On a day filled with risky moves, Ryan Blaney turned a late-race risk into a winning reward as he took the lead on a Lap 193 restart and held on to win Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan.
Blaney passed Byron with seven laps to go after Byron spun his tires after restarting from the lead in the preferred outside lane. Blaney did what no other driver did all day and took the lead from Byron after restarting in second on the inside lane.
On the final lap, Byron ran the outside lane and had a run on Blaney exiting turn four but Byron came up short.
“Michigan is a matter of pretty much running wide open and trying to play the air game,” Blaney stated. “I hate you have to race that way. That’s how you have to run and it worked out for us.”
Blaney beat Byron by 0.077 seconds, which is the closest margin of victory of any NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
The Top 10 finishers were as follows: Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr.
It was Blaney’s sixth win of 2021, his sixth career NASCAR Cup Series win and his first win at Michigan International Speedway.
In each of Blaney’s six wins, he has taken the lead with less than ten laps to go. Blaney also has only one win where he won by more than one second.
2021 is now Blaney’s first multi-win season in the series.
Blaney has four Top-5 finishes in the last five races and sits sixth in the playoff standings with one regular-season race left, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (7:30 p.m. ET; TV; NBC; Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).