Eighteen-year-old NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney made NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history Saturday night when he took the checkered flag to win the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The win was not only the driver’s first in NASCAR national level competition and the first for Brad Keselowski Racing, it also broke the series age record, making him the youngest winner ever in the series that got its start in 1995. The previous record was held by current Sprint Cup driver and Truck and Nationwide series team owner Kyle Busch. Busch won his first Truck Series race at age 20.
“This is pretty incredible,” Blaney said in victory lane.
Blaney ran near the front for most of the 200-lap event that was dominated in its early stages by Parker Kligerman, who just happens to be the former driver of the No. 29 entry for BKR that Blaney now drives on a part-time basis. Kligerman now pilots the No. 7 at Red Horse Racing.
Pit strategies varied up and down pit road throughout the race, once the yellow flag waved on lap 35. Kligerman, who led most of the opening laps, pitted during that caution and remained out front by staying out through the later cautions of the race. As a result, he ended up having to pit under green on lap 139.
Late in the race, Blaney, who pitted later than Kligerman’s initial stop, was able to stay out longer and pitted for the last time under yellow with the few other trucks that were left on the lead lap after most of the field had recently pitted under green. Blaney was able to restart the race with the lead and maintained the top spot for the remainder of the race, despite three additional late-race cautions and resulting restarts.
“Ryan did a great job all night,” crew chief Doug Randolph said. “It was a pleasure to watch him.”
Randolph will get that pleasure again on Friday night, as Blaney will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 29 when the Camping World Truck Series heads to Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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