Aug 31, 2014, 4:09 PM EDT
A thrilling, last-lap battle between Ryan Blaney and German Quiroga in today’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park ended with Blaney taking the checkered flag by a mere .050 of a second.
Quiroga had stalked Blaney for the lead since the final restart with 8 laps to go, and on the last run around the 2.45-mile road course, Quiroga drafted Blaney down the back straightaway and went side-by-side with him into the right-hand Turn 8.
Going into the left-hand Turn 9, Quiroga then took the lead on the inside. But as they drove into the final right-hand Turn 10, Blaney crossed over to the inside of Quiroga and then beat him in a drag race to the finish line.
The dramatic conclusion evoked memories of Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon‘s race for the win last year at CTMP. But while that ended with Elliott dumping Dillon at Turn 10 (and Max Papis getting slapped by another driver’s girlfriend), Blaney and Quiroga stayed clean all the way.
“I noticed since that last restart that he’d get huge tows down the back stretch and just get a huge draft,” Blaney told Fox Sports about racing Quiroga. “I had to protect as best I could. He was able to get to my left side, and I didn’t think he could stay out there. But I got really, really loose underneath him there in that corner. The old-school short track racing cross-over move, I guess, worked on him.
“…It’s nice to go out there and race clean with a guy, and put on a great finish for the fans.”
As for Quiroga, he narrowly missed out on his first Truck Series victory. He said that he had fun battling Blaney, but his disappointment over the final outcome was evident.
“They gave me a winning truck, and we came second,” Quiroga said. “It hurts. We’ve come so close, so many times. But we have to keep on trying.”
“The last pass, I really drove it hard in the brake zone and I tried to pass him without wrecking, that’s for sure. We came close. We can’t come any closer on a road course.”
The first 45 laps in the 64-lap event ran without a yellow until John Hunter Nemechek slowed to a stop on track. An extended caution ensued, with the restart coming back out at Lap 52.
But one lap later, Tagliani himself lost control by himself in that same Turn 5-6 “Moss Corner” complex. The drivers behind him scattered, and when he was unable to re-fire the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, the caution came out again.
Tagliani wound up finishing 16th.
“We had a stuck throttle all day, and fortunately, the guys put a little bar for the return throttle and I was able to manage and lift it on my own,” he said. “But when you’re driving, it’s one thing. And when you race other people – I got caught going into Turn 5A and the throttle got hanging. I got in at like, 4000 rpm, and by the time I realized to pull it myself, I touched [Custer] and I’m sorry about that.
“Then [one lap later], I got it to first gear and the engine was revving too high, and I just lost the rear [end].”
Johnny Sauter finished eighth and leaves Canada with his Truck Series points lead intact. He holds a seven-point edge over teammate and defending series champion Matt Crafton, who finished sixth in today’s race.
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