Race Weekend Central

Going for Win, Bubba Wallace & Ryan Blaney Come Up Empty

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace are past winners at Talladega Superspeedway and both found themselves with a chance to add another trophy to their collection during the second overtime at the end of Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (April 23).

They both left the track empty-handed and still seeking a win to qualify them for the playoffs. On the final lap of Sunday’s race, an attempted block by Wallace turned the No. 23 around, triggering multiple crashes deeper in the field that necessitated a caution that ended the race.

“I hate it, I caused that one,” Wallace said. “I thought it would play out a little differently, obviously, and not getting wrecked. I thought the move would happen coming off of [turn] 2. The way we were shoving and pushing, we were kind of getting each other out of whack.

“Close, close, close block, and I honestly thought that he would leave me high and dry coming back around. Just hate it for the team. That’s just how it goes,” Wallace added.

The biggest beneficiary of the late-race contact was clearly Kyle Busch, who emerged with his second win of the season.

See also
Kyle Busch Wins After 2 Talladega Overtimes

“Bubba went to block and you can’t make it more than one turn without being pushed,” Busch said.

Blaney, a two-time winner at Talladega, has now finished second in the last two races at the 2.66-mile track.

“It was nice to have a decent finish, even though you’re bummed you didn’t win. You run second here, there’s a good and bad, to it, right? You could run 32nd two years in a row,” Blaney said. “It stinks to be really close to one, but we’ll take good finishes on to next week and see what next week holds.”

As for what he could have done differently in the final laps?

“There’s nothing I could do differently,” Blaney said. “Block three times, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Blaney got the finish despite not having a strong push late from Erik Jones, who he was able to link up with for a better part of the final stage. Jones, ended up sixth.

“Me and Erik were great in the third stage, the car was fast, and we were kind of able to hold the second lane at bay while I was also saving fuel with the leaders. We kind of picked our spots really well, he and I, when to go and not to go,” Blaney said. “He actually didn’t run out of gas, he actually had a right front go down when he hit the wall, he told me. It was a shame losing him as the pusher, but we did a great job together all day.”

Like Blaney, being a factor was no problem for Wallace on Sunday. With 23XI Racing co-owner Michael Jordan watching from atop the No. 23 pit box, Wallace led multiple laps, finishing fourth in the second stage.

“It’s the best plate racing we’ve ever done, so hats off to the [No.] 23 group and [spotter] Freddie [Kraft] on top of the roof. A great day for us, just a crap result,” Wallace said.

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Mike

It was eric almoralla pushing blaney not eric jones.

gbvette

It’s not “eric almoralla” it’s Aric Almirola, and it’s not “eric jones” it’s Erik Jones.

Mike

I think you missed the point. But sorry for the misspelling

Steven

Seems odd to me that Blubba didn’t mention his spotter. Well, no ones going to question his judgement. He rides a fast horse and is deeply loved by the media.

DoninAjax

I wonder what MJ thinks about Bubba now. How many times did MJ get shown during the event? Was he shown after the ending? He’s ditching his NBA club and I wonder what he thinks of Brian’s product.

Bill H

Blaney apologized for causing the accident, but he didn’t cause it. Wallace did by blocking not once but three times. Each time you swerve to block you lose momentum, so each block has less chance of success. Once is risky, twice is unwise, three times is just plain stupid.

DoninAjax

That’s Bubba! He did exactly what was expected from him with the expected result.

Did Bubba apologize in any way?

I wonder what Tony said since he was one of the best blockers in Cup.

Shayne

Bubba caused a massive wreck trying to out run the rearview mirror. He’s gonna have to learn to take what a race gives him and stop trying to force things. He thinks anything less than a 1st place finish somehow equates to failure.

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