Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Charlotte Roval
October 11, 2020
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Race: Bank of America ROVAL 400
Date: October 11, 2020
No. 2 Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 12th
Stage 2: 10th
Laps Completed: 109/109
Laps Led: 7
Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-32)
- Brad Keselowski advanced to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs Sunday afternoon in the Bank of American ROVAL 400 on the strength of an 18th-place finish. The driver of the No. 2 Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford locked down the third seed in the standings, 32 behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- Keselowski started third and passed Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin to grab the lead on the first lap of the race and held the top spot for the first seven laps. The team chose not to pit during the competition caution on lap 10. The race then went green on lap 12, but a rapidly-drying track eventually forced Keselowski to pit for slick tires under green on lap 20. A caution on lap 22 set up a one-lap dash to the end of the Stage 1 and Keselowski took advantage, picking up three positions to finish 12th. He stayed out during the stage caution and restarted ninth when the race went back to green on lap 28.
- He was up to fifth place when he spun on lap 33 and dropped to 16th in the running order. Keselowski pitted during the fourth caution for four tires and air pressure adjustments. He restarted 18th on lap 48 and muscled his way up to 10th position when the stage ended two laps later. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call the stay on the track and Keselowski restarted third on lap 53.
- Keselowski settled into third during the early laps of the final stage but unfortunately wasn't able to maintain that position. He was running 12th when the seventh caution waved and had to pit because he appeared to have locked up one of the front tires going through the frontstretch chicane. The driver of the Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford restarted 18th when the race went green on lap 72. He was running 11th when the ninth caution set up a final round of pit stops one lap later. Keselowski restarted 21st on lap 99 and fought his way up to 18th over the final 10 laps.
Quote: "Our Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford started off real strong in the rain and there's part of me that wishes it would have just stayed raining, believe it or not, but once it got dry I just kept falling off too much on the long run. I'd fire off really good and fall off and couldn't keep pace, so I'm thankful that's over. It's a testament to the four wins we have earlier in the year. It gives us those bonus points and made this a lot easier day than it looked like it was going to be, and we'll move on to hopefully four good race weeks for us."
No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 1st (Fourth Stage Win of 2020)
Laps Completed: 109/109
Laps Led: 14
Point Standings (behind first): 11th (-1907)
- An eventful day for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang team ended with a fifth-place finish in Sunday's Bank of America ROVAL 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Blaney overcame a spin and pit road penalty to score his ninth top-five finish of 2020.
- Under wet conditions, Blaney started 24th and made his way up to 20th by the competition caution on lap 10. He restarted 26th and made his way to 18th before pitting under green for slick tires. A caution on lap 24 would see a one-lap run to the stage conclusion with Blaney coming home in the seventh position.
- Blaney restarted in fifth position when Stage 2 began on lap 28. He would be second by lap 34 and take the lead from William Byron on lap 40. Blaney would hold off Chase Elliott to win Stage 2, his fourth stage win of 2020.
- The final stage would see Blaney restart in the 21st position. By lap 72, Blaney worked his Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang back to the lead. Unfortunately, he would spin from the lead on lap 74 and subsequently make his last pit stop of the day. Bad luck would bite the No. 12 team as Blaney sped on pit road leading to a drive-thru penalty.
- Rejoining in 34th-place, Blaney would catch a caution on lap 87. Gordon would elect to the keep the Ford Mustang on track to regain as much of the track position lost. The move paid off as Blaney was able to hold on to a fifth-place finish.
- Blaney is 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings heading to Kansas Speedway next Sunday.
Quote: "We had a really fast Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang. The pit cycles and strategy seemed to work good for us today. Unfortunately, I spun leading the race and had a pit penalty that set us back. Thankfully, a caution came out and we made up a lot of the track position lost. Big thank you Todd Gordon and the crew for sticking with me and we'll look to build on this heading to Kansas next week."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 109/109
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 5th (-45)
- Joey Logano started eight and finished second in Sunday afternoon's Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning enough points to advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs. The Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford team executed a conservative strategy throughout much of the race, being the only playoff team to score stage points in the opening two stages. Consistently running lap times on-pace with the race leader, Logano kept four tires on the asphalt all afternoon and brought home his career-best finish at the track.
- Logano moved from his eighth starting position to the top-five in the opening lap, using calculated aggression in the wet conditions. Under the competition caution, the Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader team elected to remain on the track on wet weather tires as the track was still extremely damp through the infield section. At lap 18, Logano brought the No. 22 Ford Mustang to pit road for slicks as the track had become too dry for the rain tires to last to the conclusion of the stage. Logano used the fresh tires on a one-lap-shootout to end the first stage and rally for an eighth-place finish.
- At the start of the second stage, Logano moved inside the top-five, settling into the third position by lap 32 as the track continued to gain speed. A late caution in the stage would force the Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader team to again remain on the track in a position to claim stage points, with Logano ultimately finishing fifth in the second stage, the only playoff competitor to score points in both stages.
- Under the Stage 2 caution, the No. 22 Ford crew came to pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment to work on drive off over the long run in the final stage. Logano restarted the final stage in the 23rd position. With 42 laps remaining, Logano re-entered the top-10 following a pit stop for four tires and an air pressure adjustment and tape on the nose.
- For the majority of the final stage, Logano maintained inside the top-five, turning competitive lap times and remaining above the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. The Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Mustang lined up fourth for a restart with 10 laps remaining in the event. Logano used the outside lane to power to the second position where he'd remain until the checkered flag.
- Logano's performance on Sunday locked the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford Mustang into the Round of 8 for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
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Quote: "Yeah, we won our league (laughing) because no one was beating that other car -- the Chase Elliott and Alan and that whole 9 team. They're light years ahead of us when it comes to the road course, I mean everybody even their teammates. I can't really put my finger on it. I got a good look of what it was and watched him cruise around not even trying and he would keep on driving away from me. Overall, I'm proud of what our Shell/Pennzoil team did today. We had to come in here and execute. Obviously, there were plenty of crazy things that could have happened starting in the rain, going to slicks, stage points, trying to get ourselves in position. Obviously, there were times that the 18 was in the spot and we were racing the 88 with only a couple points between us, so it was close, it was stressful, but I feel a lot better now and will be able to sleep well tonight and then fire away to try and get into that Championship 4."
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