Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Circuit of the Americas

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No. 2 Thomas Built Buses Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 24th
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 13th
Finish: 19th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 54/54
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-175)

Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski scored a 19th-place finish in the rain-soaked EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix Sunday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas. The driver of the Thomas Built Buses Ford Mustang is now ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, 175 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
  • Keselowski qualified 24th on Sunday morning at the 3.41-mile road course. Before the race began, NASCAR gave teams the option of starting the race on racing slicks or wet weather tires. Keselowski and crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted for slicks but pitted after the first lap to put on the wet weather tires after a steady rain began to fall. The No. 2 Ford returned to the track in 28th position. Bullins chose to pit again on lap 8, planning to run to the end of Stage 2 before another visit to pit lane. Keselowski was up to 12th when the Thomas Built Buses Mustang got turned around on lap 14, one lap from the conclusion of Stage 1. He recovered and was credited with a 22nd-place finish in the opening segment. Bullins made the call to remain out on track during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted 16th on lap 18.
  • The restart to begin Stage 2 was chaotic with rain and low visibility. Somehow Keselowski avoided the spinning car of Christopher Bell on lap 20 and then immediately pitted for four tires during the caution period that followed. Keselowski lined up 21st when the race returned to green flag conditions on lap 24. Another full course yellow slowed the pace on lap 26 and NASCAR officials made the call for single-file restarts for the remainder of the race. Keselowski did a solid job during the remainder of the segment to score a 13th-place finish when stage two ended on lap 32. Bullins once again called for Keselowski to remain on track during the stage caution and the No. 2 Ford restarted ninth when the green flag waved on lap 35. 
  • One lap later, Keselowski found himself spun around again as he battled Ryan Newman for ninth place. The driver of the Thomas Built Buses Ford recovered without any damage to the No. 2 Mustang. He made a scheduled stop for four tires on lap 44 under the green flag. Over the final 10 laps of the race, Keselowski was able to gain a few positions, climbing his way up to 19th by lap 54 when more inclement weather and poor visibility forced NASCAR officials to call the race official 14 laps from the scheduled finish. 
     

Quote: “It was a crazy race and visibility was certainly an issue. We were fortunate to not wreck.”

 
No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 9th
Stage 1: 16th
Stage 2: 19th
Finish: 17th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 54/54
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-139)

Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney started ninth and finished 17th in a rain race at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday afternoon. Blaney’s BODYARMOR Ford Mustang suffered damage early in the second stage of the race, which put the No. 12 team in a battle for track position for the remainder of the event in the exceptionally challenging conditions.
  • On the second lap of the race, Blaney brought the BODYARMOR Mustang to pit road for Goodyear wet weather tires as rain began to intensify at the very onset of the race. Blaney pitted again under the yellow flag on lap 8 for tires and a significant trackbar adjustment. Blaney reported that the No. 12 Mustang needed to be freed up, but he still managed an 16th-place result in Stage 1.
  • As Stage 2 got underway, Blaney sustained major right rear damage to the No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford when the No. 20 car contacted the Team Penske Mustang under braking. The team made significant repairs to the car and avoided falling a lap down due to the long yellow flag laps. Blaney finished the second stage in the 19th position.
  • In the final stage, Blaney continued trying to work his way forward and he moved inside the top the top 15 he visited pit road for four tires, air pressure and trackbar adjustments. Unfortunately, the race was called at lap 54 for deteriorating conditions and was Blaney was credited with a 17th-place finish.
     

Quote: “We got damage really early in the race, and there was nothing we could do there. That really cost us our track position and made it an uphill battle for the rest of the race.”

 
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 6th
Stage 1: 1st – Third stage win of 2021
Stage 2: 12th
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 54/54
Laps Led: 14
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-111)

Notes: 

  • Joey Logano started sixth, won the opening stage and finished third in Sunday’s weather shortened race at Circuit of the Americas. Logano led a race-high 14 laps on the afternoon, before the weather conditions forced an early end to the debut NASCAR Cup Series race at the Texas road course.
  • Logano brought the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang to pit road on the opening lap for four Goodyear wet weather tires as rain began to fall after the green flag flew to start the race. Logano continued his forward charge, as he captured the race lead and won Stage 1 for the third stage win of the year for the Shell-Pennzoil Ford team.
  • After a lengthy delay for a multi-vehicle accident and water cleanup on the backstretch, the team elected to pit and made an air pressure and trackbar adjustment for Logano. The Shell-Pennzoil Mustang restarted in the 25th position and Logano fought back to finish Stage 2 in 12th place.
  • Logano restarted the final stage in the ninth position but worked his way up to third by lap 38, setting the potential final pit stop of the race. Logano visited pit road at the completion of lap 44 for four tires and two rounds of trackbar changes.
  • As the rain continued to intensify, Logano continued to advance as he patiently working his way into the top five as other cars came to pit lane. Logano moved into the fourth position and was told by the team that two of the three cars in front of him may not make it to the end on fuel. Unfortunately, rain brought an early end to the race at lap 54 with Logano running in the third position.
     

Quote: “Yeah, it was tough, but it was fun. I had a blast. It was mentally draining, mentally very, very challenging out there because the track changed so much from lap to lap.  One lap it’s pouring.  The next lap it’s raining a little bit and then you’re hydroplaning everywhere and you’re really slipping and sliding, and tires meant something, which I think was surprising to everybody — that tires meant something.  You saw the 18 car drive through the field one time.  We put tires on and were able to drive through the field, so it was kind of fun.  We’re all learning together and trying to figure it all out at the same time.”


No. 33 PIRTEK Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric  
Start: 3rd
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 4th
Finish: 25th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 54/54
Laps Led: 4
Driver Points: N/A

Notes:

  • Austin Cindric and the No. 33 PIRTEK Ford Mustang team finished the inaugural EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix in the 25th position Sunday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas. Before NASCAR called the race early due to low visibility, the NASCAR Cup Series rookie showed his potential by battling veteran Kyle Busch for the race lead.
  • Cindric showed his speed early after he qualified third in his first-ever Cup Series qualifying attempt. He continued to show the power of the PIRTEK Ford as he captured the race lead on the first lap and he extended his lead to nine seconds as the rain began to steadily fall. Cindric came to pit road for a set of wet weather tires and was scored seventh when the first caution flag was displayed on lap 7. Cindric held strong in the top 10 throughout the first 15-lap stage, and he was scored fifth at the conclusion of the opening stage. Crew chief Miles Stanley called his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments during the stage caution. 
  • Cindric started Stage 2 from the 24th position and he continued to gain valuable Cup Series experience. He was able to race his way back inside the top five and was scored fourth before the red flag was displayed on lap 25 for a multi-car incident. The Mooresville N.C. native restarted third and he engaged in a memorable battle through the 20-turn circuit with Kyle Busch for the race lead before Cindric settled into second place. As the run progressed, Cindric’s Mustang lost front drive, but he was able to maintain his spot inside the top five to finish the second stage in the fourth position.
  • The PIRTEK Ford remained on track during the stage caution as Cindric restarted the race fourth and he quickly worked his way back up to second place. But once again, as the run progressed Cindric lost front drive and he fell to the 15th position before making a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 42 for a track bar adjustment, four tires and fuel. Once pit stops cycled through, Cindric was scored in 17th place. The PIRTEK Ford team made one final stop on lap 52 and Cindric rejoined the field in the 25th position. As rain continued to fall, causing low visibility, NASCAR ended the race after 54 laps and Cindric was credited with a 25th-place result.
     

Quote: “It was a lot of fun battling Kyle Busch for the lead in my PIRTEK Mustang. We had a good car on fire off, but just lost the front end so fast. We pitted right before NASCAR called the race and ended up 25th. Overall I learned a lot.”

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