Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Talladega
June 23, 2020
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Race: GEICO 500
Date: June 22, 2020
No. 2 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 191/191
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-49)
- Brad Keselowski scored a 19th-place finish Monday evening in the 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the Dent Wizard Ford Mustang lined up third for the NASCAR Overtime finish on lap 189 but got shuffled back into the pack shortly after the race went green. Keselowski is fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 49 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- Keselowski started sixth in the race and ran among the top five during the early laps of Stage 1, saying that the balance on the No. 2 Mustang was very respectable. He was seventh on the leaderboard when the race was halted by rain on lap 57, just three laps from the end of the stage. After a 57-minute delay, the race resumed with Stage 1 finishing under caution. Keselowski pitted on lap 61 for four tires and restarted fifth when the race restarted on lap 64.
- For much of Stage 2, Keselowski ran inside the top five and for several laps he was in line behind his Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. The only report Keselowski gave crew chief Jeremy Bullins regarding the balance on the No. 2 Mustang came under yellow on lap 115 when he said he was a little tight. Keselowski restarted third and finished fourth when the segment ended on lap 120 after a two-lap dash following the caution. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 122 for four tires. A mix of strategies among the leader shuffled Keselowski back to 13th position when the race restarted on lap 125.
- The complexion of Keselowski's race changed during a caution period with just under 50 laps to go. While running fifth at the time of the yellow, Keselowski pitted twice under caution, once on lap 143 for right-side tires and fuel and again lap 145 for left-side tires and to top off his fuel. This resulted in him restarting 23rd. By lap 167, Keselowski was up to 13th place and began to save fuel in an effort to make it to the end of the race.
- The fuel conservation strategy worked as the leaders ahead of him began to pit, Keselowski remained on the track and climbed up the leaderboard. A caution on lap 185 sent the race into NASCAR Overtime and Keselowski restarted fifth when the race went green on lap 189. Unfortunately, the restart was not kind to driver of the Dent Wizard Ford as he was shuffled outside the top 20 in just one lap. He picked up a handful of position on the final lap, crossing the finish line in 19th position.
"I blocked the wrong lane at the end of the race, which was unfortunate because I thought I had shown all race that we had a Dent Wizard Ford that could have raced for the win. I'll have to go back and look at the tape. I think it's awesome that Ryan Blaney won and I'm really happy for him."
No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 2nd
Finish: 1st (Fourth career NASCAR Cup Series win)
Laps Completed: 191/191
Laps Led: 63
Point Standings (Behind First): 3rd (-25)
- Ryan Blaney picked up his fourth career NASCAR Cup Series victory – and second-consecutive win at Talladega Superspeedway – on Monday afternoon. Blaney led 10 times for a race-high 63 laps in the No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang. The margin of victory was .007 of a second (the same margin of victory when he beat Ryan Newman in the fall of 2019).
- Blaney started 12th by the random draw and working with fellow Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski worked his way to third by the lap 25 competition caution. After restarting fourth he would remain inside the top five until a lap 57 red flag for rain. Stage 1 would finish under the yellow flag with Blaney scoring a sixth-place finish.
- Blaney restarted in the second position for Stage 2. He would eventually work his way to the lead the first time on lap 65 and lead seven-times over the next 53 laps. He would just barely miss out on the Stage 2 victory, coming home in the second position.
- Blaney began the final stage of the 500-mile event in the 14th position. He would manage to work his way back to the lead on lap 132 before a caution on lap 143 brought the leaders to pit road. The Todd Gordon-led crew took right side tires and fuel under the caution and came back in on lap 144 top-off the fuel tank.
- When the race resumed, Blaney would ride just outside the top-10 while saving fuel in the lead pack. With less than 10 laps to go he would make his charge to the front with fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola, regaining the lead on lap 185. On the final restart he managed hold off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to score the victory.
- Blaney now sits third in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 25 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
"I just kind of blocked, just trying to block the best we could. Ride the top, ride the bottom. The 20 got to my outside and I tried to go up there to slow him down, I hate that I hit him, but just kind of trying to beat and bang to the line and things like that. We just edged it out, but I am really proud of this whole Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang team. It's been a cool year so far and I'm really excited to get our first win of the year at a cool place."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 6th
Laps Completed: 191/191
Laps Led: 33
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-23)
- Joey Logano started ninth and raced to the lead early and often in Monday's 500-Mile race from Talladega Superspeedway. The three-time NASCAR Cup Series winner at Talladega led nine times for 29 laps before fuel strategy caught the team out late, relegating them to a 17th-place finish. Logano flashed speed often with the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang, pushing his Team Penske teammates to the lead on multiple occasions.
- Logano moved from the ninth starting position to the lead in the opening laps, leading multiple times by using assistance from teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney before the competition caution at lap 25. He continued his charge at the front of the field, running in the third position when rain halted the event just short of completing the first stage. When the event resumed, Logano crossed the line in the third position to finish Stage 1 prior to pitting.
- A caution flag just before green flag pit stops were set to begin in Stage 2 brought Logano to pit road for two tires and an air pressure adjustment on the No. 22 MoneyLion Mustang, which had been loose from the drop of the green flag. Logano finished the second stage in the sixth position.
- Logano remained at the front of the field deep into the final stage, but had to save fuel late and dropped track position before a caution flag setup NASCAR Overtime. The MoneyLion crew elected to pit Logano for four tires and fuel to go on the offense in NASCAR Overtime.
- Logano avoided multiple, final-lap wrecks and brought the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford home in the 17th position after leading 29 laps on the afternoon, second most behind race winning teammate Blaney.
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"We had a really fast MoneyLion Ford Mustang. Spent all day at the front and in the end it just didn't work out for us with the caution coming out late. Happy for (Ryan) Blaney and that whole 12 team. They've been fast all year and good to see them get the win and lock into the playoffs. I spent a lot of years with that group."
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