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Ryan Blaney Tops Dover Xfinity Series Race

Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200
Saturday, September 30, 2017

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Ryan Blaney
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Once Ryan Blaney got the lead in Saturday's Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway, it was "game over" in the second NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff race of the season. 

After Playoff driver William Byron led every lap of the 60-circuit first stage and banked a playoff point, Blaney took the lead off pit road under caution on Lap 64. Blaney kept his No. 22 Team Penske Ford out front the rest of the way, except for one lap led by Daniel Suarez on pit road under caution after the conclusion of Stage 2. 

Playoff driver Justin Allgaier charged from fourth to second on the Lap 128 restart that began the final stage, which ran under a green flag to the finish. Though Allgaier was able to hold off Byron, his JR Motorsports teammate, and hold the series lead, he had nothing for Blaney, who finished 4.852 seconds ahead of Allgaier's No. 7 Chevrolet. 

"It's really hard to get a car like that, and, to be honest, we didn't have it in the first run," said Blaney, who will try to advance to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 in Sunday's Apache Warrior 400 (on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET). "We were a little bit off on the first run. We made some great changes after the first stage to get it better to where it needs to be.  

"We actually got it better for the last run… As a driver, that's all you can ask for, great changes throughout. It's awesome to get to Victory Lane with (sponsor) Fitzgerald. This is really cool. We were close the first race this year and just didn't quite get it. Definitely learned a lot for tomorrow."  

The victory was Blaney's sixth in the series, his second this season and his first at the Monster Mile. 

Though he couldn't catch Blaney over the final run, Allgaier also had reason to celebrate as the highest finishing series regular. Heading to Charlotte 54 points above the current cut line for the second round of the XFINITY Playoff, Allgaier is a virtual lock to advance. 

So is Byron, who chased Allgaier for the final 73 green-flag laps but couldn't find a way past his teammate. Byron is 51 points above the cutoff with the Playoff field scheduled to be pared from 12 to eight drivers next Saturday at Charlotte. 

"I was trying to put it in Victory Lane," Allgaier said. "We just needed a little more. I ran high some, low some. There at the end we made a great adjustment, and I was able to run the bottom, where I wanted to run all day. 

"It paid off. Obviously, second place is not quite Victory Lane, but in the points battle we're playing, it's pretty darn close." 

Ryan Blaney beats Justin Allgaier to the finish line at Dover
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
In the battle to survive the Playoff cutoff, Brendan Gaughan gained ground with a 10th-place finish. Facing the elimination race at Charlotte, Gaughan is ninth in points, two behind eighth-place Ryan Reed, who finished a lap down in 16th-place at Dover. 

Playoff drivers Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole and Matt Tifft came home fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, to improve their chances to make the Round of 8. Daniel Suarez ran seventh, joining Blaney as the only non-XFINITY regulars to finish in the top 12. 

Rookie Cole Custer and regular-season champion Elliott Sadler, both well above the current cut line, ran eighth and ninth respectively.  

RACE RESULTS

Pos.#DriverMakeStartLapsLedStatusPointsPlayoff Points
122Ryan BlaneyFord8200136Running00
27Justin AllgaierChevy42000Running5023
39William ByronChevy120062Running5326
421Daniel HemricChevy92000Running389
548Brennan PooleChevy72000Running356
619Matt TifftToyota232000Running314
718Daniel SuarezToyota22002Running00
800Cole CusterFord62000Running367
91Elliott SadlerChevy102000Running3920
1062Brendan GaughanChevy132000Running273
115Michael AnnettChevy162000Running261
124Ross ChastainChevy122000Running250
133Ty DillonChevy112000Running00
1439Ryan SiegChevy211990Running230
1524Corey LajoieToyota141990Running00
1616Ryan ReedFord171980Running215
1714JJ YeleyToyota251980Running200
1898Casey MearsFord181980Running190
1911Blake KochChevy191980Running185
2020Erik JonesToyota31980Running00
2107Ray Black Jr.Chevy271980Running160
2251Jeremy ClementsChevy221980Running155
232Austin DillonChevy261980Running00
2423Spencer GallagherChevy201980Running130
2590Brandon BrownChevy291970Running120
2642Tyler ReddickChevy51970Running200
278BJ McLeodChevy281940Running100
2852Joey GaseChevy351940Running90
290Garrett SmithleyChevy301940Running80
3078Josh BilickiChevy391920Running70
3174Mike HarmonDodge37870Clutch60
3289Morgan ShepherdChevy36430Suspension50
3313Timmy HillChevy38350Overheating40
3438Gray GauldingChevy40310Electrical00
3515Reed SorensonChevy24250Accident00
3640Chad FinchumChevy34250Accident10
3701Harrison RhodesChevy 31170Engine10
3899David StarrChevy3270Accident10
3933Brandon JonesChevy1540Accident10
4093Jeff Green Chevy3340Accident10


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