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Ryan Blaney takes checkered flag to win NASCAR Xfinity Series race

Three Xfinity Series races, three different drivers and three consecutive wins for the No. 22 car.

Ryan Blaney became the third different Cup Series regular in a row to win an Xfinity race in the Team Penske Ford. He was the pole sitter and led 132 of 200 laps on an unseasonably chilly Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

“You never want to be the person who breaks the streak of wins, especially when a car’s been so fast,” Blaney said. “There was that reminder in the back of my head to try to get this one.”

Especially from the drivers that won the previous two before the Xfinity Series had a two-week break. Joey Logano won in the No. 22 car at California, a week after Brad Keselowski went to Victory Lane in Phoenix.

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“Brad and Joey, they definitely reminded me that this week,” Blaney said.

Joe Gibbs Racing is the only other team in the series to win three straight races with the same car and different drivers. Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin won consecutive races in their team’s No. 20 Toyota in 2008. That car actually made it four victories in a row when Stewart won again.

Christopher Bell finished 2.327 seconds behind Blaney in second place. Bell led twice for 10 laps, but isn’t sure if a pit penalty that put him at the tail end on a restart after a caution had a big impact on his outcome.

“I don’t know. There’s been a lot of people that have run second to the 22 here recently, so they obviously have something figured out,” Bell said. “It doesn’t matter who’s driving that thing, it goes really fast.”

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It was the seventh career Xfinity victory for Blaney, who qualified fourth for Sunday’s Cup Series race at the 1{-mile Texas track.

Blaney had finished in the top eight in each of his first five Xfinity starts at Texas, where he was a three-time runner-up — including both races last year.


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