Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Charlotte II

Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

Track:                Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race:                 Alsco Uniforms 500

Date:                 May 28, 2020

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No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start: 20th

Stage 1: 25th

Stage 2: 27th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 208/208

Laps Led: 0

Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-66)

Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski overcame early right-front damage to the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang resulting from a cut tire to score a “Keselowski-esque” seventh-place finish in Thursday night’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • By virtue of winning the Coca-Cola 600 last Sunday, Keselowski was rewarded with the 20th starting position following the series invert. While in the middle of the pack at the start of the race, the 2012 Cup Series champion made contact with another competitor that resulted in a cut tire and contact with the outside wall just before a red flag was displayed for inclement weather at lap 30.
  • After making repairs and restarting from his lowest-running position of 36th, Keselowski and crew chief Jeremy Bullins methodically worked their way through the field, eventually entering the top 10 by electing to stay out under a lap-74 caution period in Stage 2.
  • Unfortunately, the handling deteriorated during the second stage and Keselowski fell back through the field to the 27th position at stage end. He radioed to Bullins that more repairs were needed to the right side of his Discount Tire Ford.
  • With the repairs made prior to the start of the final stage, Keselowski was prepared to gash his way through the field. Few cars had better speed in the final stage, and thanks to a great pit stop by the No. 2 crew on a lap 44 caution, Keselowski made it back inside the top 10 by lap 150. He would remain there the rest of the way, eventually crossing the finish line in the seventh position for his sixth top-10 finish of the 2020 season. He remains fifth in the Championship point standings, 66 points behind the leader Kevin Harvick.

Quote: “Compared to Sunday’s race, the feeling I have after this one is like I played only half of a game instead of the full game. I also like this format a lot. We should have longer races on the weekend and shorter races – minus the weather delay – during the week. No practice and no qualifying, inverting the field from the week before provides some compelling storylines. I think NASCAR has struck gold with this format and I hope they keep it for years to come.”

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No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start: 18th

Stage 1: 2nd

Stage 2: 2nd

Finish: 3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 208/208

Laps Led: 0

Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-67)

  • Ryan Blaney capped off a strong night with a third-place finish in Thursday night’s 500k NASCAR Cup Series event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang. This was the High Point, NC native’s second-consecutive third-place finish, including last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
  • Blaney started 18th and within the first 20 laps of the race worked his way up to 11th. During a lap-20 competition caution, Blaney and crew chief Todd Gordon opted to stay out for track position. Following a short delay for inclement weather, Blaney would fall back to third but managed to work his way back to second before the conclusion of Stage 1.
  • From there, Blaney would be a constant fixture inside the top-five. After briefly falling back, Blaney would work his way around teammate Joey Logano for second position on lap 90 and hold on to second when Stage 2 came to a close. Under the stage break, Blaney pitted for four tires and a slight air pressure adjustment.
  • The No. 12 team would begin the final stage from the fifth position following another round of pit stops. Blaney made short work to the front and drove the BODARMOR Ford up to second by lap 140.
  • After restarting fourth, he would work his way to the runner-up position behind leader and eventual race winner, Chase Elliott. Try as he might, Blaney was not able to catch Elliott and lost the second spot on the final lap to come home in the third position.  Blaney is now sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 67 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Quote: “We got to second and the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) was really fast getting going and the No. 9 got by me. I kind of thought I was equal with him when we were both running the No. 4 down and I just got tight. I was a little bit free all night and we tightened it up just a touch for that last run, and it was the longest run we had, and we just kind of burned the right-front tire off of it and couldn’t stay with the No. 9 there late in the run, and then the 11 (Denny Hamlin) got by me. Overall, not a bad day for our BODYARMOR Ford Mustang. We had two solid races here at Charlotte. We just need to find a little bit more speed, but we are right there. I’m really proud of this team.”

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No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano 

Start:  8th

Stage 1: 1st – Second stage win of 2020

Stage 2: 3rd

Finish: 6th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 208/208

Laps Led: 42

Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-14)

     

Notes:

  • Joey Logano started eighth and finished sixth in Thursday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was a strong effort for Logano, who led 42 laps on the night and won Stage 1, his second stage win of the season. Logano maintained position inside the top-10 throughout the race with considerable time spent in the top-five, ultimately battling a tight handling Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang in the closing laps and finishing sixth.
  • On the initial start of the race, Logano charged to fourth before the caution flag was displayed on the opening lap. When the race resumed, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was slightly tight in the top-groove. With teams electing to pit at the competition caution, crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to leave Logano on the track to claim the lead. After a 75-minute stoppage due to rain, Logano maintained the lead as the race resumed and went on to win his second stage in the last two races.
  • Logano would lead the field to green to begin Stage 2, but fell to third before a lap-73 caution flag. Logano reported he was a little tight and only needed a small adjustment, but was lacking overall straightaway speed. Logano maintained the third position until the completion of Stage 2 while battling a vibration he described as a “five out of 10.”
  • At the beginning of the final stage, Logano settled into the fifth position before moving up to fourth when the No. 88 had to make an unscheduled stop. Logano remained too tight over the long run to the checkered flag, ultimately bringing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang home in the sixth position.

 

Quote: “We had a good-to-okay day. We were able to get some track position early and win the stage. A couple of restarts really set me back some and then it was pretty tough to pass once we got running. The track wasn’t really wide enough to be able to make a lot of gains on the long run, unless another car was really falling off drastically.”

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