Ryan Blaney wins 2022 All-Star Race in Texas
It took him two attempts Sunday night, but Ryan Blaney took home the $1 million prize after winning the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in his career.
Just before Blaney hit the finish line at the scheduled conclusion of the race, NASCAR displayed the caution flag for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who contacted the outside wall in Turn 2. In the procedural rules for this year’s All-Star Race, NASCAR stated that the race must end under green-flag conditions. Since Blaney hadn’t yet crossed the finish line, the race went to overtime.
Blaney unhinged his window net believing he had already taken the checkered flag. It took him the duration of the caution period to get the net secured enough to complete the overtime period.
MORE: All-Star Race results
In overtime, Blaney fended off charges from Denny Hamlin and Austin Cindric to take home the $1 million check in the exhibition race, Blaney’s first triumph in six All-Star appearances. Blaney led each of the last 84 laps. Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez completed the top five.
Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart did not believe Blaney successfully relatched his window net and that the No. 12 Ford should have been penalized for competing with it not properly secured.
“He (expletive) was holding (the latch) up,” Hamlin radioed after the race before noting, “he (Blaney) should have won the race anyway.”
Gabehart, who will miss each of the next four races after a tire detached from the No. 11 Toyota at Dover, joined his driver in questioning NASCAR’s officiating after the checkered flag.
“I don’t disagree, (Blaney) should have won the race,” Gabehart said. “I just don’t really understand how letting a tire roll down pit road gets me four weeks off and he can run around with the window net down. … Yes, I purposely said that the way I did.”
Hamlin, co-owner of 23XI Racing, responded: “Because they make up rules. They answer to themselves. That’s what they do. This is not new.”
Never should have been a yellow in the first place. They put Blaney in the situation he was in. To make up for it they let him break a rule. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) May 23, 2022
Blaney W, NASCAR L
The 140-lap event -- originally scheduled for 125 laps -- was dotted by on-track incidents, the most serious of which occurred at Lap 49. Race leader Kyle Busch suffered a flat right rear tire at the exit of Turn 4. He attempted to get out of harm’s way by going low but wound up directly in the path of Ross Chastain. Chastain launched over the left rear of Busch’s car, bouncing off its left side before landing on all four tires, then contacting Chase Elliott and sending his No. 9 Chevrolet into the outside wall.
Defending All-Star Race winner Kyle Larson was also ousted by a crash after his right front tire went flat exiting Turn 4. Larson was running second at the time.
With 28 laps to go, Erik Jones crashed at the exit of Turn 4, bringing out the race’s penultimate caution. NASCAR was set to throw a competition caution just three laps later if no natural cautions came into play prior to that point of the final 50-lap stage.
Thanks to his Stage 1 victory, Busch would have started from the lead in the fourth and final stage. Instead, Stage 2 winner Cindric led the field to green alongside Team Penske teammate Blaney, who won the third stage. The pit crew for Logano, the third Penske car, won the pit stop competition between the second and third stages, claiming a $100,000 bonus and the third starting position for the final stage.
There were no issues in post-race inspection, confirming Blaney as the official winner of the event.
Stage 1 winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 2 winner: Austin Cindric
Pit stop competition winner: Joey Logano
Stage 3 winner: Ryan Blaney