Champion Ryan Blaney is the first Cup winner in Iowa

The 17th NASCAR Cup race of the regular season at Iowa Speedway was won by Ryan Blaney in the Penske-Ford. It was the first win of the season for the reigning champion in his debut race at the short track near Newton Airport.

Blaney took his eleventh career victory in the third night race of the current season after 350 total laps and 201 laps in the lead. The Penske driver had never led a race so often.

Pole setter Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports) at the start
Polesetter Kyle Larson (#5) wins the start ahead of Ryan Blaney (#12), Photo: Getty Images / NASCAR

Stage 1: Blaney wins duel with Larson

The first Cup pole on the speedway was taken by Kyle Larson in the Hendrick Chevrolet. It was already his fourth pole award in 2024 after only one weather-related segment on Saturday. Pole setter Larson and Blaney, who had started from second position, immediately engaged in a lap-long duel for the lead. After a bump, Blaney took the lead before the first of a total of eight yellow phases caused an early interruption.

Larson won the restart, but Blaney regained first place ten laps before the end of the first stage. After 70 laps, Blaney won a stage for the second time this year, ahead of Larson and Daniel Suarez in the TrackHouse Chevrolet. Gibbs Toyota driver Denny Hamlin had a terrible race. The championship leader started from twelfth place, worked his way up to seventh place, until suddenly nothing was working anymore and he finished the stage in 34th place, laps behind.

Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) leads ahead of Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports)
Ryan Blaney (#12) wins the 1st stage ahead of Kyle Larson (#5), Photo: Getty Images / NASCAR

Stage 2: Larson before starting Rookie Berry

The duel between Larson and Blaney continued. Then Larson made a surprise pit stop under yellow. He suspected a puncture, which was the downfall of many drivers that evening. With fresh tires, Larson was quickly able to get back into the top 10. After 210 laps, Larson won a stage for the eighth time ahead of the very strong rookie Josh Berry in the Stewart-Haas-Ford and Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott.

Rookie Josh Berry (#4 Stewart-Haas Racing) leads the race
Josh Berry (#4) leads the race, Photo: LAT Images

Stage 3/Finish: Victory for Blaney, drama for Larson and Hamlin

After the restart, there was one of many situations with three cars fighting side by side for every position. This was also the case on lap 221, when Larson pushed forward in a sandwich between RKF driver Brad Keselowski in the Ford and Suarez. Suarez touched Larson, who spun and was hit full on by Hamlin. Hamlin had no chance to avoid him. This ended Larson’s chance of winning and Hamlin’s chase was also over. They finished the race with slow cars in 34th and 24th place.

The decisive third race segment over 140 laps brought the different pit stop strategies together again. Rookie Berry overtook leader Chris Buescher in the RFK Ford on lap 227. Berry was able to build up a lead of almost three seconds within 32 laps. Then Buescher flew off. After the eighth caution, Blaney took control again and took the long-overdue first win of the season.

Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) celebrates his first win of the season in Victory Lane
Ryan Blaney (#12 Team Penske) celebrates in Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway, Photo: LAT Images

Gallery: All pictures from Iowa Speedway

Statistics for the 17th race of the season (Regular Season)

Laps & race duration:
350 (Stages: 70/140/140) laps (306.25 miles), 2:58:37 hours
Winner:
(1st win in 2024, 1st Iowa win, 11th career win)
Best driver with the most points:
Ryan Blaney, 57 (10/7/40) points
Stage wins (2024):
Stage 1: Ryan Blaney (2)
Top 10: #12, 5, 99, 24, 4, 22, 7, 6, 9, 8
Stage 2: Kyle Larson (8)
Top 10: #5, 4, 9, 12, 23, 11, 17, 38, 6, 51
Stage 3/Goal: Ryan Blaney (1st win 2024)
Top 10: #12, 24, 9, 20, 47, 22, 4, 48, 99, 6

NASCAR Cup standings
TOP 20 (after race 17/36)

Regular Season 2024
(with all bonus points & penalties)
—–
all winners (races 1-26):
1. (1) Kyle Larson, 583 points (3 wins)
2. (2) Denny Hamlin, 553 points (3 wins)
3. (3) William Byron, 537 points (3 wins)
4. (4) Christopher Bell, 498 points (2 wins)
5. (5) Chase Elliott, 591 points (1 win)
6. (6) Tyler Reddick, 527 points (1 win)
7. (14) Ryan Blaney, 501 points (1 win)
8. (7) Brad Keselowski, 498 points (1 win)
9. (9) Daniel Suarez, 352 points (1 win)
10. (8) Austin Cindric, 327 points (1 win)
—–
Total points (without win):
11. (10) Martin Truex Jr., 530 points
12. (12) Ross Chastain, 479 points
13. (11) Ty Gibbs, 478 points
14. (13) Alex Bowman, 474 points
15. (15) Chris Buescher, 435 points
16. (16) Bubba Wallace, 414 points
—–
On the bubble:
17. (18) Joey Logano, 408 points
18. (17) Kyle Busch, 383 points
19. (19) Chase Briscoe, 370 points
20. (21) Todd Gilliland, 317 points
The first 16 drivers are qualified for the PLAYOFFS

Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) celebrates his first win of the season
Donats from winner Ryan Blaney (#12) at his successful Iowa debut, Photo: Getty Images / NASCAR

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