NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Sonoma Raceway
June 7, 2021
Track: Sonoma Raceway
Race: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Date: June 6 2021
No. 2 America's Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 8th
Laps Completed: 92/92
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-191)
- A penalty on a pit stop with less than 20 laps to go spoiled Brad Keselowski's chances for a good finish at Sonoma Raceway. The driver of the America's Tire Ford Mustang recovered in the closing laps to claim a 15th-place finish on Sunday afternoon.
- Keselowski started ninth and ran well during the opening laps of the race. The Michigan driver was in seventh position when others on the lead lap began to pit on lap nine, just before the competition caution. Keselowski pitted one lap later for four tires and adjustments to improve lateral grip. He restarted outside the top 20 on lap 13, but rallied back to score a 13th-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 20. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to keep Keselowski on the track during the stage caution and he restated third on lap 24.
- He held his own on the laps that followed, despite being on older tires. He pitted as scheduled under caution on lap 33 for four tires and restarted 15th. Over the final seven laps of the stage, Keselowski rallied to claim an eighth-place finish when the stage ended on lap 40. Once again, he stayed on the track during the stage caution and restarted fifth on lap 44.
- From there, the strategy employed by Bullins was to pit twice over the remaining laps in the race. Keselowski pitted for four tires on lap 54 and had cycled his way back up to sixth position when he stopped once again as scheduled on lap 72. Moments later, the fifth caution of race slowed the pace, which moved Keselowski up to second place. Unfortunately, the No. 2 crew was penalized on the stop for placing equipment inside the pit box too soon. The infraction dropped Keselowski to the tail end of the field, resulting in the former championship restarting 32nd when the race went green on lap 74. From there, Keselowski did an admirable job of scrambling his way through the field and claiming a 15th-place finish at the checkered flag.
Quotes: "We ran a good race and I'm proud of that. Our America's Tire Ford Mustang was the best car I've had here at Sonoma in a long time. It's just a shame we got that penalty late in the race."
No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 17th
Stage 2: 27th
Laps Completed: 92/92
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-155)
- Ryan Blaney started 11th and finished 10th on Sunday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway, surviving multiple tire issues during the race and exercising patience as he raced forward to grab a top-10 finish. The top-10 result was symbolic of an amazing team effort overcoming adversity throughout the race.
- On the opening run of the race, Blaney reported he was lacking rear grip in the No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford Mustang, pitting at the competition caution for four tires and an adjustment. Crew chief Todd Gordon elected to leave Blaney on the track under the competition yellow, cycling the DEX Imaging Mustang to the fifth position.
- Blaney took damage to the left front of the No. 12 Ford while battling for position on lap 27, but continued on the track without a tire rub. A caution flag prior to the end of the second stage would bring Blaney to pit road for four tires and repairs to the left front.
- At lap 54, Blaney was forced to pit the No. 12 DEX Imaging Mustang for a left rear tire delamination. Unfortunately, Blaney was forced to pit again at lap 65 for a right front tire delamination, however, the team would be setup in a position to make it the rest of the way without stopping.
- A caution at lap 72 would bring the No. 12 Ford team back to pit road for another slight air pressure adjustment. Blaney would survive multiple late-race restarts to rally forward, bringing the No. 12 DEX Imaging Mustang home in the 10th position.
Quote: "We were never on the right tires with the right track position. We were kind of all over the place. I thought we were in a pretty good spot with 25-30 to go and we kept delaminating tires. We had a delaminated rear and I was in the dirt with no grip, and then we got sandwiched there and that's kind of just what happens. That's probably the ugliest top 10 car I've ever had, that's for sure, but I'm proud of them for sticking with it. I just wish the strategy worked out a little bit better than what it did. We just couldn't really catch a break at the right time, but, overall, ending up in 10th isn't too bad."
No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 15th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 92/92
Laps Led: 5
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-116)
- Joey Logano started 13th and finished fourth in Sunday afternoon's SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in the No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang. Logano led five laps on the day and worked with the team to make steady progress on the cars handling throughout the day.
- Logano ran as high as the 11th position before pitting prior to the competition caution as he had a right rear tire coming apart. The team would return to pit road for fuel only. On the Stage 1 caution, crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to pit the Autotrader Mustang for four tires, air pressure and a trackbar change.
- A caution flag prior to the end of the second stage provided an opportunity for Logano and the Autotrader Mustang to remain on the track, cycling inside the top-five for the six-lap dash to the end of Stage 2. Logano would pit at the end of the stage for four tires and fuel with a slight air pressure change to the No. 22Autotrader Mustang.
- Logano would begin a conservative march forward, reaching the fourth position by lap 60, with 30 laps remaining in the race. Logano would hit pit road at lap 67 for potentially the last time in the race for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. A caution at lap 72 would allow the Logano to stay out and claim the lead with No. 22 Autotrader Mustang.
- Logano would slip from the lead back to the fourth position as several cars with fresher tires bypassed the Autotrader Mustang. Logano would finish the race fourth in the fourth position after leading five laps on the afternoon.
Quote: "We had the tire issue the first run and that got our strategy off. Paul did some different things and we were able to get some stage points in the second stage. We had nothing to beat the 5, if I'm being honest, but our Autotrader Mustang was good enough to finish top three or four. We kind of did that one stop strategy the last run there and got to where we were probably a third-place car if we had the same tires as the cars racing around us, but, overall, we'll take that considering how it was looking in the beginning. It's fun to be out here in Sonoma again and great to see so many fans back out in the grandstands and around this racetrack."
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