Team Penske's Ryan Blaney surprises with Ford victory at MIS, on a day dominated by Chevy drivers Featured

Posted On Sunday, 22 August 2021 23:03 Written by
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Ryan Blaney celebrates in Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway Ryan Blaney celebrates in Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway Matt Myftiu / AutoTechReviews.com

BROOKLYN, Mich. — They say every lap counts in racing, but most importantly the last lap counts.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney proved that to be the case on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, when he led the final 8 laps to take the victory in his Ford after the race was dominated by Chevy drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron.

A strong push by Kyle Busch on the last restart, reminiscent of the type of push needed to win at superspeedway tracks, helped Blaney’s cause as he battled for the win.

“Yeah, got a great push by the 18 on the restart, was able to get clear there. Michigan is a matter of pretty much running wide open and trying to play the air game. I hate you have to race that way. That's how you have to run. Worked out for us,” Blaney said.

Blaney’s day wasn’t that strong to begin with, as he had issues earlier and fell back in the lineup. But the performance improved throughout the race, and on the last restart, Blaney was the only driver to choose the bottom lane when the choose arrow came into play. That put him on the front row and set up his win, which kept the Michigan Heritage Trophy in the Ford camp for another year.

Byron, who finished 2nd and nearly stole the win back at the flag with a late dive down track, enjoyed the feel of the race.

“It was fun, kind of like a speedway race,” Byron said. “I was trying to back up to him about two to go. Feel he kind of ran the bottom so he didn't have any momentum to push me.”

Ford domination at MIS

This is the seventh win in a row at MIS for Ford, a feat that’s rarely achieved. Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick won in 2018, Joey Logano and Harvick won in 2019, and Harvick swept the races in 2020.

Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance, weighed in on the Blaney victory that extended this streak.

“This is such a big deal for our company, for our employees. To come here and race in front of all of our employees and their friends and families and have Ryan (Blaney) go get that win with Team Penske and Roush Yates power. We are taking the Heritage Trophy back to Dearborn.”

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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