Blaney goes last to first, wins Xfin­ity race at Char­lotte

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE REED

CON­CORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney demon­strated his im­prov­ing pa­tience and made sure that Kevin Har­vick’s mis­ery at Char­lotte Mo­tor Speed­way con­tin­ued.

Blaney passed Har­vick on a restart with three laps to go and held on to win the Xfin­ity Se­ries race at Char­lotte Mo­tor Speed­way on Satur­day.

Blaney went from last to first for his fifth ca­reer Xfin­ity vic­tory. He had qual­i­fied third, but was sent to the back of the field to start the race be­cause of un­ap­proved tire changes to his No. 12 Ford.

“I have a lot bet­ter pa­tience than I did a cou­ple of years ago,” the 23year-old Blaney joked when asked about start­ing at the back of the field. “You learn that as you run a lit­tle bit more in NASCAR. When you start in the back or some­thing goes wrong and you lose five or six spots it’s the pa­tience as­pect of it.

“We were su­per pa­tient work­ing back up through the field. It helps when you have a re­ally good car and you know you can be pa­tient.”

Mean­while, Har­vick’s tough luck at Char­lotte con­tin­ued.

He has won 46 ca­reer Xfin­ity Se­ries races, but re­mains win­less at Char­lotte.

“I just can’t seem to get to vic­tory lane here,” said Har­vick, who will start on the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sun­day.

Austin Dil­lon fin­ished third, and Christo­pher Bell fourth in his Xfin­ity Se­ries race de­but.

Blaney led the mid­dle por­tion of the race and cap­tured Stage 2. But he got boxed in on pit road with 26 laps re­main­ing and Har­vick took over the lead.

“I was pretty up­set I didn’t get into my box well and didn’t do a good job of get­ting an­gled out,” Blaney said.

Sud­denly, it ap­peared to be Har­vick’s race to lose.

His drought at Char­lotte might have ended had Dar­rell Wal­lace Jr. not hit the out­side wall with six laps to go, bring­ing out the 12th cau­tion of the race and forc­ing a third restart in the fi­nal 30 laps.

Har­vick, who was lead­ing at the time, chose to start on the top row on the restart rather than the bot­tom. He feared that Brad Ke­selowski, who was on the bot­tom side of the sec­ond row, would help push Blaney to the fin­ish line.

“If you get the 22 (Ke­selowski) and the 12 (Blaney) you might get beat worse,” Har­vick said.

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