Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Bristol
August 17, 2019
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Date: August 17, 2019
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 8th
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 91
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-138)
- Brad Keselowski scored a third-place finish in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, his eighth top-five of the 2019 season. Saturday night's finish ended a streak of seven races where Keselowski had finished no better than 16th at the .533-mile Tennessee speedway. The driver of the Miller Lite Ford Mustang remains sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 138 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Keselowski started 13th in the 500-lap event and climbed into the top-10 by lap 64. He made his first pit stop on lap 81, needing grip, especially on corner exit. He restarted ninth on lap 87 and managed to work his way up to eighth-place when Stage 1 ended on lap 125. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 130 for four tires and fuel and restarted seventh on lap 134.
- He was running eighth when the third caution on lap 191 set up a round of pit stops under yellow. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for four tires and no adjustments and Keselowski restarted eighth on lap 192. The No. 2 Mustang was too free during the next run and Keselowski pitted under caution on lap 245 for four tires, just five laps from the end of the stage. He restarted 10th just two laps from the end of the stage and used a good restart to score an eighth-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 250. Keselowski stayed out during the stage caution and restarted third when the race went green on lap 259.
- The adjustments by Wolfe brought the Miller Lite Ford to life. Keselowski grabbed the lead on lap 265 and held the top spot for the next 85 laps. On lap 314, Keselowski made contact with Paul Menard off Turn 2, damaging the nose of the No. 2 Mustang. He and Kyle Busch waged an entertaining battle for the lead until lap 360. Keselowski pitted for four tires during the seventh caution on lap 366 and restarted third on lap 370.
- A multiple car accident on lap 374 brought out the eighth and final caution. Keselowski restarted fifth on lap 387 and was up to third by lap 402. He was running third on lap 452 when he was pinned behind Menard, briefly falling to fourth. Keselowski passed Chase Elliott on lap 456 to regain third but couldn't get closer to the front, crossing the finish in third position.
Quotes: "It was a decent finish for our Miller Lite Ford. We led a lot of laps and that's something to be proud of plus the pit crew did a great job all night. The nose of my car without a hole in it would have really good. We seemed to fall off a little bit on the long run and then got in the back of some lap traffic and put a hole in the nose, and that knocked a little bit of speed out of it. That was all she wrote for us. The top and the bottom came in and it was two-groove racing like we've seen here the last three or four years. We had a shot at winning."
No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 14th
Laps Completed: 499/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-246)
- A rollercoaster night for Ryan Blaney ended with 10th-place finish in Saturday night's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the Dent Wizard Ford Mustang remains ninth in NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 55 points behind eighth-place Kurt Busch and 246 behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney qualified 12th for Saturday night's 500-lap event at the .533-mile short track. The High Point, N.C. native drove his way up to 10th within the first 10 laps using the bottom lane. Soon after, he reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his Ford Mustang was loose and needed lateral grip.
- Blaney worked his way through traffic up to eighth position by the first caution on lap 81. He made his first pit stop of the day two laps later, pitting for four tires along with an air pressure adjustment. Good pit service by the Dent Wizard crew moved him up to sixth for the restart on lap 87, where he would remain until Stage 1 finished on lap 125. The Dent Wizard crew opted to change four tires during the stage caution plus an air pressure adjustment.
- The race went green on lap 134 and Blaney reported his Ford Mustang fired-off tight. The No. 12 Mustang improved as the run went along and by lap 140, Blaney was up to third after passing Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson. Blaney said his Mustang continued to be tight center and snappy loose off the corners which caused him to fall back to fifth when the third caution came out on lap 191. The Dent Wizard crew made a four-tire stop plus an air pressure adjustment during the caution. He restarted sixth and made some nifty moves slicing his way through traffic, working his way from sixth to second by lap 200.
- On lap 240, Blaney made contact with Kyle Weatherman's No. 52 down the backstretch which caused right-front fender damage. He steadily fell back through the field before the fifth caution on lap 244 slowed the pace just six laps from the completion of Stage 2. Bullins made the call to pit for four tires along with a wedge and air pressure adjustment. The race went green with two laps remaining in the stage and Blaney was credited with a 14th-place finish.
- Blaney restarted ninth when Stage 3 began on lap 259. He lost a spot to Clint Bowyer on lap 300, falling back to 10th position and soon reported a loss of front turn with the Dent Wizard Ford. The seventh caution on lap 364 brought Blaney back to pit road for four tires and additional air pressure adjustments to help the tight condition.
- On lap 374, Blaney made contact with Daniel Hemric which resulted in a cut right-front tire down on the No. 12 Mustang and caused a multi-car crash in Turn 1. Fortunately, the damage proved to just be cosmetic and after multiple pit stops for repairs, Blaney returned to the track still on the lead lap.
- The final 113 laps were run under green, a scenario that worked to Blaney's advantage. He drove back into the top-10 by lap 420 and stayed there for the remainder of the race. Blaney remains ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 55 behind eighth-place Kurt Busch and 246 behind leader Kyle Busch.
Quote: "We had a pretty good Dent Wizard Ford today. I thought the bottom was going be a little bit more competitive. I cut the right-front tire down on the restart and plowed into a couple of them. We got it fixed and I was glad we were able to come back. I would have liked a caution to see what we could have done. I'm just glad we were able to salvage a decent day. It could have been a lot worse."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 30th
Stage 2: 20th
Laps Completed: 497/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-39)
- Joey Logano scored a 16th-place in Saturday night's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. An unscheduled pit stop under green on lap 69 of the 500-lap race dropped Logano three laps down but he rallied back onto the lead lap as the race entered its final quarter, only to lose distance when he was involved in another incident on lap 364. He is second in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 39 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Logano started 11th and wasted no time moving inside the top-10, reaching the seventh position by lap 20. By lap 50, spotter TJ Majors continued to update Logano through the opening laps about the changing groove around the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway. By lap 50, Logano had dropped back to ninth, fighting a tight Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang.
- Unfortunately, a sidewall failure prompted an unscheduled stop for Logano under green on lap 69 and after taking four tires and fuel, Logano returned to the track three laps down. A caution on lap 81 gave Logano the opportunity to take the wave around, regaining one of the laps. During the stage caution on lap 127, Logano pitted for a significant trackbar adjustment to free up the No. 22 Mustang.
- Logano restarted 29th, two laps down, when Stage 2 went green on lap 134. Through the opening laps of the second stage, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was now loose side. The third caution on lap 191 Logano the opportunity to take the wave around again, making up another lap to the leaders. A caution at lap 214 gave Logano the opportunity to pit for four tires and an air pressure adjustment to battle for the free pass position.
- Logano ran well enough during the remainder of Stage 2 to earn the free pass back to the lead lap when the segment concluded on lap 250. He reported that his corner exit was as tight as it had been at the beginning of the race. Logano pitted under the stage caution for four tires plus a wedge adjustment to aid the ill handling No. 22 Mustang. The race went green on lap 259 with Logano in 20th position.
- He was up to 16th position by lap 321 but reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang was still too tight. Just when things were moving in a positive direction, Logano was involved in a three-car incident at lap 364, significantly damaging the nose of his Ford Mustang. The team pitted multiple times under caution to make repairs and returned to the track one lap down.
- Despite the damage, Logano ran inside the top 20 as the laps continued to click off, falling a second lap down on lap 437. He stayed in 16th position for the remainder of the race, wrestling a tight-handling Mustang during the closing laps of the race.
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Quote: "It was a tough night for our Shell-Pennzoil team. We started the race tight and then we had the right-front tire go down. We were able get back on the lead lap and kept making adjustments to get better. But once we got the damage late in the race, that pretty much sealed our fate."
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