvick and Truex. During the pit stops, Wallace, who pitted within the top 10, dropped to 19th after getting blocked by Bowman while trying to exit his pit stall.

With 51 laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Byron and Reddick battled for the lead but Byron quickly retained the lead. Meanwhile, Reddick slipped up the track as Busch, Larson and Blaney overtook him. Truex also made his move into the top five during the following lap as Reddick fell back to sixth in front of Ty Gibbs and Harvick. Not long after, Larson battled Kyle Busch for second as Truex joined the battle with less than 50 laps remaining.

With 43 laps remaining, however, the caution flew when Harvick, who was battling Gibbs and Reddick for spots in the top 10, made contact against Reddick’s Toyota entering the front stretch and sent spinning through the frontstretch grass, though he continued and directed himself to pit road. During the caution period, all but Zane Smith pitted as Byron was the first competitor to exit pit road first.

Down to the final 38 laps of the event, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Byron assumed the lead from Zane Smith as the field fanned out, with Larson challenging Blaney for second. Nearly a lap later, however, the caution returned when Allmendinger received a nudge from Stenhouse, slipped sideways and spun towards the Turns 3 and 4 outside wall, barely clipping Logano in the process as Harrison Burton was also involved.

With the race restarting with 31 laps remaining, Byron received a strong push from teammate Larson to retain the lead over Blaney. As the field made its way through the backstretch, trouble struck again as Cindric, who was running within the middle of the pack, got sideways and slapped the inside wall head-on as his long event came to a late end.

During the following restart with 26 laps remaining, the calamity continued as Larson, who was running fourth, slipped sideways and ignited a multi-car wreck in Turn 2 that involved Gibbs, Bell, Logano and Almirola. At the moment of this recent caution, Blaney had managed to reassume the lead over Byron.

With the race restarting with 20 laps remaining, Blaney used the outside lane to retain the lead over Truex and Byron. Through Turns 3 and 4, however, Blaney briefly lost his momentum, which allowed Byron to fight back on the inside lane while Truex had to also step out of the gas to avoid hitting Blaney. Byron, however, was unable to mount his charge as Blaney retained the lead while Byron and Truex battled for second. Shortly after, Reddick made his charge to the front as he overtook Truex for third. Behind, Wallace carved his way to fifth while Kyle Busch, who nearly got turned by Stenhouse, was mired in sixth.

With less than 15 laps remaining, Blaney was leading by half a second over Byron and more than a second over Truex. Blaney continued to lead by six-tenths of a second with 10 laps remaining as 23XI Racing’s Wallace and Reddick were scored in fourth and fifth.

Down to the final five laps of the event, Blaney retained the lead by more than a second over Byron and Truex while Wallace and Reddick trailed by more than two seconds.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Blaney remained as the leader by nine-tenths of a second over Byron. Despite Byron mounting a final lap charge as he cut the deficit down to six-tenths of a second, he ran out of time as Blaney, who had a clear vision in front of him, was able to cycle his way back to the frontstretch and claim his first checkered flag in 59 races.

With the victory, Blaney, who also achieved his first Coke 600 victory, notched his first Cup Series victory since winning at Daytona International Speedway in August 2021. He became the 10th different winner of the 2023 Cup season and the second Team Penske competitor alongside Joey Logano to win this season as he notched his eighth career win in NASCAR’s premier series.

As an added bonus, Blaney’s Coke 600 victory capped off a memorable weekend for his team owner Roger Penske, who notched his 19th Indianapolis 500 victory a day ago with the help of two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden. Blaney also recorded the first Cup points-paying victory for crew chief Jonathan Hassler.

Photo by John Knittel for SpeedwayMedia.com.

“I might shed a tear,” Blaney said on FOX. “Man, this has been a cool weekend. Obviously, Memorial Day weekend, it means a lot. I’ve been growing up here, watching dad [Dave Blaney] run this race for a long time. It’s just so cool to be a part of it, let alone win it. I was able to get the lead on the restart. Our car was so good that I could kind of bide my time a little bit and we were able to drive off. I was hoping no caution just because you never know. I knew we had the car to do it, but restarts can be crazy. You start to get to feel like you can’t win anymore and when you don’t win [a race] in a while, it kind of gets hard. Just super thankful to the No. 12 guys for believing in me and thank you [fans] for sticking around.”

Byron, the pole-sitter who led 91 laps and received superior service from his pit crew amid the long event and delay, settled in second place for his best result at his home track.

“We just needed a little bit,” Byron said. “Just really happy for Ryan. He really deserves it. He’s a good dude. Cool to see him get a win. I felt like there were enough restarts for him to get back towards the front. I knew [Blaney] and [Reddick] were a little bit stronger than us, but just thanks to this Liberty University Chevrolet team. The car was great tonight. Just not quite good enough, but really proud of the effort. Pit crew was phenomenal on pit road. Those guys are just high energy and that [number one] pit stall helps, so just a credit to the few weeks before Darlington. Just proud of where our team is at. Just needed a little bit more.”

Truex, a two-time Coke 600 winner, came home in third while Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick finished in the top five. Kyle Busch, Stenhouse, Buescher, Austin Dillon and Zane Smith completed the top 10 in the final running order. Notably, Harvick finished 11th in his final Coke 600 event while Alex Bowman finished 12th in his first event since returning from his fractured vertebrae injury.

There were 31 lead changes for 13 different leaders. The race featured 16 cautions for 83 laps. In total, 25 of 37 starters finished on the lead lap.

With 12 regular-season events remaining of this year’s Cup Series schedule, Ross Chastain leads the regular-season standings by a single point over Ryan Blaney, four over William Byron, eight over Kevin Harvick and 13 over Martin Truex Jr.

William Byron, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano are currently guaranteed spots for the 2023 Cup Series Playoffs based on winning at least once throughout the regular-season stretch. Ross Chastain, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, Bubba Wallace and Alex Bowman occupy the remaining vacant spots to the Playoffs based on points, with Bowman occupying the 16th and final vacant spot by four points over Chase Briscoe, 15 over rookie Ty Gibbs, 20 over Daniel Suarez, 38 over Corey LaJoie and 42 over Austin Cindric.


1. Ryan Blaney, 163 laps led, Stage 3 winner

2. William Byron, 91 laps led, Stage 1 winner

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Bubba Wallace

5. Tyler Reddick, 28 laps led

6. Kyle Busch, one lap led

7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., four laps led

8. Chris Buescher, 12 laps led, Stage 2 winner

9. Austin Dillon

10. Zane Smith, three laps led

11. Kevin Harvick, 19 laps led

12. Alex Bowman

13. Ryan Preece

14. AJ Allmendinger

15. Justin Haley

16. JJ Yeley

17. Corey LaJoie

18. Harrison Burton

19. Brad Keselowski

20. Chase Briscoe

21. Joey Logano

22. Ross Chastain

23. Daniel Suarez

24. Christopher Bell, 48 laps led

25. Aric Almirola

26. Ty Gibbs, two laps down

27. Ty Dillon, three laps down

28. Michael McDowell, four laps down, four laps led

29. BJ McLeod, eight laps down

30. Kyle Larson – OUT, one lap led

31. Austin Cindric – OUT, Accident

32. Erik Jones, 59 laps down

33.  Todd Gilliland – OUT, Accident

34. Chase Elliott – OUT, Accident, six laps led

35. Denny Hamlin – OUT, Accident, 20 laps led

36. Noah Gragson – OUT, Engine

37. Jimmie Johnson – OUT, Accident

Next on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the series’ second annual event at Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. The event is scheduled to occur next Sunday, June 4, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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