“Apologized to Some Fans” – Ryan Blaney Declares He Has No Sympathy for Kevin Harvick as Post-Race Conundrums Ruin the Legend’s Final Run

Published 10/02/2023, 4:19 PM EDT

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In a thunderous explosion of speed and metal at the iconic Talladega Superspeedway, Ryan Blaney seized victory by the scruff, leaving Kevin Harvick, the veteran NASCAR sorcerer, trailing in his wake during the YellaWood 500. It wasn’t just a race; it was a gladiatorial battle with engines roaring louder than lions. A gritty Blaney crushed his way to the front, sidelining the emotions for Happy Harvick‘s farewell run. 

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A major talking point of the Cup race? The late-race drama. As Blaney and Harvick jostled side by side, a dramatic wreck unfolded behind them, prompting NASCAR to wave the red flag, halting action and setting the stage for a climactic finish. The crash left debris scattered and even damaged the SAFER barrier. When the dust settled, and engines roared back to life, it was a showdown of strategy.

Ryan Blaney gives a sharp response amidst the farewell talks for Kevin Harvick

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Ryan Blaney darted past Kevin Harvick by just 0.012 seconds to snatch the YellaWood 500 victory, stamping his ticket into the playoff Round of 8 and leaving Harvick winless in his farewell season. With two laps to go, Blaney masterfully executed a crossover move, nudging ahead of Harvick. In what can only be described as an adrenaline-pumped drag race, neither driver let up as chaos unfurled behind them.

During the post-race interview, the Team Penske driver was asked, “I know this isn’t going to change how you did things over the last couple of laps, but as you’re racing Harvick, in your mind, are you at all like this is his last time here, this could be his last shot at a victory? Are any of those things going through your mind at all?”

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To this, Blaney responded, “No, no. He is another competitor at that point. I mean, that’s really the only thing you’re thinking about. So, yeah, another race. It was super fun to race with him, drag it out to the end down the front stretch with him.

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“I apologized to some fans who had his shirt on after the race I saw on victory lane. Sorry, I beat your guy. Just another competitor at that point.”

Watch This Story: Denny Hamlin Blames Tony Stewart for Letting Down Slowest Kevin Harvick

This race had more twists than a pretzel. Kevin Harvick, the legendary Stewart-Haas Racing driver, looking for that one final glorious win in his last full-time season, seemed to have it in the bag. But Talladega is a track of unpredictability. Blaney, who received a boost from Riley Herbst, as he edged past Harvick and held him off in a photo-finish race for the ages. But this year’s YellaWood 500 wasn’t just about the Blaney-Harvick showdown.

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William Byron, Denny Hamlin, and Corey LaJoie make it as the race highlights  

The NASCAR Cup Series witnessed 70 lead changes and a staggering 24 different leaders. And let’s not forget the track’s rich history. Since its inauguration in 1969, Talladega Superspeedway has been the ultimate litmus test for racers, separating the best from the rest. This year’s race only fortified that legacy.

Zooming out from the last-lap showdown, there were other notable performances. William Byron stood out, securing his position in the Round of 8 even before the race and finishing third. Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin showcased his racing acumen, clawing his way back from a lap down to finish fourth. And a hat tip to Corey LaJoie, finishing fifth, proving that playoffs or not, every racer is there to make a mark.

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The next race at the Charlotte Roval awaits with bated breath, promising more electrifying action and possibly more breakthrough performances. Will it unleash new paradigms of racing excellence, revealing unseen dimensions of racing craftsmanship? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:

Brahmi Dhaytadak

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Brahmi Dhaytadak is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. She combines her love for F1, Tennis, and NASCAR into electrifying prose that sets the hearts of her readers racing. Whether it was the finesse of Charles Leclerc's maneuvers around Monaco or the artistry of Roger Federer's racket, everything inspired Brahmi to venture into the field of sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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