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ATYL: Redemption Win | Playoff Bubble Worries | Iowa Concerns Put to Rest (Race Analysis)

A new Team Penske tradition thrived while the concerns for Iowa Speedway’s debut faded away.

“I ain’t got nothing for the Hendrick cars,” said Ryan Blaney to his team over the radio following the first stage.

The No.12 Advanced Auto Ford Mustang Dark Horse was fast. But, it was hard to deny the strength of the Hendrick Motorsports camp. Until Kyle Larson’s incident with Daniel Suárez on Lap 220, his HendrickCars.com Camaro was the one to beat. With the No. 5 HMS Chevrolet out of contention for the win, the pressure was on the rest of his teammates to deliver.

Alex Bowman was having a solid race inside the top-10, collecting his 10th top-10 of the year. Chase Elliott and William Byron competed consistently inside the top-five and were in contention to win the race. However, despite his concerns, Blaney crossed the line ahead of the pack to win the Iowa Corn 350.

The 30-year-old’s success this weekend should’t surprise anyone. Back in 2015, Blaney won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway with Brad Keselowski Racing. He carried that success to the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he won several races at the 7/8 mile track for Team Penske. With those wins, Blaney becomes the first driver to win in all three national NASCAR series at Iowa Speedway.

As the reigning champion gets his mojo back, Ford is doing the same. The manufacturer has seen victory lane three times in the past five races with Brad Keselowski, Austin Cindric, and Ryan Blaney. Notably, in the past three races, Team Penske has been victorious twice. With his younger teammates collecting trophies this season, the pressure is now on for veteran driver Joey Logano to get the job done. Coming to the line with a sixth place finish, many were hopeful coming into the night that the No. 22 would get it’s first win of the season.

The 34-year-old driver has a successful history of winning at new tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule (L.A. Coliseum, Bristol Dirt, and Gateway). Hopefully, the Connecticut native can secure a win sooner rather than later, as he currently sits six points below the playoff cutoff line with nine races to go in the regular season.

Shockingly, Logano isn’t the only champion in danger of missing the playoffs though.

Join Taylor Kitchen in the latest episode of Above The Yellow Line to discuss the playoff bubble worries and to analyze the on-track product that spiked concern at Iowa Speedway.

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