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You need a little luck and perfect timing to overcome a penalty and eke out a win at Bristol Motor Speedway.
On a wet Wednesday night, Ryan Blaney had both.
Blaney took a victory in the UNOH 200 at BMS Wednesday, overcoming a penalty early in the race and retaking the lead on a green-white-checkered finish to win his fourth career Camping World Truck Series race.
Blaney started second but took the lead on the first lap of the race. He continued to lead in the early stages, but was black flagged following the first caution for jumping the restart.
“It’s NASCAR’s jurisdiction,” Blaney said to FOX Sports about the penalty. Despite going a lap down, Blaney was able to get his lap back and rejoined the top 10 on lap 143. While he wasn’t sure he actually jumped the restart, he said he was lucky to get back up front. “We were one of the few cars that could pass on the bottom. I can’t say enough about this team.”
Blaney’s triumph was his first of the season, leading 40 of 202 laps. He held off a hard charge from Kyle Busch, who shot to second on the final restart.
“We had a good enough car to stay up there,” Blaney said. “Cool way to start off our tripleheader weekend.”
Blaney’s win came at the expense of Matt Crafton. Crafton led at the final restart, but both he and Blaney spun their tires. Low fuel led to the two-time Truck Series champion sliding back through the field.
For Crafton, it was a night of what-ifs. He inherited the lead after Cole Custer crashed while leading with 41 laps to go. Upon Crafton taking the top spot, rain descended upon the track, leading to a 45-minute red flag while the Air Titans dried the track.
Crafton led when the race resumed and seemed like he would coast to his fifth victory of the season, but a spin by Ty Dillon with five laps to go restacked the field and subsequently led to the restart that pushed him out of the lead. He would finish seventh.
“Not a bad day,” Crafton said, his disappointment visible. “We led laps, they knew we were here.”
Crafton wasn’t even the dominant driver of the night. That honor belonged to Custer, who led 107 laps before running into the side of a spinning Spencer Gallagher while attempting to lap him.
“I don’t know what happened,” Custer said about Gallagher’s spin. “I was committed to the top. I couldn’t do anything. It wouldn’t turn at all. We had a great truck. It’s just a shame.” Custer finished 16th.
Nemechek’s third place was the career best finish for the 18-year-old driver. “There was a lane on the bottom, and I took it,” he said, referencing the final restart. “Finishing up front like this, it’s been coming for a while. It’s been a great summer. Hopefully we can get some wins this fall.”
The race was slowed five times, four times for accidents and one time for debris.
Following the race, Reddick holds the points lead by six over Crafton and seven over Erik Jones.