Blaney dove into this incident during a special sitdown with his fellow NASCAR Next alumni, as well as FOX Sports’ Kaitlyn Vincie and NASCAR Media’s Mamba Smith. The assembled group — Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez, Corey LaJoie, Brandon McReynolds, and Blaney — talked about a variety of topics, but the conversation inevitably turned to questions of whether the net was actually secure.
Suarez actually started the back-and-forth. Blaney faced a question about a highlight from the 2022 season, but the Trackhouse Racing driver jumped in and said, “the window net.” This led to Blaney explaining how his arm was “still sore” from trying to get it back in place.
“Talk about panic city,” Blaney said. “Can’t get it. I mean, you’re not going to get the net. Dude, I’m talking full belts undone, on the seat, trying to get this thing. So they ran four or five laps under caution, and I’m thinking, ‘They’re waiting on me. I’m trying so hard!’
“And it pissed me off so much more what they threw the caution for [Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hitting the wall] because it was not.. it didn’t need the yellow. So I was like, ‘I ain’t going to get it.’ So I took it out of the back loop and just latched the top, latched the belt buckle, and just let it hang.”
The Window Net Became a Major Talking Point
The end of the All-Star Race created numerous conversations, especially with the late caution. Denny Hamlin talked about how there shouldn’t have been a caution at the end of the All-Star Race. He then added that the officials let Blaney break a rule to make up for it.
“[NASCAR] is gonna gladly let you debate the window net so as you don’t reflect on how ridiculous that yellow flag situation was as Blaney was crossing the finish line to win,” Dale Earnhardt added on Twitter.
While the conversations were more serious in tone in the immediate aftermath of the All-Star Race, they took a joking turn during the NASCAR Next reunion. Kyle Larson joked about how the nets require two people to fasten them while Corey LaJoie pantomimed using a wrench to fasten the net.
“It was like 63-year-old man ‘good enough to do it’ up,” Blaney said, which brought the conversation to a halt momentarily as his fellow drivers processed the joke.
As Wallace Said, Blaney ‘Already Got the F****** Money’
The window net wasn’t exactly secure, to the point that it hit Blaney in the helmet as he took the checkered flag for the final time. However, there is nothing that NASCAR can do about it now. As Bubba Wallace told Blaney, ‘You’ve already got the f****** money’ for the win.
Along with the check, Blaney also has the perks that come with an All-Star Race. Chief among them is a secure spot in future events regardless of whether he wins a points-paying race during the season.
Blaney and Team Penske can now prepare for future All-Star Races, starting with the trip to North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2023. They will join other drivers and teams at the historic short track for what will be the most intriguing All-Star Race in several years. They will just try to win without anything else becoming the dominant storyline.