Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Richmond

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No. 2 Western Star Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 7th
Stage 1: 7th 
Stage 2: 12th
Finish: 13th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 399/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-85)
 
Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski scored a 13th-place finish Saturday night at Richmond Raceway to remain in the thick of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The driver of the Western Star Ford is ninth in the standings, 85 points behind leader Kyle Larson but 13 above the 12th-place cutline.
  • Keselowski started seventh and scored a seventh-place finish in Stage 1. He fought a lack of rear drive during the 80-lap segment but overcame those challenges to rack up seven valuable stage points at the conclusion of the segment. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to pit during the stage caution for four tires and numerous adjustments (including right-rear wedge). Keselowski restarted fifth when the race went green on lap 88.       
  • In Stage 2, Keselowski had his hands full with the balance of the No. 2 Mustang. He ran inside the top-five during the early laps of the segment but, try as he might, couldn’t stay there, struggling to get his car to turn in the corners. Keselowski pitted twice for tires and adjustments but couldn’t make headway to the front. He was credited with a 12th-place finish when the stage ended on lap 235. During the stage caution, Keselowski pitted for four tires and good work by the 2 Crew moved him up to 10th-place for the restart on lap 244.
  • Unfortunately, Keselowski’s Mustang remained a handful throughout the third and final stage. The balance of the car was loose on entry and not turning well in the center of the corners. Keselowski made multiple stops during the final segment of the race but the adjustments by Bullins and the team did not produce any significant gains, leaving him with a 13th-place finish. 

Quote: “It’s not the day we wanted with our Western Star Ford.  I’m really proud of the pit crew.  They kept us in the game all night.”


No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 8th
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 11th
Finish: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 399/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-70)
 
Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney scored his first career top-10 finish at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night, driving the No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang to the 10th position before the checkered flag. Blaney remained poised throughout the race, relaying the handling conditions to crew chief Todd Gordon so the No. 12 Ford team could improve on the car throughout the race. Blaney heads to the first playoff cut-off race next week at Bristol Motor Speedway in the fifth position in the standings, 28 points above the cutline to advance to the Round of 12.
  • Through the opening laps of the race, Blaney ran inside the top-five, running extremely competitive lap times despite the front tires chattering prior to the competition caution. The Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang team adjusted with air pressure on the competition caution and allowed Blaney to continue in the top-five until the end of the first stage, where he’d finish fifth.
  • Blaney started to struggle with drive down the straightaways in Stage 2, reporting that the Advance Auto Parts Mustang was free on entry and exit. The team elected to make a stagger and air pressure change to the car under the green flag pit stop at lap 182, running several laps longer than the majority of the race leaders. Blaney finished Stage 2 in the 11th position, reporting the previous changes had helped, leading the team to make additional air pressure changes.
  • In the final stage, the Advance Auto Parts team continued to take swings at the No. 12 Mustang’s handling, with Blaney maintaining just outside the top-10. Blaney mounted a late race charge, surging past Austin Dillon on the final lap of the race, scoring his first career top-10 finish at Richmond Raceway.

 
Quote:  “From the spring race here I thought we could run right there and we ran 11th in the spring.  I thought we figured some stuff out and we worked a little bit more on it, so we got some stage points and had a couple runs that were bad, a couple runs where we got better and better, and at the end we were able to pass a handful of cars to get home 10th.  I’m proud of the team.  Thanks to Advance Auto Parts and Ford and Menards for sticking in.  I had fun tonight.  I actually had a lot of fun tonight.  That was fun.  September 2021 I had fun at Richmond.  It’s cool to be in a nice spot going into Bristol.  I’m just proud of the whole group all night.”


No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 6th
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-58)

Notes:

  • Joey Logano started sixth and finished fifth in Saturday night’s 400-lap race at Richmond Raceway in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. In addition to the top-five finish, Logano scored 14 stage points in the first and second stage of the race with finishes of third and fifth respectively.
  • In Stage 1, Logano consistently ran inside the top-five, posting quick lap times and overall reporting the balance of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang was good, despite being a little free on corner entry. Logano ran as high as second in the stage before dropping to third with three laps remaining in Stage 1, reporting the turn had gone away in the No. 22 Mustang. On the stage ending pit stop the team elected to make a trackbar and air pressure adjustment.
  • During the second stage, Logano continued to run inside the top-five, reporting he was still too tight to turn the center with the team electing to make a chassis adjustment lap 180 under green flag conditions. Logano maintained in the fifth position to finish Stage 2, reporting he still needed more center turn, but that car was headed in the right direction. The team elected to make a small air pressure adjustment on the stage ending stop.
  • In the final stage, Logano maintained inside the top-10, within striking distance of the top-five, reporting that the handling had improved a great deal since the lap 294 pit stop, but still wanted the team to find a little more center turn and exit security.
  • Logano was able to use the race long adjustments on the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang to bring home his ninth top-five finish of the season and position himself 40 points ahead of the playoff cutline as the series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next week for the first cutoff race of the season.

Quote: “That’s about where we were — a fifth-place car.  Maybe sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse depending on the kind of run.  I’d say we averaged out as the fifth car and that’s where we finished.  We got some good points.  I think we were third in the first stage and fifth in the second and a fifth finish, so that’s some good points.  I don’t know where that’s going to stack the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang up in the playoff standings, but it should put us in a decent spot going into Bristol next week.  That’s what it’s all about right now.  It’s about being solid and getting every point, so we’re getting them.  We’re doing what we’ve got to do.  We’re grinding them out, but had nothing for the Gibbs cars tonight.”