Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report
September 8, 2019
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard
Date: September 8, 2019
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 38th
Stage 2: 38th
Laps Completed: 48/160
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-21)
- Brad Keselowski's afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ended much too early. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang collided with Erik Jones while racing for seventh position on lap 49 of the 160-lap event. The two made contact in between Turns 1 and 2. Keselowski slapped the outside wall in Turn 2 before sliding across the racetrack and into a tire barrier. While he emerged from the incident unscathed, the No. 2 Mustang was damaged beyond repair. He was credited with a 38th-place finish in the final rundown.
- The afternoon began with great promise for the team. Keselowski qualified sixth during time trials on Sunday morning and ran solidly among the top-five in the early laps of Stage1. The balance on the Discount Tire Ford was free at the beginning of a run then steadily built tight as the run progressed. He pitted during the second caution on lap 43 for four tires and a chassis adjustment but, unfortunately, his day ended just five laps later.
- Keselowski will enter the NASCAR Playoffs as the sixth seed in the standings, 21 points behind the leader.
"We had new tires and we were racing some cars that didn't have new tires and wanted to make the pass there and got really tight to the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and lost the nose in the air. I was trying to leave room and probably came down on Erik (Jones) more than I thought I did and he got real loose. No air on my ca and I hit the wall there. There is this spot on the wall with just an atrocious angle. I don't know what that spot is for but it does not need to be there, but we found it. That is how racing goes. It is what it is and I am glad I am okay. It was just a tough day for everyone on the Discount Tire Ford team."
No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 19
Point Standings (behind first): 12th (-41)
- Ryan Blaney started ninth and finished seventh in Sunday afternoon's Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard in the No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang. Blaney led 19 laps on the day and will be begin the NASCAR Playoffs next week from the 12th position in points.
- At the drop of the green flag, Blaney jumped to seventh from his ninth starting position. He reported that the Wabash Ford was a little loose, especially in turn 1. On lap 13, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called the No. 12 Ford Mustang to the pits for two right side tires. Blaney would line up for the restart in the fourth position. Another caution on lap 43 would bring Blaney back to pit road for tires, fuel and adjustments. He would restart sixth for a quick three-lap run to the finish of Stage 1. Gaining two spots in turn 1 and 2 on the outside lane, Blaney would move from sixth to fourth where he would finish Stage 1.
- Blaney would stay out under the stage caution and restart third when Stage 2 began on lap 56. A strong restart would move the High Point, NC native up from fourth to second. He would report the balance of the Wabash Ford would swing too loose side on entry and tight center. Blaney would attempt to catch leader Kevin Harvick, but the fast pace would take a toll on the front tires, causing him to fall back to third. He would come to pit road on lap 86 for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment and rejoin in the third position. Stage 2 would finish under the caution, with Blaney being scored in the third position.
- Stage 3 began with Blaney in the third position. After a caution on lap 106, he would restart second on lap 111. Utilizing the outside lane on the restart, Blaney managed to pass Kevin Harvick for the lead on lap 112 and pull out a sizable lead over the next 19 laps. The Wabash National crew would call Blaney to pit road on lap 130, one lap after Harvick. Unfortunately, the caution flew on lap 130 for an accident by Kyle Larson. When the pits opened Blaney pitted for tires, fuel and a wedge and air pressure adjustment.
- Blaney would restart this time on the bottom lane. Try as he might Blaney would attempt to get back around Harvick, but instead would lose spots as the race came to its conclusion. Blaney would come home in the seventh position, an Indianapolis career-best and his 12th top-10 finish of 2019. Blaney will begin the NASCAR Playoffs in the 12th position, one point behind Erik Jones and three points ahead of William Byron.
"We had a really fast Wabash National Ford Mustang today. I really felt like we had a car capable of winning. The caution during the cycle of pit stops really cost us track position. I tried my hardest to try getting back to the front, but just couldn't get back to the Kevin (Harvick). I feel like this team is hitting its peak at the right time and I'm looking forward to the Playoffs beginning next week in Las Vegas."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 11
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-17)
- Joey Logano started fourth and finished second in Sunday afternoon's Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. The driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang led 11 laps and won Stage 1 in the 160-lap, 400-mile race, securing another valuable playoff point as the regular season concluded. Logano enters the NASCAR Playoffs fifth in the driver standings, 17 points behind the leader.
- At the drop of the green flag, Logano jumped to second from his fourth place starting position, trailing race leader Kevin Harvick for the opening 12 laps. Logano reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford started the race a little tight and then took a swing to the loose-side before once again tightening back up. During the first caution on lap 13, crew chief Todd Gordon called the No. 22 Ford Mustang to the pits for right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted third on lap 15 and stayed there until he slipped to fourth on lap 39. A caution flag at Lap 43 brought several leaders to pit lane but Logano and Gordon chose to stay on the track and battle for the stage win.
- The strategy worked perfectly. Logano withstood a strong challenge from Kyle Larson to win the stage. He pitted during the stage caution and restarted in the middle of the pack when the race went green on lap 56. One lap later he was up to 14th position but soon the driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford reported he was a little free on corner entry while getting slight tight from the center off.
- With the field in the middle of a green flag pit cycle later in the stage, Kyle Busch slowed on the backstretch due to a mechanical problem. Gordon called Logano to the pits, netting the team a gain of six positions, moving Logano up to sixth place for the restart on lap 95, five laps from the end of Stage 2. He jumped up to fourth before the fifth caution on lap 97 forced the stage to finish under caution.
- Logano settled into the third position early in Stage 3, trailing race leader Ryan Blaney and second place Kevin Harvick. The seventh caution on lap 130 set the field up to pit for potentially the last pit stop of the afternoon. The Shell-Pennzoil team pitted during this caution for four tires and Logano returned to the track right behind Blaney, restarting third when the race went green on lap 134.
- Logano battled Bubba Wallace on the restart. The two made contact with Logano receiving minor damage to his right-front fender. Another yellow on lap 136 set up a restart on lap 139 with Logano rolling from the fourth position. He fared much better this time, moving up to second behind leader Harvick.
- The eighth and final caution on lap 148 gave Logano one more chance to pass Harvick. He and Harvick raced side-by-side when the race went green on lap 151 but eventually Harvick slipped by and scampered away, crossing the finish line 6.118 seconds ahead of Logano in the regular season finale.
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"Something was vibrating at the end but the 4 (Harvick) was the best car. We were the second-best car that was still running. I am proud of our Shell Pennzoil team. We needed a solid day. We have had a rough month. It was nice to be able to finish where we should and have a shot at winning the race. I was hoping for a caution and a green-white-checkered finish at the end. He was just too far up there to catch. It is a good momentum builder for the playoffs coming up. We will head into Vegas, a track we won at the last time we were there and coming off a solid finish here. We are ready to go."
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