Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Texas Motor Speedway

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
All-Star Race
Start: 9th
Round 1: 7th
Round 2: 2nd
Round 3: 21st
Round 4: 13th
Round 5: 5th
Finsih: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 100/100
Laps Led: 5
 

Notes

  • Brad Keselowski scored a second-place finish in the NASCAR All-Star race Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Keselowski equaled his best finish in 13 starts in the event. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang also placed second in 2012 and 2016. 
  • Keselowski started ninth in the 100-lap event and ran in the middle of the pack throughout the first 15-lap round. He scored a seventh-place finish and said the balance on the No. 2 Ford Mustang was free in both ends of the track. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for four tires and a wedge adjustment on a pit stop after the round. Keselowski restarted sixth and immediately jumped up to the second position. He and Ross Chastain would exchange the position once more before Keselowski cleared his rival on lap 25 and scored a second-place finish when Round 2 ended on lap 30. He pitted for a set of scuff tires during the caution that followed and restarted 20th after a full-field inversion set the lineup for Round 3.
  • The third 15-lap segment was tough for Keselowski. He was unable to make any headway through traffic with a car that was really loose with the exception of the exit of Turn 4 where it was too tight. Following the round Keselowski pitted for four tires and more adjustments. He restarted 21st when the race went green to begin Round 4. He made the most of his fresh tires, climbing up to 13th position before the segment ended on lap 45. Bullins then called his driver to pit road for wedge and trackbar adjustments and Keselowski restarted ninth when the race went green.
  • Round 5 was a 30-lap segment and Keselowski immediately began to climb up the leaderboard. He was up to fifth-place by lap 67 and took the lead when the leaders ahead of him pitted under green on lap 75. Keselowski pitted as scheduled on lap 79 and then immediately Ross Chastain spun, cycling Keselowski to the lead. He held the top spot through lap 80 and finished fifth when the round ended on lap 90.
  • Keselowski stayed out and lined up fifth when the race went green for the final 10-lap shootout. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford restarted in the top lane and muscled his way into second position behind Kyle Larson. Try as he might over the closing laps, Keselowski couldn’t find a way past his rival and was forced to settled for the runner-up position. 
     

Quotes“The Discount Tire team did a great job of executing and getting us in position. We just didn’t have enough speed to make the most of it. It was good execution day though and I am proud of that. This is the best Ford Mustang I have had here. I just couldn’t get close enough to him (Larson). I could get to like five or six feet and then the draft stopped working. I felt like we made some great moves, but it just wasn’t enough.”

No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
All-Star Race 
Start: 17th
Round 1: 12th
Round 2: 1st
Round 3: 14th
Round 4: 6th
Round 5: 4th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 100/100
Laps Led: 15
 

Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney started the NASCAR All-Star Race in the 17th position, won the second round and ultimately finished fifth in the No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Ford Mustang. Blaney ran inside the top-five and proved to be one of the cars who could pass throughout the exhibition event, gaining positions on every invert throughout the night. On the final restart, Blaney was able to get a run at the race lead but ultimately got shuffled back to the fifth position.
  • Blaney struggled with the Menards/Wrangler Mustang at the drop of the green, chattering the fronts and sliding the rears. Blaney finished the first round in the 12th position and begin the second round in the front thanks to a random invert.
  • In the second round, Blaney used the track position and clean air to his advantage, keeping the lead and winning the round. Under caution, he reported the Menards/Wrangler Mustang was still too free on corner entry but was improved from the first run. Blaney would finish the third round in the 14th position, fighting an unpredictable handling condition in the dirty air.
  • In the fourth round, Blaney would restart 14th but power his way forward to the sixth position in the 15-lap dash. The team would hit pit road at lap 65, making the mandatory pit stop for four-tires and fuel. The Menards/Wrangler team finished the fifth round in the fourth position.
  • Blaney lined up in the third position for the 10-lap shootout to the end, ultimately the inside line would stack up on the opening lap and Blaney would bring the No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Mustang home in the fifth position.
     

Quote“We were pretty decent all night. We had a couple good finishes in the stages which averaged us out to fourth. We were running fourth or fifth there and we had a restart and I took the bottom for the last stage and got a pretty good restart and took them three-wide into 1 and didn’t clear the top lane and they freight trained through me and I got loose entering turn 1 and gave up a few spots. It was going to be hard to beat the Hendrick guys. They were pretty fast. Brad had a good run at them but I thought that was our only shot, that restart, but I just didn’t quite clear ‘em.”

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
All-Star Race 
Start: 7th
Round 1: 10th
Round 2: 10th
Round 3: 17th
Round 4: 18th
Round 5: 6th
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 100/100
Laps Led: 0

Notes:

  • Joey Logano started seventh and finished fourth in Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. While the team scored a top-five run, the night was far from smooth as Logano battled handling woes – from extreme loose to extreme tight – throughout the 100-lap event. The team adjusted the car all race long and, by the fifth round, had the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang in a position for Logano to move forward.
  • In the opening run, Logano struggle with an extremely loose Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, dropping from seventh to 10th. Logano finished the second round in the 10th position as well, reporting he was still too free on corner entry, which then hurt the center of the corner.
  • In the third round, Logano still struggled to make forward progress, struggling with an extremely tight handling condition from the center of the turn off. The woes continued in the fourth round with Logano reporting the car was extremely free on corner entry and then lost all turn in the center of the turn.
  • The Shell-Pennzoil Mustang would line up in the 19th position for the fifth round with the field building towards the mandatory green-flag pit stop. Logano and the team pitted for the mandatory stop at lap 78, with a caution flag coming one lap later with the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang scored in the 11th position. Logano rallied forward for a sixth-place finish in the fifth round.
  • For the final round, Logano lined up in the eighth position for the 10-lap shootout. Using the outside line, Logano was able to power forward, finishing in the fourth position, a great late-race surge considering the significant handling woes the team faced through most of the race.
     

Quote“It was an eventful night. We started miserable. I said that on the radio, I said the car was miserable. It was out of control and impossible to drive to where we were third from last. We were third from last to start that 30-lapper after all the 15-lap runs. The boys did a good job on pit road and Paul (Wolfe) did a good job getting it closer and then a few good restarts at the end got us into the top-five. Another restart, maybe. Everyone is pushing so hard and you can get a big run like Brad was able to do and almost clear him and take the lead. If we could take the lead it would be tough to pass me. Overall, I don’t know. These 550’s aren’t clicking for me. We got a good finish, yes, but it is a miracle we did it. I don’t know how it happened.”

No. 33 PIRTEK Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric  
All-Star Open
Start: 16th
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 50/50
Laps Led: 0
 

Notes:

Austin Cindric and the No. 33 PIRTEK Ford Mustang team finished the All-Star Open in the fifth position Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, the finish was not enough to advance to the NASCAR All-Star race, held for the first time in the Lone Star state.
Cindric started the All-Star Open 16th but suffered a penalty on the opening lap of the event for changing lanes too early. Cindric was called to pit road for a pass-through penalty, but a timely caution allowed Cindric to remain on track and restart at the tail end of the longest line for the next restart. Under the caution, Cindric reported his PIRTEK Ford was tight and crew chief Miles Stanley called for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment to aid the mishandling Mustang.
Serving his previous penalty, Cindric restarted his PIRTEK Ford at the tail end of the longest line, in 20th position. Throughout the caution filled 20-lap stage, the Mooresville N.C. native raced his way to the seventh position by lap 20. 
Cindric remained on track during the stage caution and found himself racing for the lead but settled into the second position. On older tires, his PIRTEK Ford lacked grip and he fell to fifth position, where he’d finish the second 20-lap stage. Once again Cindric’s PIRTEK Ford remained on track during the stage caution. He restarted the final 10-lap stage fourth but reported his Ford lacked speed to challenge for the win but fought hard and finished in the fifth position at the conclusion of the 50-lap All-Star Open event. 
 

Quote“I think our PIRTEK Mustang we ended up right where we should have for the All-Star Open. I have a lot of fun but just made to many mistakes early on. Starting last didn’t help. We got a penalty to start off the race, got back our track position and got another penalty. It wasn’t clean for me during the first stage but my guys did a great job and the right trim level, we just weren’t quick enough. It was good experience, good track time and learned a lot.”

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