Photo courtesy of NASCAR
In an absolutely crazy finish with multiple wrecks on the final lap in overtime, Ryan Blaney gave challenger Erik Jones a shove into the wall coming around the final turn approaching the finish line to give him the GEICO 500 victory on Monday. It was his first win of 2020.
Blaney’s victory is his first of the season and makes Team Penske the first NASCAR team of 2020 to have every driver secure their place in the playoffs via victory. Blaney’s .007 second margin of victory ties the margin of victory from last fall’s Talladega race finish between Blaney and Ryan Newman; Blaney also won that race.
BEFORE THE GREEN FLAG
As the teams and drivers reported to Talladega Superspeedway, a member of Richard Petty Motorsports discovered a noose in the team’s garage stall. It was a blatant attempt at intimidation toward NASCAR’s only African-American Cup Series driver, Bubba Wallace. Team owner Richard Petty flew down to Talladega to be with Wallace and the No. 43 team and show his support.
Petty is NASCAR’s all-time wins leader (200). He’s also the all-time pole leader (123). Petty is tied for the most Cup Series championships (7) with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jimmie Johnson.
On race day before the green flag dropped, every NASCAR driver and team member in attendance joined in to push Wallace’s No. 43 to the front of the field at the end of pit road; it was a sign their uniform support of Wallace’s place in NASCAR. They simultaneously showed their allied defense of Wallace against any and all threats made toward him based on his skin color.
A 2020 SPORTS MILESTONE
The GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway became the first professional sporting event in America with fans in attendance. 5,000 fans watched the race from the grandstands Monday afternoon.
A weather delay on Sunday pushed the race start too late into the day for the race to be completed. Talladega does not have lights that can support a night race.
NASCAR returns to the track in Pocono, Pennsylvania for the “Pocono Organics 325” on Saturday. It will begin at at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will air on FOX.