The Latest: Blaney wins opening stage of NASCAR Cup race

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Latest on the NASCAR Cup Series race near Phoenix (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Ryan Blaney has won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway, leading the early laps from the pole before regaining the lead when Brad Keselowski caused a caution.

It was the second stage win of the season for Blaney, who is trying to give Team Penske its third straight victory in the series. Joey Logano won last week and Brad Keselowski two weeks ago.

Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.

Chase Elliott rallied to ninth by the end of the stage after getting slapped with a pass-through penalty by edging Blaney at the start-finish line at the beginning of the race.


12:45 p.m.

Ryan Blaney is trying to continue Roger Penske"s dominance of the NASCAR Cup Series from the pole Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Chase Elliott is starting alongside him in the first row as his Hendrick Motorsports team tries to get on track this season, while Kyle Busch is going for the weekend sweep after his Xfinity win.

This is the first trial of the series" new package at a mile-long track. The additional 750 horsepower combined with more downforce has created more speed, but it has also made passing difficult and that could mean restarts are crucial.

Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson is among those starting midway through the field, while Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell are near the back after their qualifying fight Friday.


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