Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Iowa Cup results: Ryan Blaney delivers career-best performance

Ryan Blaney has won the inaugural Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway after a career-best performance.

Blaney led a career-high 201 laps at the .875-mile short track, and he held off a hard-charging William Byron on the final run to the checkered flag. He then captured his first win of the season and locked up a playoff spot. Now the reigning champ can defend his title.

Byron crossed the line second. Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Joey Logano, Josh Berry, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10.

MORE: Blaney wins, full Iowa results

A strategy play was critical for Blaney and the No. 12 Team Penske group. The leaders stopped for fresh tires after Chris Buescher blew a tire and brought out the caution with under 100 laps remaining in the race. Leader Josh Berry took four tires while Blaney gambled with a two-tire stop.

This move paid off for Blaney as he lined up on the front row for the restart, and he took the lead for good.

Kyle Larson had the fastest car Sunday night at Iowa Speedway, but a crash dropped him 36 laps behind the leaders. He finished 34th after winning stage 2.

Stage 1: Ryan Blaney won stage 1. Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, William Byron, Josh Berry, Joey Logano, Corey LaJoie, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Busch all finished inside the top 10. Suarez and Keselowski had stayed out on older tires after a caution on Lap 52.

Stage 2: A caution for Daniel Hemric scraping the wall brought out the caution in the middle of green flag pit stops. This shuffled the field for the restart with under 30 laps to go.

Kyle Larson won stage 2 with Josh Berry in second. Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace, Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Todd Gilliland, Brad Keselowski, and Justin Haley were all in the top 10.

Notable: Tire issues majorly disrupted AJ Allmendinger's Iowa weekend. He crashed on Lap 35 of the Xfinity race after blowing a right front tire. He finished 37th. Allmendinger then blew a right front tire on Lap 54 of the Cup race. He finished 36th.

Next: NASCAR Cup teams head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a Sunday afternoon race on June 23 (2:30 p.m. ET). USA Network will provide coverage.