NASCAR Sports Update: A United Prerace and a Photo Finish (6/24/20) By: Josh Scott
Updated: Jun 27
Ryan Blaney edged out Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by 0.007 (seven one-thousandths) of a second for the win at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday. The finish was sixth closest in NASCAR history. It was Blaney's first win of the season and fourth of his career. This was also the Ohio native's second straight win at Talladega, where he beat Ryan Newman by 0.007, the same exact margin, last fall. The 500-mile race was postponed due to rain after originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Aric Almirola crossed the finish line backwards in third place, with Denny Hamlin finishing fourth and Erik Jones fifth. Chris Buescher, Alex Bowman, rookie John Hunter Nemechek, Kurt Busch, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.
Rookie Tyler Reddick won Stage One, after it was cut short due to rain, while Stenhouse captured the Stage Two win. A late spin by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson brought out the race's final caution, with three laps to go. Blaney snatched the lead away from Harvick on the final lap and had to hold off multiple drivers, including Jones and Stenhouse, in order to secure the victory.
The race's finish was memorable, as well as its beginning. During pre-race ceremonies, NASCAR rallied around Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr., the sports lone black driver. Late Sunday afternoon, one of Wallace's team members identified what appeared to be a noose in his car's garage stall. After a thorough FBI investigation, the supposed noose turned out to be an old rope used for closing the garage stall door. Wallace, who finished 14th, has advocated strongly against racism towards African-Americans in recent weeks.
The Cup Series travels to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA, this weekend. The track also known as the "Tricky Triangle" will host two races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. This is the first time that the Cup Series will run a doubleheader weekend. Kevin Harvick remains atop the point standings by 23 points over Joey Logano.