Ryan Blaney, 18, sets truck series youth mark with Iowa win

16 Sep 2012 NASCAR Wire Service
945 times

Ryan Blaney, 18, withstood a series of late-race restarts to become the youngest winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, prevailing in Saturday night's American Ethanol 200 Presented by Hy-Vee at Iowa Speedway.

Blaney, making just his third truck series start, held off a final charge by Ty Dillon, who snared the points lead with a runner-up finish. The youngster, who drove a Brad Keselowski-owned truck to Ram's first win in the series since 2008, celebrated in Victory Lane with his father, Sprint Cup series driver Dave Blaney.

"This is pretty incredible," said the younger Blaney. ". . . It's unbelievable -- hopefully, we can get us a few more here."

Said Dave Blaney: "He does so good and catches on so quick. It's fun to watch."

The 20-year-old Dillon, who closed to finish .168 seconds behind Blaney at the checkered flag, lauded the teenager's poise in the frantic final stretch.

"I wanted it bad there at the end," Dillon said. "We were coming, but Ryan Blaney, he's an amazing driver. I'm glad we didn't have to race against him all year this year. He's a great guy and he really deserves this."

Todd Bodine, who also praised the younger Blaney as "a chip off the old block," finished third for his first top-five finish since his victory at Dover International Speedway on June 1. Johnny Sauter and Cale Gale completed the top five.

Dillon started the night third in the standings, but capitalized on rough nights by his closest rivals. Timothy Peters, who won the truck series' first event of the season at Iowa in July, fell from the points lead after a crash in the 34th lap. Peters squeezed Matt Crafton on the exit of turn four, forcing both trucks into the wall.

Peters remained on the lead lap despite several stops for repairs, but faded further after a late stop to replace a faulty battery and cool an overheating engine. He salvaged a 19th-place finish, two laps down.

James Buescher was in line to snatch the points lead from Peters until his spin with six laps to go brought out the last of nine caution periods. He finished 17th, one lap off the pace.

The standings shuffle put Dillon atop the heap by eight points over Peters with Buescher 11 points off the top.

First-time pole starter Parker Kligerman led 107 of the 200 laps, but was bitten by pit strategy that forced him to stop for service during the race's longest green-flag stretch. Kligerman rallied to as high as fourth place in the running order before spinning with 21 laps left. He wound up 23rd, three laps down.


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