Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Talladega
October 5, 2020
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Race: YellaWood 500
Date: October 4, 2020
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 6
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-47)
- A spin on the final lap robbed Brad Keselowski of a potential top-10 finish in the YellaWood 500 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. The incident dropped Keselowski to an 18th-place in the final rundown. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang is now third in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 47 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
- Keselowski started seventh and was running inside the top-10 before he was shuffled out of line just before the competition caution on lap 25. He pitted for four tires during the yellow and restarted 19th when the race went green on lap 30. From there he worked the draft and dodged an accident in the final laps of Stage 1 to claim a fourth-place finish when the segment concluded on lap 60. Keselowski pitted for four tires and fuel during the stage caution and restarted second on lap 65.
- In Stage 2, Keselowski appeared to avoid disaster when he spun on lap 109 as part of a 10-car accident that forced the race to be halted for track cleanup. The Discount Tire team made repairs during the caution period and Keselowski bounced back to grab a second-place finish when stage ended on lap 120. He pitted during the stage caution for fuel and restarted second when the race went green on lap 125.
- The third and final stage was a wild affair, even by Talladega standards. There were four cautions (two for multiple car accidents) and the finish of the race was pushed into NASCAR Overtime three times. Keselowski was third when the race went green on lap 187 but was forced to pit for fuel under caution on lap 189. He restarted 13th on lap 192 and was up to 10th at the time of the final caution waved on lap 194. Bubba Wallace was hit from behind and bounced off right-side of the No. 2 Mustang in Turn 4 which triggered a nine-car pileup. Once again, the Discount Tire team made repairs and Keselowski restarted 18th on lap 198. He was racing for 10th on the final lap when he and Tyler Reddick made contact in Turn 4. Keselowski spun but managed to cross the finish line to collect an 18th-place finish.
"With this rules package everybody is so on top of each other. Runs are just so fast; everybody wants to block, and the run is too fast to block and that causes a lot of wrecks. The Discount Tire team made it through somewhat okay. We finished 18th and scored a lot of stage points and we have a decent points cushion going into the Roval. That's going to be a madhouse because there's a lot of cars next week that are going to need a big race."
No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 32nd
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 192/200
Laps Led: 10
Point Standings (behind first): 13th (-1027)
- Ryan Blaney finished 25th Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the Menards/Pennzoil Ford Mustang and two-time Talladega winner was involved in three incidents during the event. Blaney was sidelined for the afternoon after an accident on lap 192 between Turns 3 and 4.
- Blaney started 14th and made his way up to ninth by the competition caution on lap 25. Crew chief Todd Gordon made the call for fuel-only and a track bar adjustment on lap 26. He restarted ninth and made his way to the front, taking the lead for the first time on lap 33. Blaney settled into a top-10 position as the laps clicked off in Stage 1.
- Unfortunately, on lap 59 he was involved in a four-car incident on the backstretch. The Menards/Pennzoil crew made repairs over multiple pit stops and Blaney was credited with a 32nd place finish when the stage concluded on lap 60.
- Blaney restarted in 25th position when the race went green on lap 65. He made his way back inside the top 20, but reported the steering was slightly off on his Menards/Pennzoil Ford. On lap 88 he had a right-front tire go down and he hit the outside wall. The Menards/Pennzoil crew hastily made repairs to the No. 12 Mustang to get Blaney's Ford back competitive and strong moves allowed him to bring home a seventh-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 120.
- The final stage would see Blaney run as high as second place on lap 135 but he didn't make it to the finish line. He made his final pit stop of the day on lap 188 during the first of three NASCAR Overtime periods. Blaney was would be caught up a in nine car crash in Turn 4 on lap 192, ending his day and leaving him with a 25th-place finish.
- Blaney is 13th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings heading to the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway next Sunday.
"Certainly not the day we wanted. A big thank you Todd Gordon and the Menards/Pennzoil crew doing a great job repairing our Mustang to where we could be competitive. Stinks we don't have the results to show for, but we'll move on to the Roval next week."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 16th
Laps Completed: 188/200
Laps Led: 45
Point Standings (Behind First): 7th (-67)
- Joey Logano started eighth, led 45 laps, but a late-race accident derailed his chances to win, dropping his to the 26th position in the final rundown. Despite suffering damage early in the event, Logano was able to drive to the front and lead 10 different times. NASCAR penalized Logano for forcing competition below the yellow line two laps from the finish of Stage 2, wiping out any chance for him to score stage points. But Logano rallied back into contention until his afternoon ended on lap 189 while jockeying for position in the lead draft, 11 laps from the finish.
- After starting eighth, Logano moved to the lead after three cautions, then hovered around the top-five. He was scored second when the competition caution was displayed at lap 25. Logano was battling for the Stage 1 victory when Aric Almirola was turned sideways directly in front of the No. 22 Mustang, triggering a multi-car incident, and resulting in minor damage for the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. Led by crew chief Paul Wolfe, the No. 22 team made two pit stops during the stage caution for repairs.
- Logano made steady progress forward during the opening laps of the second stage, moving to fourth position before the seventh caution was displayed on lap 88. He reported that the No. 22 Ford needed to be tighter for the rest of the race. While battling for the Stage 2 win, Logano got loose after a push and accidentally forced Matt DiBenedetto below the yellow line, resulting in a penalty, two laps from the finish of the segment and costing Logano valuable stage points.
- During the stage caution, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil crew made additional repairs. Logano restarted at the rear of the field to begin the final stage on lap 125. He grabbed the lead once again on lap 137 and led the next 12 laps. A caution on lap 149 brought the field to pit road with Wolfe making the call for two cans of fuel and right-side tires.
- Excelled pit work by the Shell team kept Logano in the lead. He remained at or near the front of the pack as the race neared its finish. A caution on lap 184 sent the race into NASCAR Overtime. Logano was leading the race when he was shuffled out of line and involved in a six-car accident on lap 189, which knocked the oil lines loose on the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. Logano was unable to continue and was credited with a 26th-place finish.
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"We overcame a lot all day long. Had damage early and the guys did a great job repairing it and that really kept us in a position to win. Unfortunately, I got collected in a wreck before just before the finish and lost oil pressure and couldn't keep going. It's disappointing to lead laps in all the superspeedway races this year and not have a win to show for it. I'm proud of the cars that Team Penske brings to these tracks and the power from Roush Yates Engines. We're always in contention."
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