So, I guess I have to eat my own words because I never thought this race could be more boring than Pheonix. This race dragged on due to horribly long stages and complete and utter dominance by Kyle Larson.
Or should I say it was total dominance before Ryan Blaney came out of nowhere to take the lead away. I’m still in a bit of shock because I never would’ve thought anyone was going to be able to chase down Larson. I was honestly beginning to think NASCAR was going to have to do a thorough inspection of Larson’s car after the race, because it was on a different level then everyone else.
Ryan Blaney, I think had the only car capable of beating him, but before the last 20 laps it seemed like he’d have to have a restart to do it at the end. He was able to take the lead on a great pit stop at the beginning of stage 3 and lead laps ahead of Larson, but couldn’t pull away. Good for him he didn’t though, as a piece of trash got caught to Blaney’s grill and forced him to surrender the lead and have Larson’s bumper lift it off. Had that trash not been able to get knocked off, Blaney might not have been in a position to win in the end.
This is what we’ve been talking about for weeks that Blaney needed to do. Get off to a fast start this season and win a race that will hopefully snowball into multiple wins. Of course, we’re now looking at the sixth different winner in six races this year, so I’m not sure how many wins there are to go around this season.
Despite the exciting finish, this Atlanta race was a snooze fest and I’m not sure how much of that had to do with the race track needing to be repaved and how much of it was just Larson being dialed in. Either way, I think some reworks are due for this track.
- Chase Elliott didn’t have a winning car but had a top ten car until a blown engine.
- Kevin Harvick’s struggles continue to struggle despite rebounding for a respectable finish of 10th.
- Daniel Suarez was having an amazing day and looking at a top ten, but was caught speeding.
- Matt DiBenedetto continues his momentum with another great finish of 11th after running in the top ten all day.
- Austin Dillon is continuing to have an emergence with that RCR equipment, finishing 6th.
- Alex Bowman had his best run of the year of 3rd.
- Chris Buescher quietly had a top ten run.