Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report
August 5, 2019
Track: Watkins Glen International
Race: Go Bowling at The Glen
Date: August 4, 2019
No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 28th
Stage 2: 6th
Laps Completed: 90/90
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-123)
- Brad Keselowski scored a ninth-place finish in the Go Bowling at The Glen Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen International. Keselowski claimed his 12th top-10 finish of the 2019 and his sixth in 10 start at the New York State road course. He remains sixth in NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 25 points behind fifth-place Martin Truex Jr. and trails leader Kyle Busch by 123.
- Keselowski earned the 10th-place starting position during qualifying on Saturday evening. The driver of the Autotrader Ford Mustang fell in line eighth on the initial start. He ran there until he made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 17, taking four tires and a wedge adjustment. Keselowski needed rear grip everywhere except for the center of Turn 2 where his Mustang was too tight. He was credited with a 28th-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 20. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called his driver to the pit lane during the stage caution on lap 22 for a splash of fuel and lined up seventh for the restart on lap 24.
- Keselowski ran among the top-10 throughout Stage 2 despite struggling at the exit of Turn 1. He benefitted from two late cautions and a good restart on lap 36 in the segment to score a sixth-place finish. A spin by Bubba Wallace forced Stage 2 to finish under caution. Keselowski did not pit during the stage caution, keeping track position for the start of the final stage on lap 43.
- He briefly ran inside the top-five after the green flag but was sixth when he pitted under green on lap 58. Wolfe made the call for four tires and Keselowski was sixth when the pit cycle was complete. The fourth and final caution on lap 63 set up a 25-lap run to the finish when the green flag waved on lap 65 with Keselowski, who didn't pit, in sixth position.
- The final stretch of green flag racing didn't work to Keselowski's advantage. He was involved in a spirited battle with Matt DiBenedetto for seventh before finally yielding the position on lap 86 of the 90-lap event. One lap later Kyle Larson found a way past, but Keselowski held off Kurt Busch over the final two laps to claim a ninth-place finish.
"Our Autotrader Ford was a fifth to tenth-place kind of car all weekend and we ended up ninth. I thought we could have been a little bit better at the end if I would have done a few things different, but nowhere near the speed we needed to run with the Gibbs cars or the 9 car (Chase Elliott), so we made the most of the weekend with what we had."
No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 32nd
Stage 2: 9th
Laps Completed: 90/90
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-218)
- Ryan Blaney battled back from starting at the rear of the field to bring home fifth-place finish Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen International. Blaney claimed his best finish in four Cup starts at Watkins Glen and his first top-five. He racked up his seventh top-five of the 2019 season and remains 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, seven points behind ninth-place Aric Almirola and 218 points behind points leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney qualified 19th for Sunday's 90-lap event but was forced to drop the rear of the field prior to the green flag. The team found a part bent in the rear of the PPG Ford during inspection prior to the race and made the necessary repairs.
- Blaney wasted no time motoring through traffic, driving his multi-colored Ford Mustang into the top-20 by lap 14. He would report to crew chief Jeremy Bullins the balance of the PPG Ford was tight, especially through the esses. Blaney pitted under green on lap 16 of the 20-lap Stage 1 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He returned to the track and finished 32nd when the opening stage concluded. During the stage caution, he made a fuel-only stop on lap 22 and restarted 14th on lap 24.
- Once again Blaney wasted little time slicing his way through traffic when the race went green, moving inside the top-10 on lap 34. He reported the balance of his car was improved from the first run, but still tight overall. Bullins made the call to race for stage points with Blaney claiming a ninth-place finish when the second stage concluded on lap 40.
- Blaney restarted inside the top-10 when Stage 3 went green on lap 43. He would have a slight off-track with his PPG Ford causing grass to get caught in the nose of his Ford. The High Point, N.C. was able to fall behind then ninth-place Alex Bowman to allow the grass to be sucked-off the nose of his car.
- He was running fifth when he made his final stop of the afternoon on lap 58, receiving four tires, fuel and an additional air pressure adjustment. He rejoined the race in seventh position and made one more push to the front during the final 25-lap green flag run. On lap 71, he grabbed sixth position from teammate Brad Keselowski. Four laps later the No. 12 PPG Ford flashed by Kevin Harvick to move into fifth where he would remain for the remainder of the race.
"Our PPG Ford was fast. We started dead last and took a lot of time to get up through there. We did some pit strategy stuff and got a little bit better throughout the day and got to fifth there. I might have been able to get to fourth, but it would have been tough. It was a good job by everybody for having a fast car and ended up pretty decent."
No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 29th
Stage 2: 27th
Laps Completed: 90/90
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Ahead of Second): 2nd (-13)
- Joey Logano had an afternoon filled with frustrations on Sunday at Watkins Glen International. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford Mustang was credited with a 23rd-place finish in the Go Bowling at The Glen. The tough day also shuffled Logano to second-place in the in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 13 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Logano started 21st but was inside the top 15 by lap 4 of the 90-lap race. As the early laps of the race ticked off, he reported that the No. 22 Mustang was lacking drive-off on corner exit. Despite the handling woes, Logano worked his way up to 14th position when he made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 17 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. Logano was credited with a 29th-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 20. Under the stage caution, the No. 22 team elected to pit Logano for fuel only, lining him up 14th for the restart on lap 24.
- Less than a lap later, Logano damaged the right-front of his Mustang as the tightly bunched pack roared through the bus stop corner. The team pitted twice to repair damage to the right-front fender area and toe (front end alignment). The damage certainly did nothing to aid the handling woes of the MoneyLion Mustang and Logano was credited with 27th-place when Stage 2 ended on lap 40.
- On lap 48, Logano reported that the MoneyLion Ford Mustang had gone extremely loose on all the right turns and was still lacking drive off the corners. A few laps later he added that he was tight on the left turns. Crew chief Todd Gordon called Logano to pit road on lap 58 for a four-tire change with a wedge adjustment to improve the handling characteristics.
- The fourth and final caution slowed the pace on lap 63 and Logano pitted for a chassis adjustment, taking no tires or fuel on the stop. He restarted 26th position on lap 65. Try as he might, Logano was only able to advance up to the 23rd position over the final 25 laps.
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"We struggled a bit throughout the weekend getting the handling right on our MoneyLion Ford Mustang. We fought it throughout the race, but what really hurt our chances was the damage right after that restart. Fortunately, we race at Michigan next weekend and that's a track that's been really good to us in the past."
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