Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Las Vegas

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No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 8th
Stage 1: 12th
Stage 2: 6th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 4
Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-53)
 
Notes: 

  • Brad Keselowski scored a seventh-place finish Sunday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The driver of the Autotrader Ford Mustang captured his 13th top-10 finish of the season. Keselowski is eighth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings’ four points ahead of ninth-place William Byron.
  • Keselowski started eighth and wrestled a loose handling Ford Mustang for much of Stage 1. He pitted during the competition caution on lap 25 for tires and a round of adjustments but the balance remained a handful. By the end of the stage on lap 80′ Keselowski had drifted back to 12th-place with a Mustang that was now landing harshly in the corners. He pitted during the stage caution for another set of tires’ more adjustments and restarted 17th on lap 87. 
  • In Stage 2′ Keselowski stretched his fuel mileage to perfection and was rewarded with sixth-place finish when the segment ended on lap 160. Several lead lap cars opted to pit near the end of the stage’ but Keselowski remained on the track and picked up five precious stage points. The balance on the Autotrader Mustang remained a handful during the stage but Keselowski pushed that aside to claim a solid finish in the segment. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 163 for four tires and restarted seventh three laps later. 
  • Early in Stage 3 Keselowski said his Ford Mustang was the best it had been all race despite being a little free on the long run. As darkness settled in over the 1.5-mile speedway’ the Autotrader Mustang responded to the cool temps. He passed Kevin Harvick on lap 250 to pick off seventh position’ 17 laps from the finish’ but unfortunately couldn’t get close to the front. 

 
Quote: “It wasn’t a bad night. We executed really’ really well and made the most of what we had with the Autotrader Ford. That was just all we had. We just kind of rode in 10th to 15th most of the day and at one point we got up to 7th or 8th but couldn’t really hold it. At the end we just really executed really well. The pit stops were great. The pit calls were good. No loose wheels or any troubles and we were able to get a solid day out of it to get ourselves a little cushion.”


No. 12 Menards/Knauff Insulation Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 2nd
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 21st
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 8
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-33)

Notes:

  • Ryan Blaney started second’ led eight laps and finished in the fifth position on Sunday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the No. 12 Menards/Knauf Mustang. Blaney and the team scored stage points in the opening stage’ while dropping back to the 21st position in the second stage with the field on split pit stop strategies. Blaney now heads to Talladega Superspeedway’ where he’s a two-time race winner. 
  • After starting second’ Blaney maintained inside the top-five’ with the team making an air pressure adjustment under the competition caution at lap 25. Late in the first stage’ Blaney reported his cool suit was pumping hot water’ with the team set to try and troubleshoot it under the stage caution. Blaney finished Stage 1 in the fourth position’ collecting seven valuable stage points.
  • On the Stage 2 restart’ Blaney reported he hit something while racing for the third position’ creating a hole in the nose and causing the Menards Mustang to become extremely tight. Blaney would pit at lap 154 and take the wave around to start the third stage.
  • Despite running some of the fastest laps on the track’ Blaney reported that his Menards/Knauf Mustang was too tight. On the potential final stop of the race’ crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make air pressure adjustments and add tape to the nose of the No. 12 Ford.
  • Blaney remained tight through the long green flag stretch of the final stage but continued to work forward towards the top-five. He would finish the race in the fifth position and sits ___ points ahead of the cutoff line headed to Talladega.

 
Quote: “I thought a couple of cars were a little quicker than us. We got behind the eight-ball a little bit there in that second stage having to pit at the end and take the wave around. That hurt us. We had a fast enough Menards Ford Mustang to finish fifth. That is something to be proud of and we will go on to Talladega.”


No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 9th
Stage 1: 15th
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-51)

Notes:

  • Joey Logano started ninth and finished 11th on Sunday evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Logano battled a tight-handling car for most of the race after starting a little free. Logano will head to Talladega Superspeedway next week for the second race in the Round of 12′ six ahead of the cutline.
  • Logano started the race and reported the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang was free most of the way through the corner’ prompting a chassis adjustment on the first pit stop at lap 25. Unfortunately’ two lug nuts fell off the left rear wheel’ forcing Logano to return to pit road and restart at the tail of the field. Logano would run ultra-competitive lap times and work back to the 15th position before the end of Stage 1.
  • In Stage 2′ a caution flag at lap 93 would allow Logano to bring the Pennzoil Mustang to pit road for a fuel-only stop. This resulted in a fifth-place finish at the end of the stage and six valuable stage points. Logano reported that he was still tight in dirty air’ prompting the team to add tape and make a trackbar change.
  • In the final stage’ Logano continued to run in or near the top-10′ reporting he was still too tight in dirty air. At lap 214′ crew chief Paul Wolfe called Logano to pit road for potentially the final stop of the race where the team made wedge and air pressure adjustments to the Pennzoil Ford. After the final stop’ Logano reported that he felt a loose wheel on the Pennzoil Ford but remained on the track battling for a top-10 finish as the laps clicked away.

 
Quote: “We were better in the daytime for sure. We didn’t capitalize in the first stage with having a loose wheel and starting in the back after that in that stage. We were able to drive back through the field and that was our best run with the Pennzoil Ford. It seemed like as the track cooled off’ we lost speed to the field for multiple reasons.”

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