Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Dover
October 6, 2019
Track: Dover International Speedway
Race: Drydene 400
Date: October 6, 2019
No. 2 Wurth Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 2: 9th
Laps Completed: 399/400
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-43)
Brad Keselowski scored an 11th-place finish in the Drydene 400 Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the Wurth Ford Mustang leaves Dover sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 43 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and 20 ahead of the eighth-place cutoff position.
Keselowski qualified 16th and spent much of the Stage 1 running just outside the top-10, battling a tight handling condition during the first run. He pitted under green on lap 78 for four tires and air pressure adjustments. The changes improved the balance on the No. 2 Mustang on the short run but the tight conditioned returned late in the run. Keselowski was credited with a 12th-place when the first stage ended on lap 120. He made a stop during the stage caution on lap 123 for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Speedy service on the pit lane by the No. 2 crew moved Keselowski up to 10th-place when the race went green on lap 127.
He fell in line 11th on the restart and remained there until he made another green flag stop on lap 185 for four tires and air pressure adjustments. Quick work on the pit lane moved Keselowski up to ninth-place after the cycle was complete and he held firm to the position until Stage 2 ended on lap 240. He pitted under the stage caution on lap 244 for four tires and thanks to another quick stop by the Wurth team, Keselowski moved up to eighth position. But before the race went green, Keselowski made slight contact with Clint Bowyer’s car on the backstretch while cleaning his tires for the restart, putting a wrinkle in the right-rear corner of the No. 2 Mustang.
He restarted eighth on lap 248 but as the run progressed the Wurth Ford was still struggling to turn. Keselowski was running 11th when another cycle of green flag stops began. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called his driver to pit road on lap 319 for another four-tire stop under green. He emerged from the pit sequence in ninth-position, thanks to another solid stop by his team.
As the laps ticked off and the race neared conclusion, Keselowski fought hard to stay ahead of race leader Kyle Larson – perhaps a bit too hard. Larson found a way by Keselowski on lap 361 and brought along both Kurt Busch and Bowyer as well, dropping him back to 11th. Keselowski radioed the team and said that he had simply pushed too hard early in the run, punishing the front tires in the process. He was credited with 11th-place finish the final rundown.
"We had an okay day. We held serve. We came into the weekend 19 points up on the cutoff and we leave 20 points up with two big races in front of us. If we can have a great day at Talladega it would be huge. We just didn’t have the speed most of the weekend that we wanted to have."
No. PPG Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 8th
Laps Completed: 297/400
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 12th (-85)
A promising day for Ryan Blaney ended in the garage with mechanical issues on lap 297. The driver of the PPG Ford Mustang now sits 12th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 85 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and 22 points behind the eighth-place cutoff line held by William Byron.
Blaney started 10th and reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that the PPG Ford was extremely tight. He would fall to 12th position by lap 20, but then pass Erik Jones for 11th on lap 50. Blaney would make his first pit stop of the day on lap 76 for four tires and fuel along with a track bar and air pressure adjustment. Strong pit service got Blaney out in the 10th position and he managed to hold on until the conclusion of Stage 1. He pitted during the stage caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, reporting that the PPG Ford was looser on that second run.
Restarting ninth in Stage 2, Blaney would ride in the that very position for much of the stage. He reported the PPG Ford was more stable on entry, but looser off the corners. He would pit again for four tires and fuel, along with an air pressure and wedge adjustment. Strong service again by the PPG crew gained Blaney one spot under green flag pit stops coming out eighth, where he would eventually finish the Stage 2. Under the second and final stage caution, Blaney pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The No. 12 crew once again did their jobs on pit road gaining Blaney a spot up to seventh for the restart on lap 248.
Blaney would quickly fall back to eighth shortly after the restart but would quickly get back around teammate Brad Keselowski for seventh place. Unfortunately, on lap 294 Blaney would key the radio saying he had no brakes left in his PPG Ford. He would come to pit road on lap 296 and head straight to the garage. The team was not able to repair the mechanical issues and subsequently retired from the race.
"We had a solid day going with our PPG Ford. Several playoff drivers had issues and we thought this could be a great opportunity to take advantage. Unfortunately, we had our own mechanical problems. We’ll put this behind us and try to get back in contention next week at Talladega."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 36th
Stage 2: 36th
Laps Completed: 375/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Ahead of Second): 9th (-63)
Joey Logano’s chances at winning Sunday’s 400-mile race at Dover International Speedway were derailed before they ever got going as a mechanical failure on the second of three parade laps forced the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion to the garage before the green flag flew, resulting in a 34th-place finish.
While preparing to come to the start of the race, Logano radioed to crew chief Todd Gordon that he felt something amiss with his Ford Mustang. After a quick diagnosis on pit road, Gordon instructed Logano to drive to the garage for repairs. Quick work by the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team got Logano back in the race in the 36th position on lap 24, but on a day with few caution flags there was no opportunity to make a dent in the lost laps.
Once the repairs had been made, Logano was amongst the fastest cars on the track for many of the remaining laps. His biggest handling issue was a tight-handling condition in traffic, of which there is a lot of at the one-mile concrete oval.
Logano was able to make up two positions before crossing the finish line in the 34th position. The finish places Logano just inside the cut line for the Round of 8 with two races remaining at Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway, two tracks where Logano has excelled.
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"Something back there wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, so we had to fix that and we were 20-something laps down from there. You can’t make up 20 laps, that is for sure. Maybe you can get one or two back if things go right. It was a bummer. Things happen. I guess the good news is that I think we are the last one in right now. We definitely used our mulligan. We used the playoff points we accumulated, we just have to be perfect now. We have two really good race tracks coming up though. Talladega is arguably one of our best race tracks and I would say Kansas is as well. We just have to be perfect from here."
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