Team Penske NASCAR Cup Race Report – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 31st
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 39th
Finish: 24th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 95/95
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-257) 

Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski saw a respectable finish evaporate on the last lap of the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard. Keselowski spun under the CarShop Bridge out of turn five, which shuffled the driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang to 24th-place in the final finishing order. He is now 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 257 points behind leader Kyle Larson.
  • The highlight of the afternoon for Keselowski was his sixth-place finish in Stage 1. He started the Verizon 200 event in the 31st position and ran a steady pace throughout the first 15-lap stage. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to stay on the track while others chose to pit near the end of the segment and Keselowski was rewarded with sixth-place when the segment ended. He remained on the track during the stage caution and restarted in the lead when the race went green on lap 19.
  • The overall strategy of the race changed for the driver of the Discount Tire Ford in Stage 2. He spun on lap 25 and tagged the outside wall with the rear of his Mustang, causing significant damage. Keselowski pitted for repairs but lost two laps in the process. But as the race played out, Keselowski was able to make up the lost distance thanks to cautions on laps 35 and 40, which twice gave him the free pass to make up the lost laps. When the race went green on lap 43, Keselowski was back on the lead lap.
  • The final stage was a wild affair with two multiple-car accidents, causing the race to be red flagged twice and pushing the finish into NASCAR Overtime. Keselowski stayed out of trouble and steadily worked his way through traffic. He caught a break on lap 74 when the fourth caution gave him the opportunity to pit for fuel and tires. He lined up 13th for the final restart, but only made it half a lap before misfortune struck, leaving him with a 24th-place finish. 

Quote: “Not the day we wanted with our Discount Tire Ford. We’ll bounce back next week in Michigan.


No. 12 Menards/Knauff Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 15th
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 26th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 95/95
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-206)
 
Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney started 15th and finished second after a wild Verizon 200 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Blaney had to survive multiple late-race incidents in order to bring home the runner-up finish. The Menards/Knauff crew continued to adjust on the No. 12 Mustang throughout the race, improving the handling of his car near the end of the event.
  • In the opening laps of the race, Blaney reported the No. 12 Menards/Knauff Ford Mustang was losing rear-drive and was fighting tight and the team elected to pit prior to the end of Stage 1 for four tires and slight adjustments. As cars who remained on-track elected to pit at the stage break, Blaney cycled closer to the top-10 to end the stage.
  • During the second stage, Blaney continued to struggle with a lack of rear drive, forcing him into a defensive mode while waiting to pit under green just prior to the conclusion of the second stage. In the final stage, Blaney worked to regain position near the top-10 as the field approached the potential final stop of the race. The team would call Blaney to pit road at lap 55 for four tires and air pressure changes, still looking to give the driver the desired drive-off.
  • A late caution flag presented the opportunity for the Menards/Knauff crew to make further significant adjustments to the No. 12 Ford. Blaney moved into the top-five as a late race incident eliminated many of the top-five competitors.  Blaney survived multiple late-race incidents to bring home a second-place finish.

 
Quote:  “Our car looks better than most. That was a wild race, especially towards the end. I feel like we could have run 10th-12th all day and that is where we were. We just kind of got a couple good restarts and dodged some mess and we had a good shot to try to win the race. I just couldn’t put together a good enough lap and a half to get to Allmendinger to try to pass. We survived all day and did a good job. The whole team did a good job sticking in there. The race got pretty crazy at the end. We almost made it a perfect weekend for Team Penske, just missed it by one spot.”


No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 8th
Stage 1: 16th
Stage 2: 23rd
Finish: 34th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 77/95
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-190)
 
Notes:

  • Joey Logano started eighth and finished 34th after a late-race multi-vehicle collision in Sunday afternoon’s Verizon 200 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Logano ran inside the top-10 for the majority of the race with No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, making the end result even more disappointing.
  • Logano ran steadily in the top-10 from the drop of the green flag with the team electing to pit at lap 12, prior to the end of Stage 1. Logano would cycle back up to the sixth position to begin the second stage as cars who remained on the track finally hit pit road.
  • Using a strong restart to begin Stage 2, Logano moved into the second position. Unfortunately, while running in the third position, Logano’s Shell-Pennzoil Mustang wheel hopped on entry to turn 7, resulting in a spin. The team elected to pit from the 11th position prior to the end of the second stage.
  • In the final stage, Logano raced inside the top-10 where he’d spent a majority of the afternoon, running as high as sixth as the field approached the window to make the final stop of the event. Logano hit pit road at lap 55 from the seventh position for four tires, fuel and air pressure changes on all four corners of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang.
  • A late caution would bring the field to pit road for a final stop with the Shell-Pennzoil crew grabbing three positions on the sequence. Logano was then collected in a late-race, multi-vehicle incident while running inside the top-five, ending the day for the team with a disappointing 34th-place result.

Quote: “Yeah, I am okay. Thank God those tire packs were there. The hit wasn’t that hard at all. The tires absorbed a lot of it. I don’t believe in luck but that time I feel like it was just bad luck. Wrong place at the wrong time and unfortunately it ended our day. We had a decent run coming to us and maybe a top-five finish for our Shell Pennzoil Mustang and the next thing I knew I was airborne and headed to the wall. I had a lot of time to think about it. I was just along for the ride as a passenger knowing what the end result was going to be. All the fans were cheering right there. They were happy to see me get out which was good do see. It will be an exciting finish to watch on TV I guess.”
 

No. 33 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric  
Start: 13th
Stage 1: 33rd
Stage 2: 25th
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 95/95
Laps Led:  0
Driver Points: N/A

Notes:

  • Austin Cindric and the No. 33 MoneyLion Ford Mustang team finished the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard in the ninth position Sunday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.  The Cup Series Rookie continued to gain experience capturing his first Cup Series top-10 in just seven starts.
  • Cindric qualified his No. 33 MoneyLion Ford Mustang in the 13th position. During the opening laps of the first 15-lap stage, Cindric fought a miss-handing MoneyLion Ford before running off track on lap six. He rejoined the field and settled into the 29th position as he reported his MoneyLion Ford lacked rear grip. Crew chief Miles Stanley elected to pit on lap 11 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Shortly after the stage caution was displayed, with Cindric scored in the 33rd position. During the stage caution most of the field came to pit road while Cindric stayed out, allowing him to restart the second stage 20th.
  • As the green-flag fell to restart the race, Cindric powered his way back inside the top-15 by lap 24. But over the long run, the previous adjustment did not improve the handling of Cindric’s MoneyLion Ford. Stanley called his young driver to pit road on lap 31 for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
  • Once again, Cindric remained on track during the stage caution, gaining track position and restarting 12th. On lap 50, the No. 1 of Kurt Busch made contact with Cindric while racing for the 15th position, spinning Cindric off track.  Being within the fuel window, Stanley called the No. 33 Ford to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. The caution was displayed again with 10 laps remaining and Cindric scored 23rd. Stanley elected to pit once more for fuel, fresh tires and final adjustments. He restarted 24th with six laps remaining. Mayhem struck shorty after the restart, causing a multi-car accident. Cindric sustained damage and came to pit road for repairs. After the double over time, Cindric held his own and eventually powered into the top-10, finishing ninth. 

Quote: “It is unfortunate. I felt like there were a lot of high expectations coming into today. Maybe not from my end, I just wanted to get to the end, which we did, just with a lot of damage and a lot of adversity. Then we got dumped by the 1 car at the worst time in the race. Right around the pit cycle and we lost 20 seconds. We came back from whatever it was, 26th to finish ninth. I probably could have gotten a few more spots but we stayed out of trouble on the restarts. We had a lot of close calls where I was in the middle of the pack. A lot of people I was racing around had to drop out of the race. It was a crazy day for our MoneyLion Ford Mustang. I am happy to end my Cup season with a top-10, it is what these guys deserve.”

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