Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Bristol Dirt Race

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No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 20th
Stage 1: 21st
Stage 2: 16th
Finish: 11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 253/253
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-95)

Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski scored an 11th-place finish in the Food City Dirt Race on Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Keselowski ran a remarkably clean race and was rewarded with a respectable finish. He remains fifth in NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 95 points behind the leader Denny Hamlin. 
  • The driver of the Discount Tire Ford took a conservative approach in Stage 1. He was able to stay out of trouble and took care of his tires, which gave many drivers trouble throughout the day. He was credited with a 21st-place finish when the stage ended on lap 100. The Discount Tire Ford Mustang needed to turn better in the center of the corners and crew chief Jeremy Bullins made track bar and air pressure adjustments. Keselowski restarted 21st when the race went green. 
  • Keselowski turned in a solid performance throughout Stage 2. He worked his way to 17th-place when the second competition caution on lap 150 brought the leaders to pit road. Bullins made another round of chassis and air pressure adjustments during the stop. On lap 154 Keselowski narrowly missed an incident involving teammate Ryan Blaney and others dodging cars and finding a way through the dust. He survived two more restarts in the closing laps of the segment to claim a 16th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 200. Team were given addition time work on cars while track officials watered down the racing surface for the final 50-lap sprint to the finish.  
  • From there Keselowski steadily worked his way through traffic. He was holding firm to 12th position when the final caution on lap 247 pushed the race into NASCAR Overtime. Keselowski used the final two laps to pick off one more position, claiming an 11th-place finish at the checkered flag. 

Quote: “We had a solid day with our Discount Tire Ford. I learned a lot for when we come back here next time. I’m happy for Joey and his team.”


No. 12 Advance My Track Challenge Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney  
Start: 3rd
Stage 1: 5th
Stage2: 24th
Finish: 8th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 253/253
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-101)

Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney started third and finish eighth in Monday’s Food City Dirt Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 12 Advance My Track Challenge Ford Mustang ran inside the top-five for much of the first stage and recovered from a mid-race incident to score his fourth top-10 finish of 2021.
  • Blaney would battle Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin in the opening 100-lap segment. The Advance My Track Challenge Ford would run as high as second, but battled a tight condition on exit. Blaney would fall to seventh by the lap-50 competition caution. A strong restart by Blaney would get him to fourth by lap 70. Still battling that tight condition, Blaney would relinquish fourth to Daniel Suarez and hold off teammate Joey Logano for a fifth-place finish in Stage 1.
  • Blaney would begin Stage 2 from fifth and reported the Advance My Track Challenge Ford was the tightest it had been all day. He would fall from eighth on lap 140 to 12th on lap 150. Todd Gordon and the team would take a huge swing on adjustments going back to their baseline setup. Unfortunately, on lap 154, Blaney would be involved in a multi-car crash on the frontstretch due to a lack of visibility. The Advance My Track Challenge crew made swift repairs and managed to keep Blaney on the lead lap. He would finish Stage 2 in the 24th-position.
  • Fortune changed for Blaney in the final 50-lap run to the finish. The adjustments made by the Advance My Track Challenge crew brought the heavily damaged car to life and Blaney drove from 24th to eighth the final 50-plus laps to score an eighth-place finish. He remains seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

 
Quote: “It was a long day for sure, starting up towards the front and just hanging around there. We ran fifth in the first stage but were struggling a little bit with our race car and trying to find the best way to work on it and fix it. It was tight in the middle. We couldn’t get the tightness out of it all day until the last run. We got good, but we faded a little bit there and then had a restart and I couldn’t see nothing.  Everyone was in the dust and I think I chopped down on the 18 (Kyle Busch) and we wrecked and, luckily, we were able to fix it up nice and made some good changes there for that last run. We drove all the way from like 22nd or 23rd to eighth, so just proud of the effort. It’s a shame we didn’t find that change a little sooner than what we did, but, overall, a good comeback by the No. 12 group.”


No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 10th
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 1st (second stage win of 2021)
Finish: 1st (first win of 2021, 27th-career Cup Series win)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 253/253
Laps Led: 61
Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-58)

Notes:

  • Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang made history on Monday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway, as the 30-year-old driver won the first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt in over 50 years, leading the final 61 laps in the rain-delayed Bristol Dirt Race. 
  • After starting in 10th, Logano worked forward, settling into the seventh position and being patient for the first 50-lap run all while trying to manage tire wear and observe track changes. Logano was ninth at the first competition caution and gained several spots as the race went back green when the No. 20 and No. 5 cars got together, triggering a multi-vehicle incident. The Shell-Pennzoil Mustang finished the stage in the sixth position.
  • The adjustments on the first two stops worked for Logano as he moved the Shell-Pennzoil forward from sixth to fourth, running lap times faster than the race leader in the later stages of the run. Logano would climb to the second position just after halfway in the second stage, trailing race leader Daniel Suarez as NASCAR adapted a single-file restart policy to help with the dust on restarts.
  • Logano would claim the lead late in the second stage, cruising to his second stage win of the 2021 season. On the stop, the team made a trackbar adjustment trying to help Logano fire off better on the short run without hurting the long run speed in the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. On the restart for the final 50-lap run, Logano would battle side-by-side with the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin for the opening 10 laps before opening up a seven-car gap as the laps started to wind down.
  • Logano held the point on throughout the final stage, holding off Hamlin and early race leader Martin Truex Jr.  With a nearly one-second lead and less than five laps to go, the caution flag wave, setting up a green-white-checkered shootout.  On the green, Logano was able to pull away and hold off Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to take his first win of the 2021 season and the 27th victory of his career. 
  • With the win, Logano locked himself and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team into the NASCAR Playoffs and moved to second in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

 
Quote: “It’s incredible.  How about Bristol on dirt? This is incredible, unbelievable racetrack — great job by everyone that prepped the track. Obviously, a lot of work over here the last few days. We did a lot of work in the dirt department here the last few weeks. My buddy Ryan Flores and my car chief Jerry Kelley doing a good job with the modified and just making laps and learning where I was going. A lot of that helped. Kevin Buskirk helped a lot, too. He has a lot of knowledge and obviously Paul Wolfe, this team, great car obviously to be able to execute the race that we did and get a win. I was getting nervous. There were so many first-time winners and different winners than there has typically been I said, ‘We’ve got to get a win to make sure we get in the playoffs,’ so it’s amazing to get this Shell-Pennzoil Mustang into Victory Lane at Bristol. There’s nothing like winning at Bristol, but putting dirt on it and being the first to do it is really special.”

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