CONCORD, N.C. - After multiple rain delays that caused the 64th annual Coca-Cola 600 to be postponed until Monday, Team Penske's Ryan Blaney snapped a 59-race winless streak after dominating NASCAR's longest race of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The No. 12 Ford Mustang was upfront the entire day as Blaney led a race-high 163 laps and won Stage 3 in the race that finished over 26 hours after it was initially supposed to begin.
This win marks Blaney's first points-paying win in the Next Gen car (won the 2022 All-Star Race at Texas) and his eighth career Cup Series victory.
After 600 miles, Blaney gave an emotional post-race interview at the same track his father Dave Blaney won his only Xfinity Series race at back in 2006.
"I might shed a tear, this has been a cool weekend," Blaney said. "Obviously Memorial Day Weekend means a lot, growing up here watching Dad run this race for a long time. It’s so cool just to be a part of it, let alone win it."
Blaney also said that not winning for a while was difficult for him and he's very thankful for his No. 12 team for continuing to believe in him.
Arguably, the second most dominant car of the day finished second, and that was William Byron's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Byron led 91 laps and won Stage 1 en route to his fourth straight finish inside the top four. Byron won the last points-paying race at Darlington, finished third at Kansas and earned fourth place at Dover.
"We just needed a little bit," Byron said in a post-race interview. "Really happy for Ryan (Blaney). He really deserves it. He’s a good dude. Cool to see him get a win."
Results from the 2023 Coca-Cola 600 are listed below.
Chase Elliott Suspended
One of the most notable events to occur during the 2023 Coca-Cola 600 was the incident between Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.
After Hamlin ran Elliott up high and into the wall, Elliott expressed his displeasure by retaliating and right-hooking Hamlin which caused both drivers to DNF.
Although Elliott said it was not an intentional move, Hamlin said Elliott's "tantrum" move was worthy of a suspension because it was similar to the Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson's incident last fall at Las Vegas that resulted in Wallace being suspended for a race.
To go a step further to prove his point, Hamlin posted the SMT data from Elliott's car at the time of the wreck to show that Elliott's wheel did in fact make a hard left.
On Tuesday evening, NASCAR suspended Elliott for this weekend's Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Hendrick Motorsports doesn't plan on appealing the penalty and the team said they understand NASCAR's need to maintain consistency in its officiating.
Spire Motorsports driver Corey LaJoie will replace Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet, while NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Carson Hocevar will make his Cup debut in LaJoie's regular side, the No. 7 Chevrolet.
Other Race Facts
Ryan Blaney is now the 22nd different driver to win a points-paying race in the Next Gen era.
In addition to Blaney's Coca-Cola 600 victory, Team Penske's Josef Newgarden won the 107th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, marking the first time Team Penske has won both of those races on the same weekend.
Besides William Byron, one of the hottest drivers in the field is the No. 23 Toyota of Bubba Wallace. The 23XI Racing driver is having the best stretch of his career as he has finished three consecutive races inside the top 5 and four straight races if you count the exhibition All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro.
Zane Smith earned his first career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series after finishing 10th in the Coca-Cola 600.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson made his third start of the 2023 season in Legacy Motor Club's No. 84 Chevrolet. Johnson has three DNFs in all three starts, finishing 31st, 38th and 37th.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 8 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
NASCAR did not compete in a race last week that counted toward the GRID Ranking because the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro was not a points-paying event.
For the first time in multiple weeks, a NASCAR driver has entered the GRID Ranking top 10.
MOST RECENT FINISH
Week 9 of the GRID Ranking:
The next race on the calendar for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter from World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
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