Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Pocono
June 28, 2020
Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: Pocono 350
Date: June 28, 2020
No. 2 Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 1st
Laps Completed: 140/140
Laps Led: 13
Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-67)
- Brad Keselowski grabbed his third stage win of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season on the way to an 11th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford was running third with four laps to go when he was forced to pit for fuel. Keselowski is third in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 67 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- Rain and lightning delays hampered the start of the 140-lap, 350-mile race. The race went green in earnest just after 6:00 p.m. ET – nearly 90 minutes after the scheduled start. Keselowski said his No. 2 Mustang was excellent during Stage 1 especially in clean air and he scored a fifth-place finish when the segment ended on lap 30. He didn't pit during the stage caution and restarted third when the race went green on lap 35.
- In Stage 2, Keselowski stretched his fuel mileage to perfection and was rewarded with a stage win. He picked his way through four cautions and survived a green-white-checkered dash to the finish to win. Keselowski dove under Aric Almirola on the restart to grab the lead on lap 84 and scampered away over the next lap to claim the stage victory. Keselowski remained on the track during the stage caution and led until he pitted under green for four tires and fuel on lap 95.
- The final 45 laps ran caution free. Keselowski sliced his way through the field as those around him began to make scheduled pit stops on lap 110. He returned to the top-10 by 116 and settled into third position behind Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick by lap 126. Unfortunately, Keselowski couldn't make it to the end of the race. He stopped on lap 136 for a splash of fuel, which shuffled him back to 11th-position and he didn't get closer to the front before the race ended four laps later.
Quotes: "I'm happy we got our Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang so fast today. We were in position all day long. Jeremy (Bullins, crew chief) and all the guys on the team did a great job. We won a stage and got a Playoff point and that's something I'm happy about."
No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 14th
Laps Completed: 139/140
Laps Led: 21
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-52)
- Ryan Blaney started ninth and finished 22nd in Sunday's Pocono 350 at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang ran in the top-five most of the day, but late-race contact with the outside wall ruined the High Point, N.C. native's day.
- Blaney started off strong driving his way into second-place by lap five. Following a 50-minute delay for rain, Blaney restarted second and begin a battle with Kurt Busch for the race lead. Battling an aero-tight Menards/Richmond Ford, Blaney would settle for a second-place finish in Stage 1 and chose not to pit during the stage break.
- Restarting second on the inside lane, Blaney managed to work his way around Busch for the race lead on lap 36. He would lead until lap 57, when he came to pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Once returning to the track Blaney managed to work his way back up to 14th-position when Stage 2 concluded on lap 85.
- Blaney restarted ninth for the final stage of the race and made his final scheduled pit stop on lap 101 for right-side tires and fuel. In position to run to the end of the event, Blaney was forced to make an unscheduled stop after contact with the outside wall and was credited with a 22nd-place finish.
- Blaney remains second in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 52 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: "We had another good Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang today. I felt like we made improvements on the handling over yesterday and were positioned for a top-five finish. Unfortunately, I got in the wall and had to make an unscheduled pit stop. The results weren't indicative of how we ran, but we'll move on to Indianapolis next week."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 16th
Stage 2: 21st
Laps Completed: 139/140
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-81)
- Joey Logano started 36th after a blown left-front tire destroyed the team's primary car at the end of Saturday's event. Logano moved forward early in the event and with pit strategy and ran inside the top-10 despite battling a tight-handling Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. He was zapped by a late-race pit road penalty, relegating him to a 24th-place finish.
- Logano charged to the 23rd position in the opening three laps before rain halted the event. His early feedback to the team was that he was on the splitter with the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. When racing resumed, Logano pitted for two tires and fuel, setting the team up to go longer into the second stage without pitting and temporarily gaining track position.
- Another caution flag in the early laps of Stage 2 would move Logano up to the third position as other leaders elected to pit. When Logano pitted on lap 66, the team made wholesale changes, including pulling packer, raising the trackbar and adding tape to the nose to combat the tight condition being described by the driver.
- Logano continued to battle through the final stage before pitting on lap 99. Unfortunately, Logano was assessed a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes on pit entry, resulting in a pass thru penalty, dropping him off the lead lap.
- The driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford soldiered on and came home in the 24th position. He will move on to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week, where he scored a second-place finish in 2019. The driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford has two second-place at the historic speedway. The last time competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series started a race at Indianapolis with zero practice, crew chief Paul Wolfe led teammate Brad Keselowski to victory.
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Quote: "It was a tough pair of races for us this weekend. We had decent speed Saturday, but had the tire go down late and that forced us to a backup car today and we had to fight from the back. Overall, we were just too tight early, and then had the pit road penalty near the end of the race. We'll regroup and go to Indy and try to finish one spot better than I did there last year."
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