With the grand prize of $1 million on the line, NASCAR‘s top drivers took to the track at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Sunday night to battle it out. While the motorsport held its All-Star Open earlier Sunday to secure the final spots in the main event’s field, 24 racers then competed at the highest level in the All-Star Race to cap the weekend.
On a beautiful night, Ryan Blaney was able to drive his No. 12 Team Penske Ford to Victory Lane and add $1 million to his bank account as a result. It marked his first win in NASCAR’s annual event, and his first victory of the 2022 Cup Series season. Although Blaney would’ve liked to have earned some points for his win, he’ll be just fine with $1 million.
Kyle Busch – who started on the pole – was the leader after 10 laps in Stage 1, with Blaney close behind him. While the two drivers remained tight throughout the final laps of the set, Busch was ultimately able to come away with the opening stage win to start the night. We all know that Busch consistently starts out hot, and that’s exactly what he did Sunday.
Early into Stage 2, Kyle Larson jumped into the No. 2 spot while Blaney got loose and dropped a significant number of spots – back to sixth, to be exact. However, Larson was soon dealt with some trouble – as he blew a right front tire and smacked the wall. Although it ended his race, Larson said, “It was big, but I am fine.” That was good to hear.
Following a lengthy caution, the action continued with Ross Chastain battling with Busch for the top spot – and he even took the lead for a moment. Unfortunately, just moments after, Busch’s car spun out, which led to Chastain running right into him and Chase Elliott also making contact with the pile-up. After the red flag, the stage finally wrapped-up with Austin Cindric taking the checkered flag in an overtime.
It Was Anyone’s Race to Win Following Wrecks
With multiple top-tier drivers knocked out of the race due to car damages, the All-Star Race suddenly became anyone’s to win.
For Ryan Blaney, his car was running perfectly throughout Stage 3 – and most of the race’s attention had shifted to him. Christopher Bell, William Byron and Daniel Suarez were all just behind Blaney throughout the stage, but he was able to hold them off and take the victory into the final set.
As the fourth and final stage began with Austin Cindric, Blaney and Joey Logano – all Team Penske drivers – in the top three spots, the 50-lap shootout didn’t disappoint. While Blaney was leading 15 laps into Stage 4, he was still in front when the seventh caution of the race came in with 27 laps to go.
From there, Blaney led with 18 laps left while Cindric and Denny Hamlin were sitting at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Although a caution flag thrown on the final lap delayed Blaney’s win, he was still able to come out on top with a big payday.