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Runner-up finish leaves Ryan Blaney wanting more

Kyle Busch earns his second win of the season, avoiding a wreck on the final lap to claim victory at Talladega Superspeedway.

TALLADEGA, Ala. — After his winless streak stretched to a 56th consecutive points race, Ryan Blaney was asked Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway if he wonders what more he has to do to win again in Cup.

“Every single day,” Blaney said with a pained smile.

“Every single day.”

On a day where Kyle Busch said he was “lucky” to win, it was Blaney who was next across the finish line in second place for the second consecutive race at this track.

Blaney, who last won a Cup points race in August 2021 at Daytona, was pressuring leader Bubba Wallace for the lead on the final lap. Wallace wrecked after blocking Blaney. That allowed Busch to go by on the inside and take the lead before the caution waved to end the race. Blaney was left to settle for a second-place finish.

Wallace later took the blame for the incident. Blaney also said there was nothing more he could do in that situation.

“It’s hard to block in these cars,” Blaney said. “I felt like (Wallace) kind of triple-moved on me. You can’t really do that. He blocked the middle. He blocked bottom. He blocked the top and I’m there.

“Shame to get turned, but I don’t know what else I can do beside slam on the brakes, and you can’t do that. I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just hard racing. As the leader, I would have done the same thing. You’re trying to block and maintain the lead.

“As second, I’ve got to take every run I can get and keep my momentum. Just one of those things. Stinks.”

Asked what went through his mind after the incident, Blaney said: “I’m mad we didn’t win. That was the thing that went through my head first.”

Blaney and Wallace are good friends, and Blaney said they’ll discuss what happened.

“You never want to have someone turned off the front end of your nose, no matter what the situation is,” Blaney said. “Obviously, you don’t want to do that to a friend. Everyone is a competitor out there. It’s not like I’m going to race Bubba any less hard than anyone else. We’re trying to beat him just as much as everybody else.”