Ryan Blaney’s win meant a lot to Brad Keselowski.
It was Keselowski who gave Blaney a big opportunity back in 2012, when Blaney had a chance to drive with Keselowski’s team in the Truck Series. Five years later, the 23-year-old Blaney won for the first time in NASCAR’s Cup Series when he prevailed last weekend at Pocono. It was a win that gave Ford a lot to feel good about before this weekend’s always-anticipated race at Michigan — and Keselowski, another Ford driver, clearly enjoyed Blaney’s success.
“I think there’s a lot of moments you have in life that you really don’t prepare for and when it happens it’s just pretty dang awesome,” Keselowski said. “That was a pretty dang awesome moment for me, to see him win and to see one of his dreams come true.”
Keselowski’s own career floundered before he got the chance a decade ago to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the Nationwide Series. He says the support he received from Earnhardt means a lot to him.
“I wouldn’t be where I am at in my career without the help of people that have given me the opportunities, and I’m thankful for them, but I can never really repay them for that. And so what I can do is pay it forward to others and give that same opportunity,” Keselowski said.
Xfinity: Denny Hamlin inched ahead of William Byron on the final turn and nosed out the rookie at the finish line, winning in the closest NASCAR Xfinity race at Michigan International Speedway since the advent of electronic scoring in the series. It was Hamlin’s 16th career Xfinity victory and first in three starts this year, but the 19-year-old Byron made him earn it. Byron led after a restart with two laps remaining, but Hamlin pressured him the rest of the way, and the Cup Series veteran eventually prevailed by 0.012 seconds in his No. 20 Toyota. Elliott Sadler finished third and took over the series lead from Justin Allgaier.