LONG POND, Pa. – Ryan Blaney was the last man standing after three wild late-race restarts Saturday at Pocono Raceway, claiming his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory during the Pocono Mountains 125.
Blaney, who had the fastest truck during the opening 25-lap run of Saturday’s race, found himself in third behind Todd Bodine and Miguel Paludo when a caution flag waved on lap 42 for debris.
The field returned to racing on lap 47 and the action immediately got intense. Bodine, who took the outside for the restart, suddenly found himself racing four-wide with Blaney, Paludo and Germain Quiroga for the race lead.
Entering turn one Blaney managed to clear the other three drivers to take the lead, with Quiroga blending into second ahead of Paludo. Behind them Bodine slipped out of the groove and began to fade, but as he tried to blend back into traffic he made contact with James Buescher and spun at the exit of turn one, bringing out another caution flag.
Bodine’s spin set up a green-white-checkered restart. Blaney, like Bodine, chose the outside line and it nearly bit him. With a big push from third-place Paludo, Quiroga was able to take the lead entering turn one after the restart.
Quiroga was beginning to pull away from the battle for second when Johnny Sauter and Ty Dillon crashed down the backstretch between turns one and two, forcing NASCAR to wave the caution flag and set up another green-white-checkered restart.
Quiroga opted to restart the race on the low side, but when the green flag waved third-place Paludo muscled his way below him in an attempt to take the lead. While that was going on Blaney used a run on the high side to beat both men into turn one and take the lead.
Once out front Blaney’s Ford was uncatchable, holding off Paludo by .271 of a second to score his first victory of 2013.
“These Ford motors really gave us the pull we needed on restarts and that is what it came down to,” said Blaney. “It is hard to stay in front if you’re the leader. You’re kind of just a sitting duck because everyone lays back.
“I was fortunate enough to get a good restart at the end. That 32 (Paludo) took the 77 (Quiroga) three wide and slowed him down a little bit.”
The victory was the first for Ford in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since Colin Braun won at Michigain Int’l Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., in 2009.
Paludo finished second, a career-best for the native of Nova Prata, Brazil.
“I had a shot on the last restart and unfortunately couldn’t get clear. The 29 got a good run. Congrats to those guys,” Paludo said.
Quiroga finished third, followed by defending race winner Joey Coulter and Ross Chastain.