Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Homestead
June 15, 2020
Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Race: Dixie Vodka 400
Date: June 14, 2020
No. 2 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 18th
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 1
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-51)
- Brad Keselowski made the most of a late-race pass around Clint Bowyer to score a 10th-place finish in the Dixie Vodka 400 Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The driver of the No. 2 MoneyLion Ford Mustang reeled off his seventh consecutive top-10 finish, dating back to the race at Darlington Raceway on May 20. Behind his sixth top-10 finish in 13 starts at Homestead, Keselowski moved up to fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, now 51 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- Multiple delays for lightning and rain pushed back the start of the race and brought out a red flag on lap 33. The race finally resumed just past 8:00 p.m. ET with Keselowski running in sixth position. The balance on the No. 2 MoneyLion Ford Mustang was free on corner entry and too tight in the middle of the turns but Keselowski held on to finish sixth when Stage 1 ended on lap 80. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 83 and restarted eighth when the race returned to green on lap 87.
- Throughout Stage 2, Keselowski said the balance on the No. 2 Mustang was too tight. He made two pit stops during the segments (laps 120 and 152) but the adjustments didn't drastically improve the handling of the MoneyLion Ford. Keselowski was credited with an 18th-place finish when Stage 2 concluded on lap 160. After he pitted for four tires and another chassis adjustment during the stage caution, Keselowski took the green flag in 16th place when the race restarted on lap 167.
- Over the final 100 laps of the race, Keselowski steadily worked his way toward the top-10 and the No. 2 team, led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins, continued to improve the balance on the MoneyLion Ford. Keselowski was running 14th when the final green flag pit stop cycle was completed on lap 230, 37 laps from the finish. As the closing laps of the race began to wind down, Keselowski chased Bowyer, looking to secure a top-10 finish. On lap 264, just three laps from the finish, Keselowski passed Bowyer for the position to keep his recent streak of top-10 finishes intact.
"It was a good comeback for our MoneyLion Ford team tonight. We were really tight for most of the race but Jeremy (Bullins) and the guys kept working hard and we came away with a top-10."
No. 12 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 70
Point Standings (Behind First): 5th (-52)
- Ryan Blaney started 11th and finished third in Sunday's Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway driving the No. 12 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang. Sunday's effort marked Blaney's best finish in five career starts at the 1.5-mile South Florida track and his fifth top-five result in the last six races.
- After lightning delayed the race several times Sunday evening, Blaney drove his way into the top-five by lap 30 and to the race lead by lap 37. He held the lead through lap 75 when Denny Hamlin got by Blaney as he was battling a tight-handling Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang. Blaney would hold on for a second-place finish in Stage 1.
- As Stage 2 began, Blaney restarted in third place but he quickly worked his way back to the lead on lap 91. As green flag pit stops cycled through, Blaney fell back to second behind Hamlin. With the balance on the No. 12 Ford Mustang still not to his liking, Blaney dropped two spots late to bring home a fourth-place result in Stage 2.
- Blaney began the final stage of the 267-lap event in fourth place. He worked his way back to second on lap 180 and briefly reclaimed the lead on lap 194. A track bar adjustment on a lap 217 pit stop then brought the Menards/Jack Links Ford to life. Blaney began reeling in the leaders but try as he may, the High Point, NC native would have to settle for a third-place finish.
- Blaney now sits fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 52 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
"When we came off pit road after that last green flag stop we were a ways behind those two guys and we made up a lot of ground, tons of ground on them, and just got to them and everyone is running the wall. You just get tight, especially in three and four. One and two there are multiple lanes, but three and four if you weren't on the fence when you got 15 laps on your stuff, you were just tight and gonna hit the fence, so that made it hard for us to kind of go once we got there. The 8 was the same way with me. He kind of got there and stalled too, but I'm proud of the group. We had really good short run speed early in the race and I thought by the end we had really good long run speed, so we crossed over which is a good effort by the Jack Links team."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 20th
Stage 2: 25th
Laps Completed: 265/267
Laps Led: 27
Point Standings (Behind First): 3rd (-29)
- Joey Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil team experienced a challenging race Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Logano finished 27th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang after he started second and led 27 laps in the first stage. Throughout the event, despite numerous air pressure and chassis adjustments, the team was unable to get the No. 22 Ford Mustang to turn well in the center of the corners.
- At the drop of the green flag, Logano used a push from teammate Brad Keselowski to grab the lead in the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Unfortunately, lightning brought a delay of over two hours after just five laps. Following a second lightning delay, the Shell-Pennzoil crew elected to make major adjustments to help the car's tight-handling condition. After stopping to make the changes, Logano's car suffered slight nose damage exiting pit road. Unfortunately, the tight handling on the No. 22 Ford persisted and Logano dropped to 20th by the end of the stage.
- Through the second stage, Logano continued to battle an extremely tight No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, even after the crew took time to repair any potential damage to the nose suffered during the Stage 1 pit stop. Logano fell one lap down to the leaders following green flag stops during the second stage of the race.
- The struggles continued when Logano and Ryan Newman made contact later in the event, which resulted in right-rear and left-front damage on the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. Logano eventually fell two laps down with the ill-handling No. 22 Ford before he finished the race in the 27th position.
"We just really struggled tonight, even when we were leading early in the race. The team made a lot of adjustments the first two stages and we just couldn't ever get the front tires to work and turn the center. We'll regroup and head to Talladega next Sunday."
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