Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Pocono
June 27, 2020
Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: Pocono Organics 325
Date: June 27, 2020
No. 2 Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 15th
Laps Completed: 130/130
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-62)
- Brad Keselowski made a late rally to grab a ninth-place finish in the Pocono Organics 325 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang produced his 10th top-10 finish of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season and his 13th top-10 in 21 career Cup Series races at the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania speedway. Keselowski is now fifth in the Cup Series driver standings, 62 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- The start of the race was delayed by a rain shower, pushing the green flag back by nearly 90 minutes. Keselowski scored an eighth-place finish when Stage 1 concluded on lap 25 as he told his team the No. 2 Ford Mustang was running loose off of Turn 1. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 27 for four tires and a wedge adjustment and he restarted 26th when the race returned to the green flag on lap 30.
- In Stage 2, Keselowski steadily worked his way up the running order. He liked the adjustments that crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the team put in place and he was running in the sixth position by when a caution slowed the pace on lap 65. The No. 2 Mustang visited pit lane for four tires during the yellow flag and Keselowski took the green flag in 14th position when the race restarted on lap 69, just eight laps from the finish of Stage 2. Keselowski was scored in 15th place when Stage 2 concluded on lap 77. He stayed on track during the stage caution and restarted 13th when the green flag waved to resume racing action on lap 82.
- Keselowski was running 17th when he made his final scheduled pit stop for right-side tires and fuel under the green flag on lap 91. Over the final the 39 laps of the race, the Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang came to life and Keselowski used his speed on the long run to march back toward the front. He moved inside the top-10 on lap 123 and passed Matt Kenseth with two laps remaining to secure a ninth-place finish.
Quotes: "We didn't start where we wanted to but we adjusted really well and I thought by the end we were one of the best cars. It was incredibly difficult to pass. I caught cars that I was a second faster than and then I just couldn't pass. It was a big track position day. I think you saw that with the guys that started up front all finished up front. We tried to make some moves to make some passes and probably caught ourselves some spots. If we rode around all day we would have maybe got two or three more spots out of it. I appreciate the fact that my team has a lot of effort and was shooting for the stars."
No. 12 Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 130/130
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-29)
- Ryan Blaney started second and finished 12th in Saturday's Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang ran in the top-five most of the day, but late-race strategy and track position hampered his chances for a win.
- After falling one spot to third at the start of the race, the High Point, NC native ran in that position during the entire 25-lap Stage 1. Blaney reported the Menards/Duracell Ford was handling tight over the "tunnel turn" in Turn 2. He remained on the track during the stage break.
- On the restart for Stage 2, Blaney fell to fourth, as the inside line proved to be a disadvantage for most of the race restarts. The Menards/Duracell Ford made its first pit stop of the day on lap 37 for four tires and fuel. Through the cycle of green flag stops, Blaney worked his way back to fourth at the conclusion of Stage 2 on lap 77.
- During the Stage 2 break, Blaney visited pit lane for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment on the No. 12 Ford. After restarting in the 24th position, he raced his way up to 20th before pitting for fuel only on lap 90. From there, Blaney kept moving forward as he earned a 12th-place finish at the checkered flag.
- As a result of the finish, Blaney will start eighth in Sunday's 350-mile event as the Cup Series will complete its first doubleheader race weekend.
- Blaney now sits second in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 29 points behind leader Kevin Harvick, entering Sunday's second race at Pocono.
Quote: "We had a really good Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang. We started off too tight and really struggled over the tunnel turn. (Crew chief) Todd Gordon and the crew made good adjustments, but unfortunately our strategy did not pay off, which stinks. We moved up to second in points and we'll learn from today and be ready for tomorrow."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 1st – (Fourth Stage win of 2020)
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 124/130
Laps Led: 11
Point Standings (Behind First): 3rd (-47)
- Joey Logano started sixth, led 11 laps and earned a Stage 1 victory in Sunday afternoon's race at Pocono Raceway before a late race left-front flat tire on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang relegated the team to a 36th place finish. Logano spent the majority of the race running inside the top-five and he was able to produce 19 stage points with his performance early in the event.
- After a one-hour rain delay, Logano moved from the sixth starting spot to the second position over the first 12 laps of the race before a competition caution flag slowed the field. Logano reported the only issue with the No. 22 Ford was that it was handling tight through the bumps in Turn 2, so crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to leave the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang on the track during the caution. Logano claimed the lead on the race restart and following a five-lap shootout, he won Stage 1 for his fourth stage victory of 2020.
- Logano remained on the track at the completion of the stage and settled into the second position once racing resumed. As the Shell-Pennzoil Ford visited pit lane in the second stage, the team made an air pressure adjustment to free up the No. 22 through the center of the turns. Logano cycled back to the second position and finished there at the end of Stage 2.
- At the start of the final stage, Logano got shuffled back as he moved into the sixth position. He regained a spot, moving up to fifth before Wolfe called the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang to pit road for a potential final stop of the race.
- Unfortunately, the scope of the race drastically changed with less than 10 laps remaining as the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang suffered a flat left front tire. As a result, Logano went from a top-10 finishing position to a 36th-place finish after running at the front of the field for most of the afternoon.
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Quote: "What a bummer there at the end. Flat left front just killed a day that had been really solid. We won the first stage, finished second in the second stage and were running in the top-10 at the end of the race and just got the solid day ruined there. The guys brought a fast Shell-Pennzoil Mustang and we can be proud of that. We'll come back tomorrow and try to get the win."
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