Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Richmond

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No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 20th
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 16th
Finish: 14th 
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 25
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-165)
 
Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski and the Discount Tire Ford team scored a 14th-place Sunday afternoon at Richmond Raceway. Keselowski rebounded from a mid-race gamble that didn’t go as planned to score a lead lap finish. He is now ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 165 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
  • Keselowski started 20th in the 400-lap race and he and the 2 Crew worked together throughout Stage 1 to move closer to the front. He was up to 12th position at the time of the competition caution on lap 30 then gained three more spots after a visit to pit road. Keselowski restarted ninth and held his own during the remainder of the segment to score a ninth-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 80. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for four tires and a track bar adjustment during the stage caution, and he restarted ninth when the race went green on lap 90. 
  • Midway through Stage 2, Bullins made the call to keep Keselowski on the racetrack during a cycle of green flag pit stops. The move was designed to keep the driver of the Discount Tire Ford inside the top-10 and give the team an extra set of tires for the third and final stage. Unfortunately, the move didn’t go as planned and Keselowski finished the segment 16th, one lap down. 
  • For the remainder of the event, Keselowski and the team were focused on making up the lost distance. Throughout much of Stage 3, he ran in the free pass position but didn’t get a timely caution to unlap himself until lap 382, 18 laps from the finish. Keselowski took the wave around during the fifth and final caution and rejoined the lead lap at the tail end of the field. He was credited with a 14th-place finish at the checkered flag. 

Quotes: “Our Discount Tire Ford was fast today but it just didn’t come together for us. We’ll bounce back next week.”


No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 7th
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 19th
Finish: 11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-130)
 
Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney started seventh and finished 11th in Sunday afternoon’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway in the No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang. Despite finishing one spot shy of the top-10, the afternoon for the No. 12 team showed promise as the team consistently ran lap times on par with the race leaders. Blaney rallied late on old tires, climbing four positions to finish 11th.
  • During the opening run, Blaney moved inside the top-five, racing to the third position before the lap 30 competition caution, reporting he needed just a little more entry security in the No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang.  The adjustments on the first stop helped but Blaney encouraged the team to give him more entry security and drive off through the long run. On the stage ending stop, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make a trackbar and air pressure change.
  • In the second stage, Blaney reported he was losing rear grip early in the run and made a green flag pit stop with the race leaders on lap 138, but a caution flag forced the BODYARMOR crew into taking the wave-around and restarting outside the top-15. The team elected to go long on the second stage and finished 19th, one lap down to the race leader, but saved one set of tires over the majority of the field.
  • Blaney continued running near the free pass position, pitting at lap 344 for a trackbar adjustment and four tires as the field cycled through green flag stops. The team remained on the track under the lap 380 caution and cycled back to the lead lap where they’d press forward and finish 11th.

Quote: “It was a step in the right direction at Richmond for me and the BODYARMOR team. Our lap times and the way our car handled and we adjusted on it through the race were better than the 11th place finish we had, just got trapped for too long a lap down and without cautions, it was tough to get that back. I think we had a ton of key learnings that we can evaluate and come back stronger when we race here in the playoffs.” 


No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano 
Start: 5th
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 3rd
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 49
Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-82)

Notes: 

  • Joey Logano started fifth and finished third in Sunday afternoon’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. Logano led the race five times for 49 laps, including being in the lead when a caution came out at lap 380, setting up a final pit stop and a 17-lap run to the finish. In addition to his third-place final result, Logano scored 16 stage points, finishing third in the first and second stage.
  • On the opening run, Logano was battling a lack of rear-grip, but maintained inside the top-five, bringing the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang to pit road at the competition caution in the fourth position for four tires and an air pressure change. Logano would continue on and finish the opening stage in the third position, reporting he needed more turn and more entry security over the long run.
  • Logano continued inside the top-five, pitting at lap 139 under green, just before the yellow flag was thrown for a single car incident. The team remained on the track and restarted in the fifth position and climbed to the fourth position at lap 160. The team elected to pit at lap 186 with the majority of the race leaders, while others remained on the track attempting to run to the end of the stage. The team finished the second stage in the third position. On the stop, they made an air pressure change as Logano was still looking for more entry and exit without hurting the center turn.
  • At lap 335, Logano passed the No. 11 for the race lead and reported to the team he needed just a little more turn in the center and drive off for the last run. At lap 342, crew chief Paul Wolfe called the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang to pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment, looking for that last bit of drive off the corner.
  • Logano was battling with the No. 11 at Lap 380, maintaining the lead, when the caution flag came out for a spin in Turn 3. The team setup to make an air pressure adjustment for the short run to the end. The team would restart in the second position. Unfortunately, Logano would slip to third in the closing laps where he’d finish in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang.

 
Quote: “We just needed more turn. We didn’t turn good enough to take off.  The 48 sure did.  They put the qualifying pressures in or something.  That thing took off like a rocket.  Denny and I caught him the last few laps, which was probably because they showed the adjustments they made to their car to make it fire off.  They started to pay a penalty at the end, but they were too far out.  Congratulations to them.  They beat us.  They beat us fair and square.  It stinks when you’re that close.  We were leading with a few to go.  Denny and I had a hell of a race.  It was pretty fun there for a minute, but here we are third.  It stings.  We were up there all day.  It’s a decent finish, don’t get me wrong, but wanted more for our Shell/Pennzoil Mustang.”


No. 33 Verizon 5G Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric  
Start: 39th
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 28th
Finish: 28th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 396/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: N/A

Notes:

  • Austin Cindric finished 28th, making his third NASCAR Cup Series start of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Season in the No. 33 Verizon 5G Ford Mustang on Sunday afternoon at Richmond Raceway. After the field was set per the NASCAR Qualifying Matrix, Cindric started 39th and fought forward throughout the 300-mile race running as high as 20th.
  • Once the race started, the reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion raced his way inside the top-25, battling a tight Verizon 5G Ford Mustang. During the competition caution on lap 30 crew chief Miles Stanley called his driver to pit road for four tires and fuel. 
  • Throughout the remaining laps of Stage 1, Cindric battled his way to the 22nd position. During the Stage 1 caution crew chief Miles Stanley called the Verizon 5G Ford to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments to aid the tight Mustang and Cindric restarted 22nd on lap 80.
  • During Stage 2, the NCS rookie continued to gain experience and run inside the top-20. On lap 139 Cindric made a scheduled green-flag stop. Unfortunately, before the field could cycle through green-flag stops, the caution waived, pinning Cindric a lap down and unable to take the wave-around. In an effort to regain the lost lap, the No. 33. Verizon 5G team ran the rest of the stage long resulting in lost track position. Without a caution, Cindric lost additional laps to the leaders and was scored 28th at the conclusion of Stage 2. 
  • The field restarted on lap 247, Cindric remaining in the 28th position. With limited cautions and opportunity to take the wave around, the Verizon 5G team continued to work on the No. 33 Ford, making it better throughout the long green-flag runs. The last caution waived with 14-laps remaining allowing the field to make final adjustments for the short run. Cindric was able to hold his position and finish in the 28th position in the Verizon 5G Ford Mustang. 

Quote: “It’s an interesting race.  I definitely chose the wrong time to make a rookie mistake getting into the 6.  That’s definitely on me and that was a really vulnerable time for our strategy and that put us behind the eight-ball all day.  We tried to do some strategy to get us back and we ended up putting ourselves another lap down.  By the time stage three rolled around we were able to make some good adjustments and our Verizon 5G Ford Mustang was really good.  I wouldn’t say we were top five good, but I think we were good enough to run inside the top 10, top 15 so there’s a lot of positives.  I drove up to P20 under green, so lots to learn, but definitely wish I could get that stage two mistake back.”

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