The Playoff spherical of eight concluded at Martinsville with an uncommon 168-lap inexperienced flag run following a spin by Michael McDowell.
Enjoying it secure, Group Penske Ford driver Blaney and several other different lead-lap vehicles waited to make their closing pit cease nicely inside their gasoline window whereas Almirola (Stewart-Haas Ford) and Chase Elliott had been amongst those that pitted earlier hoping for a number of late-race cautions.
However they had been to be disenchanted as Blaney – on more energizing tyres – ran down Almirola with 22 of 500 laps to go and cleared him for the lead exiting Flip 4.
Having earlier overwhelmed Denny Hamlin to the Stage 2 win, Blaney held off Almirola by 0.889 seconds on the end to safe the crucial victory which mechanically advances him to the ultimate 4 of the playoffs.
Blaney will face off for his first Cup title, and the second in a row for Roger Penske’s workforce after Joey Logano took the honour in 2022, in opposition to Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Toyota) and Hendrick Chevrolet drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron.
The third victory of 2023 for Blaney was his second of the Playoffs, after he won the Talladega Round of 12 race in a photo finish.
“I felt like we put collectively actually robust playoffs, particularly the Spherical of 8,” he mentioned. “We had run in the entire Spherical of 8. Simply general actually happy with the entire effort.
“RP couldn’t be right here, sadly, however I do know he was watching. That is superior. Can’t wait to get to Phoenix subsequent week.”
Picture by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images
Race winner Ryan Blaney, Group Penske, Ford Mustang
Almirola, who on Saturday confirmed he won’t return for one more full-time season in Cup subsequent yr with SHR, completed second in his finest results of the yr.
After profitable the opening stage, JGR’s Hamlin completed third and missed out on the Championship 4 for the second consecutive season. Chase Briscoe was fourth and Logano rounded out the highest 5.
Larson and Bell, who had already assured their locations within the Championship 4 with victories at Las Vegas and Homestead respectively, secured sixth and seventh spots as the highest 10 was accomplished by Spherical of 8 outsider Chris Buescher, Austin Cindric and Todd Gilliland.
Byron completed thirteenth however progresses to the Championship 4 on factors, whereas Tyler Reddick and Brad Keselowski had been additionally eradicated from title rivalry.