NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Iowa Corn 350

June 16, 2024

Iowa Corn 350 - Iowa Speedway
Newton, Iowa - June 16, 2024



RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang, finished 30th in Sunday's Iowa Corn 350, the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway. Cindric was forced to start from the rear due to driving a backup car after suffering a blown tire in practice earlier in the weekend. By Lap 30, the Team Penske driver found himself inside the top 25 before making his first visit to pit road on Lap 51 for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted 22nd with 12 laps to go in Stage 1, but ultimately finished 23rd in the opening segment. Having just pitted, the No. 2 team elected to stay out at the Stage break. Well into Stage 2, Cindric reported a vibration and then a right-rear chatter on Lap 148. A few laps later, the Menards/Moen Ford Mustang returned to pit road for service and a big swing of adjustments under green. A tight condition plagued Cindric's car, and when the caution flew on Lap 183, he returned to the attention of the pit crew for tires and an adjustment to free up the car for the short run to the Stage-ending green-and-white checkered flag, in which he crossed the line 22nd. The former NASCAR Xfinity Series champion restarted 22nd with fresh tires for the third and final segment. Under caution with 91 laps remaining, Cindric, in the 20th position, was able to take the wave around to gain a lap back, but lost position over the final stint, finishing 30th in the first-ever Cup Series event at the Newton, Iowa, short track. 

CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "Just a struggle there coming from the back. We made progress early in the No. 2 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang, and we were just kind of on that fringe of lap down, not lap down without track position. Seemed like cycles on tires were a bit of a struggle, but we got ourselves in position and missed out on the lucky dog by a lap or two. So happy for everyone on the No. 12 car, and yeah, unfortunate to have to come from behind."


START: 2ND    

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney led a career-high 201 laps to claim the checkered flag in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway Sunday night, marking his 11th-career Cup Series victory. Blaney becomes the first to win a race at Iowa in all three of NASCAR's top national series while clinching a spot in the playoffs for the eighth-straight season. Blaney began the night battling for the lead with the No. 5 for the entirety of the first 70-lap stage as the 12-team worked to dial in the balance of the Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang. With 10 laps to go in the segment, Blaney carried a run off turn four to make the pass for the lead and kept it out front for the rest of the run to pick up his second stage win of the season.  A long green flag run to open Stage 2 saw Blaney at the point as he managed his tires over the course of the run. With the No. 9 closing in to battle for the lead, crew chief Jonathan Hassler called Blaney to pit road under green on lap 173 for a four tire stop to take them to the end of the stage. A caution on lap 182 in the middle of the green flag pit cycle shuffled the field as Blaney went from 13th to fifth prior to the restart with 22 laps remaining in Stage 2. Blaney battled through traffic with a tight-handling condition and ultimately came away with a fourth-place result in the second segment. Following a four tire stop at the stage break, Blaney lined up 10th before charging his way through the field on the ensuing run, making his way to second in the running order with 100 laps to go. A caution on lap 260 brought the leaders to pit road under yellow when Hassler made the call for right side tires only, allowing Blaney to win the race off pit road and restart from the outside of row one with 84 to go. After getting a good launch, Blaney set sail as he stretched his lead out to over a second with the laps ticking off. He went on to lead the rest of the way to capture his first win of the 2024 season in dominant fashion. 

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "What a cool way to win here. This place means a lot to me and means a lot to my mom. We had a lot of people here tonight cheering us on, so they willed us to that one. Overall, I really appreciate the 12 boys. I mean, our car was really fast all night and we got a little bit better through the night and two tires was a good call there. I didn't know how well I was going to hold on. I started to struggle a little bit at the end, but had enough to hang on. I'm super proud of the effort. I appreciate Advance Auto Parts, Ford, Ford Performance, Menards, Discount Tire, Würth, Snap-On, DEX Imaging, Wabash - everything they do. It makes up a little bit from a couple weeks ago."


START: 11TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano picked up his fifth top-10 finish of the season Sunday night in the Cup Series' inaugural race at Iowa Speedway, coming away with a hard-fought, sixth-place result. Logano fired off from 11th in the 350-lap event and battled inside the top-10 during the opening laps of the night despite reporting changes in the balance over the course of the run. Following a caution on lap 53, Logano restarted from 12th after the 22-team's first four tire stop of the night and made a charge towards the top-five prior to the end of the 70-lap segment, resulting in a sixth-place finish in Stage 1. After staying out during the stage break, Logano restarted from the outside of row three and settled into fourth in the running order. As the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang began to build tight over the long run, crew chief Paul Wolfe called Logano to pit road under green on lap 176 but an untimely caution just six laps later trapped him a lap down. Although Logano was able to take the wave around under caution to rejoin the lead lap, he was mired outside the top-15 for the ensuing restart, resulting in a 17th-place finish in Stage 2. Logano began to make his way up the leaderboard early in the final stage - reaching eighth in the running order by lap 239 - before the final caution flag of the night flew on lap 260 while scored seventh. Wolfe made the call for right side tires only, allowing Logano to pull off pit road second and restart from row one with 84 laps to go. Logano battled for the top spot in the opening laps of the run but ultimately settled into second as he worked to manage his tires to the end before taking the checkered flag sixth.

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "We put ourselves in position there to win the race with the two-tire call. I just didn't re-fire good on two [tires]. I tried to race [Ryan] Blaney and couldn't hold him off and then I just kind of got swallowed up by a couple cars pretty quick. We just didn't have enough fire-off. I think if I could have got out front, I probably would have been OK, but I couldn't get out there."

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the USA Today 301 on Sunday, June 23. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.