It's Redemption for Ryan Blaney at NASCAR Iowa Corn 350

nascar cup series iowa corn 350
NASCAR at Iowa Proves to Be Redemption for BlaneyJonathan Bachman - Getty Images
  • It was a frustrating Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway for several drivers, including Michael McDowell who had to pit on two separate occasions with a flat tire.

  • The issues the drivers experienced were due to the short track being partially repaved in the turns.

  • The race was the first NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

Two weeks after running out of fuel on the final lap of the NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, Ryan Blaney gained redemption Sunday night at Iowa Speedway, claiming his first victory this season by avoiding various issues that plagued his fellow competitors.


Several drivers experienced tire issues during the inaugural Cup event at the seven-eighths-mile track, but runner-up William Byron cited the restarts as a problem for him.

“With scuffed tires or new tires, you’re sliding around for a lap,” said Byron, who finished 0.716-second behind Blaney. “Pretty hairy on the restarts just trying to get grip in the car.”

Sill, it was Byron’s best finish since his Martinsville victory in April.

Third-place finisher Chase Elliott, who possesses a 9.1 average finish this season, said the event was “actually a much better race that I was anticipating it being with the repave.”

However, it was a frustrating Iowa Corn 350 for several drivers. Michael McDowell had to pit on two separate occasions with a flat tire. Chris Buescher had a right-front tire issue that sent him into the wall on lap 260 of the 350-lap race while running in the top 10. A.J. Allmendinger had a tire issue 54 laps into the event, just a day after hitting the wall after a tire went down during Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

“I told my team the lap prior, two laps prior, that I thought we were going to blow a right-front,” Allmendinger said. “The angle was a lot better, so I got it slowed down enough that I didn’t feel anything inside the car.

nascar cup series iowa corn 350 practice
Christopher Bell says there’s still work to be done on the Iowa Speedway surface.Sean Gardner - Getty Images

“I think these tires give you at least a warning sign. I could feel it getting really tight. Yesterday (Saturday Xfinity race), there was no warning sign to it, so it was a shock. Today (Sunday), I kind of felt it coming when it blew. It kind of turned off into the corner, so I could definitely check up enough. The angle was just way better.”

Other drivers having tire issues included Zane Smith, Ross Chastain, Erik Jones and Kyle Busch. When Blaney pitted on lap 172 his right-front tire was cording. Kyle Larson’s crew discovered the same issue with his right-front tire when he pitted on lap 175.

The issues the drivers experienced were due to the short track being partially repaved in the turns.

“They definitely need to repave the rest of the corners,” Bell said after finishing fourth. “If they don’t want to do the straightaways, that’s fine, but they need to do the entire corners. I’m hopeful that they do it tomorrow or next week. Then we have a full year to sit on it before we come back. The longer that it sits, the better it’s going to get. If we’d had a Cup race on the old Iowa, it would have been a barnburner.”

Blaney, who won a NASCAR Xfinity race at Iowa Speedway in 2015, led four times for 201 laps in the 350-lap race. It was the most laps led by Blaney in a race and his 11th career victory secured him a position in the playoffs. With his mother a native Iowan, Blaney had about 80 relatives and friends in attendance.

nascar cup series iowa corn 350 practice
Kyle Busch took a shot at parts suppliers on Sunday at Iowa.James Gilbert - Getty Images

Kyle Busch Slams Vendor Parts

Kyle Bush appeared headed for a top-10 finish when suddenly with 80 laps remaining in the Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway, he pitted for what he thought was a problem with a left-rear tire. However, five laps later crew chief Randall Burnett told Busch to take his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the garage.

Busch returned to the race, 14 laps down, but it was short lived and with 61 laps remaining he returned to the garage.

“Next Gen parts and pieces broke. Something in the left-rear suspension,” said Busch, who was relegated to a 35th-place finish. “I don’t know if it was a toe link or what it was, but it changed the skew of the back of the car and it was just undrivable. We came in and fixed it.

“We rolled back out and broke the power steering belt off. Frustrating for sure.”

nascar cup series iowa corn 350
Christopher Bell too a car last raced in 2023 to fourth place in Iowa.Jonathan Bachman - Getty Images

Bell Secures 4th-Place Finish with Backup Car

Christopher Bell maneuvered his way from the rear of the field to a fourth-place finish in a backup car last driven by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. in 2023.

Bell crashed his primary car on Friday during practice after a flat tire sent him careening into the wall. His crew worked on the backup car until 10:30 p.m. on Friday. They returned to their hotel, acquired four hours of sleep, and were back up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday so they could arrive at Iowa Speedway by 6 a.m. to finish working on the backup car.

Bell led once for seven laps enroute to his fourth straight top-10 finish.

nascar cup series iowa corn 350
Daniel Suarez was competitive at Iowa.Jonathan Bachman - Getty Images

Stenhouse, Suarez Snare Best Finishes Since April

For Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez, Sunday night’s Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway provided the Chevrolet drivers with the boost their season needed.

It was the first time the two competitors had finished in the top 10 since April. In that month, Suarez produced a fifth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway while Stenhouse recorded a fourth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.

At the seven-eighths-mile Iowa Speedway, both men led once for four laps. Stenhouse went on to finish fifth, and Suarez crossed the line in ninth.

Stenhouse, who won three NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Iowa Speedway 2011-2012, said his JTG Daugherty Chevrolet was “pretty loose” with old left-side tires.

“It was the first time I’d been loose all race,” Stenhouse said. “I felt like on those long runs there were some things that kind of came back to me from like 12 years ago when I ran here, and I started kind of smiling a little bit. I was having a little bit of fun.”

Suarez said the track raced “exactly how I thought it was going to.”

“It was a three-lane race track,” Suarez said. “People were able to pass, which is good. I’m pretty happy with the product that NASCAR brought.”

NASCAR Iowa Corn 350 Powered by Ethanol

Cup Series Race

Newton, Iowa

1. (2) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 350.

2. (4) William Byron, Chevrolet, 350.

3. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 350.

4. (10) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 350.

5. (35) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 350.

6. (11) Joey Logano, Ford, 350.

7. (3) Josh Berry #, Ford, 350.

8. (33) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 350.

9. (13) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 350.

10. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 350.

11. (17) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 350.

12. (14) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 350.

13. (19) Justin Haley, Ford, 350.

14. (20) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 350.

15. (31) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 349.

16. (23) Noah Gragson, Ford, 349.

17. (16) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 349.

18. (15) Chris Buescher, Ford, 349.

19. (36) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 349.

20. (25) Harrison Burton, Ford, 349.

21. (24) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 349.

22. (8) Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 349.

23. (22) Michael McDowell, Ford, 349.

24. (12) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 348.

25. (27) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 348.

26. (34) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 348.

27. (29) Ryan Preece, Ford, 348.

28. (6) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 348.

29. (30) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 348.

30. (21) Austin Cindric, Ford, 347.

31. (26) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 347.

32. (32) Erik Jones, Toyota, 347.

33. (28) Kaz Grala #, Ford, 345.

34. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 314.

35. (7) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, Water Pump, 272.

36. (18) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 54.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 102.874 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 58 Mins, 37 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.716 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 49 laps.

Lead Changes: 17 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Larson 1;R. Blaney 2-9;K. Larson 10-54;D. Suarez 55-58;K. Larson 59-60;R. Blaney 61-77;K. Larson 78-83;R. Blaney 84-171;C. Elliott 172;C. Bell 173-179;B. Keselowski 180-184;R. Stenhouse Jr. 185-188;K. Larson 189-214;C. Buescher 215-227;J. Berry # 228;C. Buescher 229-231;J. Berry # 232-262;R. Blaney 263-350.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ryan Blaney 4 times for 201 laps; Kyle Larson 5 times for 80 laps; Josh Berry # 2 times for 32 laps; Chris Buescher 2 times for 16 laps; Christopher Bell 1 time for 7 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 5 laps; Daniel Suarez 1 time for 4 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 4 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 12,5,99,24,4,22,7,6,9,8

Stage #2 Top Ten: 5,4,9,12,23,11,17,38,6,51