Ryan Blaney Wins Cup Series Title as Ford Captures All Three 2023 NASCAR Championships

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney drove Mustang to its second straight NASCAR Cup Series title by winning today’s championship race at Phoenix Raceway, capping a weekend that saw Ford claim all three of NASCAR’s major touring titles for the first time in its history.

 

Blaney got the job done by finishing second in the race, and beating fellow Championship 4 drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron, who ended up right behind in third and fourth, respectively.

 

The race came down to a 31-lap dash to the finish.  Blaney restarted sixth while Larson was third and Byron fifth, but the Team Penske driver passed Byron three laps later and then battled Larson for the next eight circuits before finally getting past him on lap 292 of the 312-lap event.

 

From that point on, he was able to maintain his advantage and finish second to race-winner Ross Chastain.

 

“I didn’t want a caution,” said Blaney after he passed Larson for the championship lead.  “Once I got to the white, I felt pretty good about it, but it’s just about getting there and finishing it off.”

 

For Blaney, it capped off a 10-race playoff season that saw him win twice (Talladega and Martinsville) and finish the last six races with an average finishing position of 4.0.  

 

It was somewhat of an up and down year, but you’re going to have those moments,” said Blaney.  “Through the summer, we just worked really hard to get back to where we needed to be and set a deadline for the playoffs and we met that deadline.  

 

“I was telling everybody all week that having the opportunity to go back-to-back Cup champions for Mr. Penske hasn’t been done,” continued Blaney.  “He hasn’t done that and it’s not very often you get to do something in motorsports that RP hasn’t done because he’s done everything and accomplished everything, so to be able to be a part of this and bring him another championship and be a driver that’s brought him a championship is very special.”

 

The championship is the 11th for Ford in NASCAR’s top series with Blaney becoming the ninth different driver to achieve the feat.

 

We didn’t win as many races as we would have liked to this year, but to win three championships just makes a statement about the team we have at Ford Performance and the partnership and the family that we have racing our cars and trucks on track, so I’m really proud of what everybody has done,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports.  “Things could have gone in any direction, but Ryan was so strong today that he was driving to the front on every run and he was racing hard against everybody.  He certainly earned the championship today.

 

“We’ve increased the emphasis on our program every single year and we were really big at pushing for the Next Gen car back in the early days when it was first being talked about because of the relevance.  That made it even more important for us to be successful with it, so we were working hard, obviously, on the Next Gen car before we were ever racing it, and not just on the body but also making sure we understood what the common chassis was, running it in our simulator, and really understanding what it takes to be successful.”

 

Ben Rhodes kicked off the trio of championships by winning the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night after four overtime restarts, and then Cole Custer followed suit on Saturday as he won his first NASCAR Xfinity Championship in a dramatic overtime finish that saw him go from third to first in the space of one lap.

 

The Ford weekend championship sweep marks the first time a manufacturer has accomplished that feat since 2001, and it’s the sixth time in NASCAR history.

 

FORD’S NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONS

1965 – Ned Jarrett

1968 – David Pearson

1969 – David Pearson

1988 – Bill Elliott

1992 – Alan Kulwicki

1999 – Dale Jarrett

2003 – Matt Kenseth

2004 – Kurt Busch

2018 – Joey Logano

2022 – Joey Logano

2023 – Ryan Blaney

 

Ford Performance PR