Kyle Larson looked to have Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway all but locked up, but there’s a reason we run all of the laps in these things. Over the final run of the race, Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang came to life, and he chased down Larson for the race win.
“Yeah, you know we — gosh we had a great long run car all day,” Blaney said. “It took us a little bit to get going. I was pretty free all day, so, we made a pretty good change to tighten me up where I needed it. It looked like Kyle was getting loose. And it just — I’m happy it worked into our favor that there were a couple of long runs in the end that let us get there.”
Following the win, Blaney climbed from his car to hand the checkered flag to a young fan through the fence.
This is Blaney’s fifth-career NCS win and his first win of the 2021 season and it makes him the sixth-different winner in the opening six NASCAR Cup Series races this season.
Blaney had the speed to win in the end, and he utilized help from his teammate Joey Logano who blocked Larson in the battle for the win.
“I hate Logano, man,” Larson radioed to his team when he lost the lead to Blaney as Logano took away his line.
Even with the assist from Logano, Larson blamed himself for using his tires up before the end of the race as well as crediting Blaney’s team for adjusting their car for the finish.
“I think he just got a lot better in that last Stage and it kind of changed the flow of my race a little bit,” Larson explained. “I could get out to such a big lead and then I could take care of my stuff and run the bottom where it was maybe slower, but I could take care of my tires. He was fast there and I just wanted to maintain that gap that I had, so I had to run in the faster part of the racetrack and just used my stuff up.”
While Larson, who led a race-high 268 laps was left heartbroken at the end of the day, he did score two Stage Wins and two more Playoff points on the day.
Alex Bowman scored a solid third-place finish in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports car.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished fourth and fifth.
Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-10 finishers on the day.
For Harvick, the top-10 was a consolation prize for a frustrating afternoon at one of his best tracks. Harvick had a flat tire, which required a pit stop on a restart, which eventually led to him losing a lap and falling outside the top-25.
After battling and scrapping all day long with what he described as a crap car, Harvick ended with a decent finish.
Daniel Suarez looked to have Trackhouse’s first top-10 finish in sight as he was running sixth while coming to his final green flag pit stop. However, after speeding on the exit of pit road, Suarez had to serve a penalty and lost a lap. The No. 99 car ended up 17th.
To view all of the stories, results, standings and video highlights from the 2021 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, visit our Race Information Page:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.