Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Pocono Race 1
June 26, 2021
Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: Pocono Organics CBD 325
Date: June 26, 2021
No. 2 Detroit Engines Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 20th
Stage 2: 10th
Laps Completed: 130/130
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (ahead of second): 10th (-210)
Sunday Starting Position: 11th
- Brad Keselowski overcome an early race incident to score a 10th-place finish Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Detroit Engines Ford grabbed his sixth top-10 of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and his 14th in 23 races at Pocono. Keselowski remains 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 210 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
- Keselowski started 18th and immediately began moving toward the front. He was up to 11th at the time of the first caution on lap 10. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins chose pit for right-side tires and fuel. Keselowski restarted 24th on lap 12 but found trouble when he got into the back of Cole Custer just as the field completed lap 14. The contact damaged the front nose on the No. 2 Mustang. Keselowski pitted for repairs before the race went green and was credited with a 20th-place finish when Stage 1 concluded on lap 25. Bullins made the call to stay out during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted ninth when the race went green on lap 29.
- Keselowski and the Detroit Engines team did a good job to earn valuable stage points during Stage 2. The driver of the No. 2 Mustang was running sixth when the fourth yellow slowed the race on lap 54. Keselowski pitted during the caution for four tires and adjustments and restarted 11th on lap 57. Adjustments by Bullins improved the balance of Keselowski's Ford and capitalized on a two-lap dash to end the stage to claim a 10th-place finish when the segment ended on lap 77. Keselowski remained on the track during the stage caution and restarted 10th when the race went green on lap 81.
- Keselowski got shuffled back to 17th on the restart and when he was stuck in traffic the balance on his Mustang was very tight. Bullins called his driver to pit road for a scheduled four-tire stop under green on lap 91 for another set of tires and to get Keselowski into clean air. He said his Mustang fired off strong, but the balance built tighter and tighter during the run.
- But the eighth and final caution on lap 109 was the break that Keselowski needed to get in position to score a respectable finish. He was 18th prior to the yellow flag then pitted and restarted 21st on lap 111. Keselowski used his fresher tires to slice through traffic and climb up the leaderboard. He completed his late-race rally with a pass around Tyler Reddick with five laps to go to grab 10th-place. The driver of the Detroit Engines Ford moved up 11 positions over the final 19 laps.
Quotes: "Our Detroit Engines Ford was really good. I got into the 41 (Cole Custer) early in the race and that got us behind."
No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 14th
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 130/130
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (ahead of second): 9th (-181)
Sunday Starting Position: 16th
- Ryan Blaney rallied from a 27th-place starting position to finish fifth Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. With the field set by the qualifying metric, the driver of the No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang was forced to work hard to gain track position in the opening stage but scored points Stage 2 then grabbed his third top-five of the 2021 season. The team will start tomorrow's race from the 16th position, in the Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang.
- After starting deep in the field and battling dirty air, Blaney pitted during the first caution on lap 10 for two tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. Despite the stop Blaney was still able to rally forward to claim a 14th-place result when Stage 1 ended on lap 25. Blaney said his Menards/Richmond Ford was decent and crew chief Todd Gordon made the call to keep his driver on the track during the stage caution.
- Blaney would hit pit road again on lap 53 for tires and fuel, putting the team in a window to make it to the end of the race on one more stop. He continued to work forward in the running order, racing inside the top-10. A caution on lap 73 set up a two-lap dash to finish Stage 2. Blaney restarted inside the top-five and was credited with a fifth-place finish when the stage ended on lap 77.
- The No. 12 Menards team pitted as scheduled on lap 91. Gordon made the call for four tires and fuel plus a slight air pressure change to help the driver with rear handling for the run to the finish. Blaney had a great restart on lap 111 that put him in position to claim his top-five, which he did 19 laps later.
Quote: "Starting a long way back was challenging and trying to get on some certain strategies that might help us out. I thought our strategy was really good. We were really fast for that last caution. I got really tight after that. We needed a good day in our Menards Ford Mustang after last week for sure. This is definitely something to learn about for tomorrow and make some changes and hopefully have a really good run."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Completed: 130/130
Laps Led: 18
Point Standings (ahead of second): 4th (-106)
Sunday Starting Position: 14th
- Joey Logano claimed his eleventh top-10 finish of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season with a seventh-place finish Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. Logano started fourth, finished fourth and third in the opening two stages respectively before finishing seventh. The finish was Logano's ninth at Pocono and will give him the 14th starting position on Sunday. The top 20 finishers from Saturday will be inverted to start the Sunday afternoon race.
- After starting the race from the fourth position, Logano ran inside the top-five for the majority of the opening stage. He reported the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was just slightly free on corner entry but was running competitive enough lap times that the team elected to remain on the track during both early caution periods. Logano finished fourth in Stage 1 and he and crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to remain on the track at the end of the stage. He restarted as the leader when the race went green on lap 29.
- Logano pitted from the lead under green on lap 45 for his first stop of the day, taking four tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel. The field was slowed by the fourth caution on lap 54, with Logano cycling back forward to the fourth position. A caution prior to the end of Stage 2 set up a two-lap dash to the finish and was also an opportunity for the team to cycle forward when two positions ahead of Logano pitted. The driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford finished third when Stage 2 ended on lap 77.
- The team pitted for a potential final stop at lap 90, taking four tires, fuel, plus a slight air pressure adjustment. Prior to the stop, Logano reported the balance of the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was neutral overall. Logano continued on with a late caution setting up a restart with 19 laps to go which resulted in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustang getting shuffled with the driver battling back for the seventh-place finish.
Quote: "We were okay. We ran about fifth most of the race. The Shell-Pennzoil Ford was pretty good the last run, but I just lost too much track position on the final restart. We were able to get some decent stage points. I think we were fourth and third in the two stages and then we finished seventh. Not what we want but it is a gain on our 550 package if you look at where we have been. We were able to run towards the front and see the front and actually pass some cars. That is a good sign. Progress is being made."
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