Saturday, June 3, 2023

Ryan Blaney, Driving Kobe Bryant Tribute Scheme, Wins Stage 2 at Auto Club

FONTANA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 28: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 BodyArmor Ford, prepares for practice laps at Auto Club Speedway on February 28, 2020 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Alex Bowman was the dominant driver in Stage 1 of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, but it was Ryan Blaney who took charge in Stage 2. Blaney, driving a gold and purple Kobe Bryant tribute scheme, led 50 laps and took the Stage 2 win.

Blaney, the NASCAR Cup Series point leader coming into the day, scores one Playoff point for the Stage win along with 10 regular season championship points.

Bowman wound up second in the Stage, while Jimmie Johnson came home third.

Brad Keselowski and a grumpy Martin Truex Jr. capped of the top-five finishers in the Stage.

I say Truex has been grumpy, because he has been upset with several competitors on the radio so far in today’s race. Truex started at the back of the pack after not being allowed to qualify. Truex’s car failed pre-qualifying inspection three times on Saturday.

Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-10 in Stage 2 and also scored Stage points.

Rookie contender Christopher Bell’s horrid start to the 2020 season continued as he blew a motor in Stage 2 and will finish last in 38th.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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