NASCAR Comes to Iowa, and Defending Champion Ryan Blaney Wins

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Defending Champ Ryan Blaney Wins IowaJonathan Bachman - Getty Images

It means a lot to fans that NASCAR finally brought their top series back to Iowa. NASCAR coming to the Midwest is a key moment in American racing. Finally, 76 years after NASCAR's beginning and after many years run at the lower levels, the NASCAR Cup series has its first winner at Iowa Speedway with Ryan Blaney on Sunday Night.

It means a lot for Blaney to do a burnout, which he did in front of at least 80 friends and family who traveled to see him in the Hawkeye State. In the past, he's explained that he thinks using a vehicle like that is akin to beating the shit out of a Kentucky Derby–winning horse.

Blaney won at Iowa in Trucks and Xfinity before winning in the first-ever Cup Series race.


Blaney, while he was never truly able to compete in sprint-car racing, comes over to stock cars from Midwest sprint-car racing. His father, Dave, before his NASCAR career, was a prominent sprint-car racer from the Midwest and his brother Dale even moreso. He did not wish this fate on his son Ryan.

So the young Blaney became a great stock-car racer, winning his first NASCAR championship in 2023.

"What a cool way to win here; this place means a lot to me," Blaney told NBC Sports. "It means a lot to my mom. I have a lot of people here tonight. I really appreciate it."

Last year, Blaney became the first driver to win a championship without winning the final race, and that might've stuck with him.

Blaney has had less than luck throughout the 2024 NASCAR Cup Season, crashing in most of his almost wins.

With this win, Blaney locked his way into the playoffs with the likes of Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Daniel Suarez. Six more spots remain.

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