Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Bristol

Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

Track:                Bristol Motor Speedway

Race:                 Food City Presents Supermarket Heroes 500

Date:                 May 31, 2020

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No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start:  1st

Stage 1: 3rd 

Stage 2: 9th

Finish: 1st (32nd-career NASCAR Cup Series victory)

Status: Running 

Laps Completed: 500/500

Laps Led: 115

Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-55)

Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski went from third to first with three laps to go to score his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2020 season Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Keselowski was running behind leaders Joey Logano and Chase Elliott when the they made contact in Turn 3. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford grabbed the lead with three laps to go and never looked back, officially taking the checkered flag by .471 seconds over second-place Clint Bowyer.
  • Keselowski drew the pole position and led the first 62 laps in the event before scoring a third-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 125. The driver of the No. 2 Mustang was good at the top of the track but was struggling with turning in the center on the bottom. He pitted on lap 130 for four tires and restarted fourth when the race went green on lap 136.
  • He finished ninth when Stage 2 ended on lap 250. Keselowski said he needed a longer run and for the track to come to him. A mix of pit strategies among the leaders shuffled the driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang back to 16th when the third and final stage went green on lap 261.
  • By lap 327, Keselowski has worked his way into the top-10 but got zapped by a speeding penalty after a four-tire stop under caution on lap 330, moving him back to 16th position.
  • On lap 460, crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the pit call that put his driver in position to win the race. He called Keselowski to pit road for a change of left-side tires. Keselowski restarted 12th three laps later and, armed with fresher tires, began his march to the front.
  • He was up to fourth-place when the 17th and final caution set up the final restart of the race on lap 495. Lined up in the preferred outside lane, Keselowski was in perfect position to avoid trouble when Logano and Elliott made contact, giving him the lead with three laps to go.
  • The victory was Keselowski’s second of the 2020 season and his 32nd in 386 NASCAR Cup Series races. He won for the third time in 21 Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway and jumps up to fourth-place in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings.

 

Quotes: “We kind of got a Christmas present here in Bristol but we’ll take it.  We’re in position and able to strike when it counted with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang.  Joey and Chase got together there, and I don’t know what all caused it, but we were just in position to strike and here we are in victory lane. I wish I could celebrate with my team, but you know how everything is right now.  There’s so much going on in the world I’m just so thankful to get to be a race car driver and get to do this.”

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No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start: 4th

Stage 1: 2nd

Stage 2: 40th

Finish: 40th

Status: Accident

Laps Completed: 199/500

Laps Led: 60

Point Standings (Behind First): 9th (-96)

  • A promising early start for Ryan Blaney ended up with an accident on lap 199 and a 40th-place finish in the Supermarket Heroes 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang led 60 laps on the day.
  • Blaney started fourth and quickly worked his way to second behind teammate Brad Keselowski. A lap-20 competition caution would see the High Point, N.C. native remain on track. He would fall back to fifth on the restart before the caution would waive for second time on lap 62 for another competition caution. Solid pit service would get Blaney out fourth.
  • On the restart, Blaney would get back up to second behind Keselowski and would eventually pass him for the lead on lap 84. He would lead the next 21 circuits before being passed by Chase Elliott on lap 105. Blaney would hold on to second when Stage 1 ended on lap 125.
  • Strong pit service by the Menards crew got Blaney out with the lead as Stage 2 began. He would lead the next 39 laps before relinquishing the top spot to Keselowski on lap 170.
  • On lap 199, Blaney would get loose in turn 2 while racing for the lead and lose control of the Menards Ford. He would be hit by Ty Dillion, ending a promising a day. Blaney now sits eighth in the championship standings, 96 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Quote: “I was running up there for a little bit. I did not think I was that high and suddenly I hit a slick spot. I was way high and that is obviously not where I wanted to be, but I did not think I was that high getting in there. It might have just been trying to get too much and got in the marbles and spun out. I thought we were going be okay and then we got destroyed about six seconds later, so that’s just Bristol. I probably should not have been pushing that hard, but I was trying to get back to the lead. I thought we found some speed up there, just a mistake on my part. I hate it for Menards and Richmond and everybody on this No. 12 team. After having two strong weeks, you go and you wreck not even halfway, so that is just a bummer. We’ll go to Atlanta and see what we can do.”

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No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Joey Logano 

Start:  3rd

Stage 1: 5th

Stage 2: 4th

Finish: 21st

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 500/500

Laps Led: 2

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

     

Notes:

  • Joey Logano started third and lead the race with just three laps remaining, but was forced into the outside wall late, ending a stellar day and remarkable late race surge by the No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang by finishing 21st. Logano was credited with leading two laps on the afternoon after rebounding from a pit road speeding penalty late in the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • After starting third, Logano raced inside the top-five throughout the opening stage. The team elected to remain on the track at the lap 20-caution flag. In the run to the end of the first stage, Logano reported the Autotrader Ford Mustang was good on entry and exit. The stage ending stop netted Logano two positions and lined him up in third for the Stage 2 start.
  • During the second stage, Logano reported he’d lost center turn in the Autotrader Mustang, and with a caution at lap 199. To complicate matters, Logano took right rear damage racing three-wide. Logano survived some inside lane restarts late in the second stage, ultimately bringing the Autotrader Ford Mustang home in the fourth position at the green-checkered.
  • Split strategies on the stage ending caution lined the Autotrader Ford Mustang up in the 13th position for the restart, the deepest Logano had been in the field all afternoon. On a lap 330 pit stop, quick work by the 22 crew sent Logano from eighth to third, however, the Autotrader Mustang was assessed a pit penalty for too fast entering, dropping Logano to the 17th position for the restart.
  • As caution with 68 laps remaining brought the teams back to pit road, Logano reported he needed to be freed up for the run to the finish as he’d been battling a tight condition. As the race continued to play out, Logano found himself inside the top-five and briefly claimed the lead with three laps to go before the No. 9 of Chase Elliott missed corner entry, collecting Logano and the No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang, ending a remarkable rebound.

 

Quote: “We just got wrecked there at the end. It’s a shame, we made good changes all day on our Autotrader Mustang, put ourselves in a position to win and then got wrecked with three to go. It’s unfortunate, we had a really good points day and had a shot at a third win on the season there at the end.”

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