Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Recap - Daytona
July 7, 2019
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400
Date: July 7, 2019
No. 2 Stars, Stripes and Lites Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 39th
Laps Completed: 85/127
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-87)
- Brad Keselowski's hopes for a strong finish in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 ended against the frontstretch wall. Keselowski was running eighth in the midst of a three-wide pack when a bump from Kevin Harvick sent him into the wall on lap 82 of the 160-lap event. Keselowski made another xx laps as the Stars, Stripes and Lites team valiantly tried to make repairs but the damage was too much and he parked his No. 2 Ford Mustang for the day on lap 85. The driver of the No. 2 Ford Mustang was credited with a 39th-place finish in the final rundown. He is fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 87 points behind leader Joey Logano.
- Rain and severe weather plagued on track activities throughout the weekend in Daytona. Heavy rain moved the start of the race from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon and qualifying for the event was cancelled due to lightning and storms in the area. The starting lineup was set per the NASCAR rulebook, giving Keselowski the third-place starting position.
- Once the race started, Keselowski ran among the top-five for nearly all of the Stage 1. He was just a little bit free early in the race but was holding firm to third-place when he made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 36. He was fourth when the cycle was complete on lap 39. On lap 50, the final lap of the first segment, Keselowski was shuffled back to ninth thanks to being pinned to the outside of a three-wide battle for position. He lightly scraped the outside wall but still scored a ninth-place finish. Keselowski pitted for four tires and an air pressure adjustment during the stage caution on lap 52 and restarted eighth when the race went green on lap 55.
- He was running 10th when the second caution slowed the pace on lap 60. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called his drive to the pit lane for a splash of fuel but he was slow leaving the pit stall, something Keselowski immediately took responsibility for.
- He restarted 19th on lap 62 and immediately began to work his way through traffic. The driver of the Stars, Stripes and Lites Ford was back up to 10th-place by lap 72 and climbed up to third by lap 79. He was split three-wide on lap later before receiving the bump from Harvick on lap 81 that ended his afternoon.
"I know I was going straight one moment and the next moment I wasn't. It's unfortunate for the Miller Lite team. We were all two and three-wide racing and I just got tagged from the back. I know we got to three-wide at the top of three and it looks like Kevin (Harvick) gave me a real straight push. It just took off on me. The Fords were working really hard to run together and I thought we were doing really well at it, but for whatever reason the car just instantly turned there. It's a bummer for everybody, but we'll move on."
No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 12th
Laps Completed: 118/127
Laps Led: 1
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 11th (-192)
- Ryan Blaney's strong day in Sunday afternoon's Coke Zero Sugar 400 ended when he was swept up in a multi-car crash on lap 118. The driver of the BODYARMOR Ford Mustang now sits 11th NASCAR Cup Series standings, 192 points behind the leader.
- After persistent rain forced the postponement of the original start time Saturday night, Blaney and his No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang rolled from the 10th-place starting position when the race finally went green. Working with fellow Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano plus other Ford drivers, Blaney drove his way inside the top-five. He reported the balance of his Ford Mustang was loose on the both ends of the track. He took fuel-only during his first pit stop on lap 36 plus a track bar adjustment. Once returning to the track, Blaney returned to the track in sixth position when the green flag cycle of stops was complete. Using some nifty moves through the middle line of the lead pack, Blaney made his way up to third when the stage ended on lap 50. Under the stage break, the driver of the BODYARMOR Ford pitted on lap 52 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, reporting his Ford Mustang was "edgy" in traffic.
- Blaney started inside the top-five when Stage 2 went green on lap 55 and quickly made his way towards the front. He would return to pit road on lap 60 under caution for fuel-only to be able to make it safely to the finish of the stage. When the race went green, the driver of the No. 12 Ford Mustang was shuffled to the middle and top lanes but he made a late charge to finish 12th when the segment ended on lap 100. Blaney pitted on lap 102 for four tires and fuel plus an air pressure adjustment to aid a loose handling condition.
- The High Point, N.C. native restarted in the top-10 when Stage 3 went green on lap 105. But on lap 118, while running on the high side of the track, Blaney was caught up in a multi-car pileup which ended his promising day.
"It's one thing if you're kind of pushing each other and someone gets turned, something like that, but when you just chop somebody like that, from what I hear, it's frustrating, especially since we were rows back. In both Daytona races this year we've been four rows back in the deal and just get absolutely destroyed. There was nowhere to go and it wasn't of our doing, but that's the way it goes."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 1st – Field set per the NASCAR Rulebook
Stage 1: 1st – Seventh stage with of the season
Stage 2: 10th
Laps Completed: 127/127
Laps Led: 40
Point Standings (Ahead of Second): 1st (+18)
- Joey Logano started from the pole in Sunday afternoon's Coke Zero Sugar 400 after qualifying was cancelled on Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. Logano flexed the muscle in his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang showed early and often in Stage 1. He led 35 of 50 laps in the opening segment of the race but it took a thrilling pass on the final lap to score the stage win, his seventh of the 2019 season. But his hopes for a win vanished when he was swept up in a late-race incident while running third, forcing him to settle for a 25th-place finish. Logano leaves Daytona with an 18-point lead the NASCAR Cup Series point standings over Kyle Busch.
- At the start of the race, Logano worked the inside line with drafting help from Ford Performance teammate Kevin Harvick and Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski. A nine-car, single file draft formed on the inside lane by lap 10 which allowed the leaders to pull away from the pack. Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang was a little loose while being pushed and led until green flag pit stops began on lap 36, when he made a fuel-only stop. He rejoined the field in second-place behind Harvick where he rode until the final lap of the stage. At the entrance to Turn 3, Logano built a strong run and dove to Harvick's inside and beat his rival to the finish line to grab his seventh stage victory of the 2019 season.
- He restarted in the fifth position when the race went green on lap 55 but a caution just five laps later brought the leaders back to pit road for a splash of fuel to finish Stage 2. A multiple car accident on lap 84 brought out the fourth caution of the race and gave Logano the opportunity to pit for four fresh tires and fuel. The driver of the No. 22 Ford Mustang was forced to settle for the 10th position when Stage 2 concluded on lap 100. During the stage caution, he reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was driving well, but he was stuck behind cars that weren't handling as well. Crew chief Todd Gordon made the call during the stage caution for a two-tire stop, which gave Logano the lead when the race went green on lap 105.
- The restart wasn't kind to Logano. He was shuffled out of line and had to go into offensive mode to work with their fellow Ford drivers. Unfortunately, he couldn't avoid an 18-car pileup on lap 120. The No. 22 team made extensive repairs to their rear of the car before a lighting delay put a lengthy stop to the action on track on lap 127. Heavy rains and lightning then moved into the area forcing NASCAR officials to end the race, leaving Logano with a 25th place finish.
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"It was a bummer for sure. We had a really fast Shell-Pennzoil Ford and I thought we were going to get through that one. The front of our Mustang did, but the back just got tagged and that sent us into the wall. Proud of my guys and their attitude though. We brought it to pit road and they fixed it the best they could. We were going to try to make minimum speed with it. We had a great car and all the credit goes to everyone at Team Penske for that."
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