Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Martinsville
November 1, 2020
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Race: Xfinity 500
Date: November 1, 2020
No. 2 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 3
Point Standings (behind first): 1st (-0)
- Brad Keselowski rallied back from a pit road speeding penalty to score a fourth-place finish Sunday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway and will race for the NASCAR Cup Series championship next week at Phoenix Raceway. Keselowski grabbed his 12th top-five finish of the season and collected his 11th top-five in 22 races at Martinsville. This is the second time Keselowski will race for a series title since the elimination format debuted in 2014.
- Keselowski started from the pole and scored a third-place finish when Stage 1 ended but it wasn't that simple for the Dent Wizard team. There were four cautions sprinkled throughout the 130-lap segment and Keselowski pitted twice during the stage for tires and adjustments. He restarted eighth on lap 109 and sliced his way through traffic over the next 21 laps to claim third place at the conclusion of the stage. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 134 and restarted 13th on lap 139 when the first six cars in the running order didn't pit.
- The battle for track position consumed much of Stage 2 for Keselowski and the Dent Wizard team. He fell back to 17th with 100 laps left in the segment but told his team he just needed a long run to get the track position back. Keselowski again fought his way through traffic and claimed an eighth-place finish when the stage ended on lap 260. The driver of the No. 2 Mustang pitted for four tires and adjustments during the stage caution on lap 263 and restarted ninth on lap 267.
- The third and final stage will be remembered for Keselowski's dramatic drive to the front. He had just made a four-tire stop on lap 404 during the 11th caution when he was hit with a speeding penalty leaving pit road. Keselowski restarted 22nd when the race went green on lap 408 and from there the charge was on. While Keselowski was steamrolling through the field, crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the Dent Wizard team were keeping close tabs on Kevin Harvick. As Keselowski marched up the leaderboard, Harvick stayed close enough to hold a one- or two-point edge over Keselowski in the battle for the final spot in the Championship 4. Keselowski grabbed fourth position with eight laps to go and held a one-point lead over his rival on the final lap of the race when Harvick spun on the final lap.
Quotes: "I thought I was part race car driver and part mathematician. I am so happy for Team Penske. It was a hard-fought day. I got a speeding penalty there with 70 or 80 to go and I'm not sure how. The box where I got the speeding penalty was where my car was pitted. I'm just really thankful to be going on to the Championship 4. There was nothing I could do but pass as many cars as I could with our Dent Wizard Ford. I know we've got great cars on these short tracks and one-mile tracks. We bring this kind of effort at the end of the race at Phoenix we've got a great shot at it."
No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 20th
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 36
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-2702)
- Ryan Blaney finished second in Sunday's penultimate race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. The driver of the Menards/Libman Ford Mustang collected his 11th top-five finish of 2020 and led 36 laps in the event. Blaney finished second in both races at the .526-mile short track this year.
- Blaney started 10th and made his way up to sixth by the competition caution on lap 60. He would pit on lap 63, taking four tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment. Restarting ninth, he would make his way back to fifth prior to the third caution on lap 105, which would see him return to pit road for four tires and no changes. Unfortunately, Blaney would have to start at the rear of the field after being too fast on entry to pit road. Restarting 25th, he would make his way to 20th at the conclusion of Stage 1 on lap 130.
- Blaney began Stage 2 from the 18th position. He would make his way up to seventh by lap 200. He stayed out under the eighth caution of the race on lap 217. Restarting second, Blaney would lose two spots to cars on fresher tires and came home fourth in Stage 2.
- Blaney would start the final stage of the race from the eighth position on lap 267. The race's longest green flag run would take place and Blaney would drive his way to third position by lap 290. Blaney was fourth when the caution waved again on lap 353. Strong service by the Menards/Libman crew got Blaney out in the second position. When racing resumed on lap 358, Blaney would take the lead from teammate Joey Logano on lap 369. He would lead until the 11th caution on lap 401. Blaney would pit on lap 403, taking four tires and a wedge adjustment. Restarting in the second position, he would remain there until the 12th and final caution on lap 442. He would make his final stop of the day shortly after and restart fifth. Blaney would battle back, making his way back up to second where he would cross the line at the end of 500 laps.
- Blaney is ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings heading to the final race of the season at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday.
Quote: "Our Menards/Libman Ford was pretty decent all day and we got progressively better. I sped on pit road before that first stage and that really set us back. Overall, it was not a bad night, but it stinks to finish second here both times this year. I'm proud of this 12 group. The past 10 full weeks we've been strong and had a chance to win a couple races We just need to put it all together."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 8th
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 19
Point Standings (Behind First): 1st (-0)
- Joey Logano started seventh and finished third in Sunday afternoon's Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Logano entered the event as the only driver locked into the Championship 4 race next weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Stellar pit work by the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang team would keep Logano contending inside the top-five throughout the event.
- Through the opening 60 laps Logano ran inside the top-10, reporting the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang needed to rotate a little better from the center off the corner, leading crew chief Paul Wolfe to make an air pressure and trackbar adjustment on the first stop of the race. Quick work by the crew netted the team four positions, lining the team up in third position for the restart. Under caution at lap 104, the team again made air pressure and trackbar adjustments to gain additional center turn. Logano finished the opening stage in the fifth position.
- Through the second stage Logano continued to run inside the top-10, reporting the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was better directionally, but still needed more turn despite running some of the fastest laps on the track. The team elected to pit, making only a stagger change to the No. 22 Ford Mustang. Logano finished the second stage in the eighth position, right behind teammate Brad Keselowski.
- Logano would spend the majority of the final stage inside the top-five, with the Shell-Pennzoil pit crew grabbing the lead twice on pit road. On the final pit stop of the race, the crew would send Logano off pit road in second, but with the No. 32 car remaining on the track, Logano would be pinned in third position where he'd finish the race.
- The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang team will head to Phoenix for Joey Logano's fourth appearance in the Championship Four in the past seven years. Logano is the most recent NASCAR Cup Series Champion among those qualified for the race with teammate Brad Keselowski being the only other former series champion left standing.
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Quote: "Everyone on the Shell-Pennzoil team is excited and we're ready to go. This is a great opportunity. We were able to lock ourselves in a couple weeks ago and we're able to breathe for a minute and get through these last couple races. What a crazy race it was today for those guys trying to get their way in. The advantage we earned the last couple of weeks was to be able to focus on our Phoenix car before everybody. Our batteries are charged up and we're ready to go."
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