No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 19th
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 0
Final Point Standings: 6th
- Brad Keselowski scored a 10th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway in his final race for Team Penske. The finish was his 16th top-10 finish of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and allowed the driver of the Discount Tire Ford to secure sixth in the series driver standings.
- Keselowski started 11th and wrestled a tight-handling Mustang throughout Stage 1. He and crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted to stay out during the second caution and restarted alongside race leader Ryan Blaney on lap 20. Unfortunately, the Discount Tire Ford was a handful for Keselowski for the remainder of the segment. As the stage neared its conclusion, Keselowski took care of his car and was credited with a 19th-place finish when the stage ended on lap 75. Keselowski pitted for four tires and fuel during the stage caution and restarted 16th on lap 83.
- In Stage 2, Keselowski clawed his way back into contention in the Cup Series finale. Adjustments by Bullins paid off and Keselowski scored a seventh-place finish when the stage ended on lap 190. The balance on the No. 2 Mustang was good on the long run but he was too free to be effective on a short run. Keselowski stopped for four tires and a round of adjustments during the stage caution and restarted ninth on lap 197.
- The third and final stage was a seesaw affair for Keselowski. He was running ninth when he pitted under green on lap 241. Six laps later, the caution flag waved, pinning Keselowski a lap down. He took the wave around during the yellow and restarted 22nd on lap 254 but on the lead lap. From there he worked his way back to the front. With two laps to go he passed teammate Joey Logano for 10th, collecting his top-10.
Quote: “We couldn’t really catch any breaks today with our Discount Tire Ford. The first stage we stayed out and got that long run and kind of got ate up. We recovered from that and got ourselves back in the hunt, back up to sixth or seventh, and we pitted under green a little early to try to pick up some spots, but the caution came out and trapped us a lap down. We were 23rd with like 50 to go and we drove back up through to 10th. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
No. 12 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 33
Final Point Standings (behind first): 7th
- Ryan Blaney wrapped up the 2021 NASCAR Series season by finishing fourth at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The finish secures the seventh position for Blaney in the Cup Series point standings.
- After the start of the race, Blaney moved to the lead, staying out on used tires as most of the field pitted early in the opening stage. After leading 33 laps, the tires on the No. 12 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang began to fade, resulting in Blaney fading back to the eighth position before Stage 1 concluded.
- During the second stage, Blaney found the handling to be slightly better on the Menards/Jack Links Ford, especially in the resin compound, despite still be a little too tight on the long run. Blaney finished the second stage in the fifth position, reporting he needed just a little more to avoid the tight condition on free-rolling.
- In the final stage, the handling was better for Blaney with only a slightly loose and exit condition persisting with the Menards/Jack Links Mustang running inside the top-10. Blaney pitted at lap 248 with a caution flag being displayed once he was on pit road, allowing him to remain on the lead lap and cycle forward the rest of the leaders hit pit road.
- Blaney would use the changes to power forward and continue to run inside the top-five as the race wound to a finish. At the checkered flag, he would wind up in the fourth position.
Quote: “We had a good race. There was a group of us that were kind of behind the top-4 guys that were racing pretty much all day. We had a good Mustang there on the last run and we were able to get up to fourth. I am really proud of that effort. It was a really good last run for Todd (Gordon) before he hands it up. I wish it was a win. I can’t thank him enough for the last couple of years and I can’t thank this whole group enough for this year. It has been a lot of fun. Hopefully, we will be in the Championship 4 next year.”
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 9th
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 0
Final Point Standings (behind first): 8th
- Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang earned an 11th-place finish on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway, as the NASCAR Cup Series season wrapped up at the Arizona track. Logano’s finished secured the eighth position in the Cup Series season point standings.
- In the opening stage, Logano battled a car that very tight in turn 1 while struggling with exit security. The team pitted once during the opening stage, adjusting air pressure and trackbar with Logano ultimately finishing Stage 1 in the 13th position.
- In the second stage, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil crew had improved the fire-off speed on the car, but that he still lacked long run speed as the tires began to wear. Logano battled through the stage and finished in the ninth position.
- Logano would pit under caution at lap 250, again receiving an air pressure and trackbar adjustment with the team continuing to work on the handling to find the center turn, especially in the resin compound. Logano would continue to run top-10 lap times for the remainder of the race.
- As the race wound to a conclusion, Logano would slip outside of the top-10 and cross the finish line in the 11th position. The finish resulted in an eighth-place finish in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.
Quote: “It wasn’t the finish we wanted for the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – not the way we wanted to end the season. We just couldn’t compete for the win today, but all in all, it was a decent end to the season. We just couldn’t get the handle right on the car. It’s sad to see the Gen 6 car go, but I’m excited for the NextGen car and to get things going for next season. I’m not much for an off-season – I’d just like to keep racing.”
Team Penske PR