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What went down in the NASCAR Cup Series Iowa Corn 350 powered by Ethanol

Ryan Blaney won the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) inaugural Iowa Corn 350 powered by Ethanol. Blaney led a career-high 201 laps to capture his first win of the season, 11th career on Sunday night. With this win, Blaney also clinched a spot in the Cup playoffs for the eighth straight season and captured Ford’s third NCS win of the season, which was 731st all-time.

Photo by Ron Olds for Speedwaymedia.com

Following a pit stop after the second stage, Blaney restarted 10th and worked his way up to second with less than 100 laps to go. On Lap 260, Blaney and his crew made a two-tire stop, giving Blaney the race lead off of pit road with 84 laps to go in the race. Blaney held the lead over second-place William Byron by .716 of a second for his first win in 2024, and Team Penske’s 95th series win with Ford.

“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 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 going to 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.”

Race Notes

  • The race was divided into three stages (70 laps/140 laps/140 laps) for the Inaugural Iowa Corn 350 powered by Ethanol at Iowa Speedway in Newton (.875-mile oval). Race winner Blaney also won Stage 1 and Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson won Stage 2. The race had eight caution periods for 49 laps, with 14 drivers on the lead lap. Third-place finisher Chase Elliott takes over the series points lead by eight points over teammate Kyle Larson, who finished 34th after contact from Suarez on Lap 220.

What went down behind Blaney

Polesitter Larson won Stage 2 after battling back from a rear tire issue. But on Lap 220, Suarez sent the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 spinning into the outside wall on the front stretch, also collecting Denny Hamlin. Larson went down 36 laps and finished 34th, and he also lost the series points lead to teammate Elliott with nine races remaining.

William Byron led the Chevrolet teams with a runner-up finish in his Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Liberty University Camaro ZL1 for his sixth top-five finish of the season.

Photo by Ron Olds for Speedwaymedia.com

Elliott, driving the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1, finished in the third position.

“Our balance was just right, and I thought all day we had really good long run pace, he said. “I just really struggled to get going on restarts, and just was really loose and couldn’t. Just felt like I couldn’t attack like I needed to and just lost a lot of ground. Could make good pace there at the end of a run with our NAPA Chevy, just needed to be a little closer I think to keep the pressure on and keep things rolling.”

Christopher Bell finished fourth in a backup car. After starting in the rear of the field, Bell battled back to a fourth-place finish, his fifth top-five of the season, and his fourth consecutive top-10 for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Yeah, I mean, a top-five, is a good day,” Bell said. “Obviously, we had pace to be better than that, so that’s why I’m sitting here with mixed emotions. Great effort, and if we keep bringing cars like that, hopefully, it’ll be our day one of these times.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fifth.

“We had a little mishap on pit road that set us back again to kind of that back row, so, we had to battle back from that,” Stenhouse explained. “Really wanted to go battle (Ryan) Blaney there. We got to second, just got a little too loose, and couldn’t hold those guys off. Really cool to do a Cup race here in Iowa after all our success and to do it in front of a great crowd.”

Joey Logano, driving the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse, finished sixth after a two-tire pitstop call and reflected on his day.

“We put ourselves in position there to win the race with the two-tire call,” he said. I just didn’t re-fire good on two. I tried to race Blaney and couldn’t hold him off and then I just kind of got swallowed up by a couple cars pretty quick. We just didn’t have enough fire-off. I think if I could have got out front, I probably would have been OK, but I couldn’t get out there.”

Josh Berry started third, led twice for 32 laps, and finished 7th for his third top-10 of the season. “That was a lot of fun, for sure. We’re going to keep digging to keep getting better,” said Berry.

Brad Keselowski finished in 10th place and captured his ninth top-10 of the season. “Our car was really good on the long runs. I liked that long run, but the short runs we just didn’t have enough speed,” Keselowski explained.

Martin Truex Jr. went down a lap early in the race but battled back for a 15th-place finish. Daniel Hemric had early contact with front nose problems and then a toe link and finished 29th.

Kyle Busch started 7th but had mechanical problems, resulting in a 35th-place finish.

“We had a strong zone Chevrolet today at Iowa Speedway but didn’t get to finish the race. Something broke in the left-rear suspension,” a disappointed Busch explained. “I don’t know if it was a toe link or what it was, but it changed the skew of the back of the car, and it was just undrivable doing that. We came in and fixed it. Rolling back out, we broke the belt, and I had no power steering. I have no idea why, but it was frustrating, for sure.”

The No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1, driven by AJ Allmendinger, sustained damage after a tire issue in the first stage and finished 36th.

What’s Next

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the 18th race of the season on Sunday, June 23, at 2:30 p.m. ET. The USA Today 301 coverage will be on the USA Network, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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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