Irritated Blaney says it was Byron’s “responsibility to leave room”

Irritated Blaney says it was Byron's "responsibility to leave room"

Looking to gain track position, both Blaney and Bubba Wallace stayed out as long as possible during the first green flag run of the race, which paid off as both ended the first stage in the top 10 thanks to fresher tires.

The move put Blaney – still looking for his first win of the 2024 season – in a strong position to contend for a victory or at least a solid run.

That all disappeared on lap 129 of 293 when Byron – on the bottom lane – ended up in a three-wide situation with Martin Truex Jr. in the middle and Blaney on the outside.

Byron appeared to move up on Truex, who got into Blaney and Blaney’s No. 12 Ford slammed hard into the wall. Truex and Chris Buescher also tagged the wall in the aftermath.

Asked what Byron should have done differently, Blaney was explicit with his answer, “One, don’t shove it three-wide at a place you can’t run three-wide. If he wants to do that, fine, but your responsibility is to leave room. You have to leave room for the top two cars.

“You shoved the bottom of three (wide), you have to leave space and he was off the dotted line until we were already wrecking. He faded up and sandwiched (Truex) into me. We’re as high as we can go.”

Blaney was so exasperated after the incident, he drove off pit road following initial repairs to his car and headed up the track into Turn 1 as if he was going to drive into Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet under caution.

Blaney swerved to the left and avoided a collision and returned to pit road after his team informed him it had exceeded the repair time allowed and his race was over.


“I’m not going to hit him. I’ll save that for another time,” Blaney said of the incident. “I almost did on accident, actually. I got on the apron and the toe link was busted. I almost actually hit him when I didn’t mean to.

“I just wanted to show my displeasure, so we’ll see where it goes. I just wanted to show that I wasn’t happy. After watching the replay, I kind of deserve not to be happy.

“He used up some good track that I thought he didn’t have to use up.”

Blaney ended up credited with a last-place finish (36th) in the race.

“It’s an unfortunate end to our day,” he said. “I thought we could have learned some stuff today that could have helped us for the future and hopefully we can still take from what we learned today and apply it later on.”

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