Parks Pit Report: Axalta Presents the Pocono 400

There is nothing sweeter than that first taste of victory. Ryan Blaney got that experience on Sunday.

There’s a first time for everything.  Going on that first date, purchasing that first car, getting that first kiss; these all are first-time experiences for folks in their teens.  Owning that first home, becoming a father or mother for the first time, these are adulthood firsts.

Sports are included here as well, like that first coaching job, scoring that first home run, or basket, or touchdown.  Most treasured are those first championships.

NASCAR sees firsts a lot in its life, such as the first superspeedway, or the first multi-time champion.

But above all else, nothing is more special on a personal level for a driver than experiencing that first win.  There is no feeling that can match the experience of knowing for the first time, one driver beat the entire field to the checkered flag.

To do so for a team that historically has seen some of the best drivers, some being Hall of Fame inductees, pilot their car, it is special.  To see it happen twice to the same team, is extra special.

In 2011, in only his second start ever, Trevor Bayne stunned everyone sitting in the stands of Daytona International Speedway.  The true under dog, not even old enough to drink, somehow found himself in victory lane in the Daytona 500.  Even he couldn’t believe what was happening, keying the radio to blurt out, “Are you kidding me?! What?!”  It was the first time in nearly 15 years that the Wood Brothers team had made it to victory lane, and to do so at Daytona, it was extra special.

When Ryan Blaney signed on to drive for the Wood Brothers a few years ago, it was just sparingly since the team was only part-time due to funding.

But, when Motorcraft and Quick Lane decided to support the decision to go racing for the entire season, Blaney knew he was ready for the task.  The alliance the team has with Penske certainly paid dividends, as Blaney quickly showed despite his youth, he could handle a heavy stock car.

Sunday at Pocono, after already showing he can win during the beginning and middle stages this season, the young man finally decided to win the stage that pays the most points, and the biggest dividends.

Blaney’s first win of his career came 10 years after fellow driver Denny Hamlin scored his first win at the same track, but more importantly showed the young man is championship caliber, and will be doing a lot more winning in years to come.

Historic team, iconic car, young driver; the Wood Brothers are on cloud nine once again.

STAGE 1 WINNER:  Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER:  Kyle Larson

RESULTS:  1-Blaney  2-Harvick  3-Jones  4-Kurt Busch  5-Keselowski  6-Truex Jr.  7-Larson  8-Elliott  9-Kyle Busch  10-Kenseth

NOTABLE FINISHES:  11-Stenhouse Jr.  13-Dillon  14-Newman  23-Logano  36-Johnson  38-Earnhardt Jr.

CAUTIONS:  4 for 18 laps.  Lap 52-56 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 97-99 (#48 Incident-T1 [Red: 23 Mins, 25 Secs.]); 102-105 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 142-147 (#5 Incident-T1).

LEAD CHANGES:  13 among 9 drivers.  Kyle Busch 1-17; E. Jones 18-34; Kyle Busch 35-53; R. Stenhouse Jr. 54-56; E. Jones 57-59; Kyle Busch 60-90; D. Hamlin 91; D. Suarez 92; K. Larson 93-101; Kyle Busch 102-124; M. Truex Jr. 125-129; B. Keselowski 130-140; Kyle Busch 141-150; R. Blaney 151-160.

TIME OF RACE:  2 Hrs, 48 Mins, 40 Secs.


MARGIN OF VICTORY:  0.139 Seconds

POINT STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]):  1. Truex Jr, 584 [18]; 2. Larson, -1 [8]; 3. Harvick, -104 [3]; 4. Kyle Busch, -121 [4]; 5. Keselowski, -130 [12]; 6. Elliott, -146 [2]; 7. Johnson, -163 [15]; 8. McMurray, -166; 9. Hamlin, -198 [2]; 10. Bowyer, -215; 11. Logano, -222 [1]; 12. Blaney, -224 [8]; 13. Kenseth, -225 [1]; 14. Kurt Busch, -253 [5]; 15. Stenhouse Jr, -259 [5]; 16. Newman, -262 [5]; 20. Dillon, -297 [5];

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