Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Pocono Race 2
June 27, 2021
Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: Explore the Pocono Mountains 350
Date: June 27, 2021
No. 2 Detroit Engines Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Led: 31
Point Standings (ahead of second): 10th (-192)
- Brad Keselowski held off Kevin Harvick in the final laps to score a third-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Detroit Engines Ford Mustang led twice on the afternoon and led the most laps (31) while he racked up his sixth top-five finish of the 2021 season. With the result, Keselowski remains 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 192 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
- Keselowski started 11th on Sunday afternoon and ran well throughout the opening stage of the race. He moved inside the top 10 by lap seven and steadily worked his way through the field to finish third when the segment concluded on lap 30. The handling on the Detroit Engines Ford got tighter during the run, especially in Turn 3. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to stay on track during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted as the race leader on lap 35.
- Keselowski and the No. 2 Mustang led until the team made a scheduled pit stop under green on lap 46 for four tires. Keselowski returned to the track and stretched his mileage over the next 39 green flag laps as he once again was scored in third place at the end of Stage 2 on lap 85. The balance on the No. 2 Mustang improved during the second segment but the Detroit Engines Ford was still running a little free across Turn 2 and tight everywhere else on the Pocono track. Bullins called the No. 2 to pit lane for four tires during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted 17th on lap 90.
- With a strong restart, Keselowski drove the Detroit Engines Mustang up to eighth place after taking the green flag and he gained three more positions when a few cars ahead of him chose to pit under the fourth caution on lap 94 to top off their fuel tanks. Keselowski restarted the race in fifth position on lap 96 and he threaded his way through traffic two laps later to grab the third position.
- As the race entered its closing laps, Keselowski was in contention for the victory but was nine laps short of making it to the checkered flag on fuel. He took the lead on lap 115 when Alex Bowman pitted and Keselowski remained up front until he pitted on lap 132, just eight laps from the finish. The No. 2 Ford Mustang crew got Keselowski out of the pits in just three seconds and he was able to drive back to the front as others pitted over the final two laps. Keselowski then held off Harvick down to the stretch to claim third at the checkered flag for his fourth top-three finish of the season.
Quotes: "We ran a really good race but just didn’t have enough fuel to make it to the end like those other guys. I am really proud of Jeremy Bullins and everyone on the Detroit Engines team. They had a great setup and it put us in position. It was a nice rebound from where we have been. We have had a lot of bad breaks with things breaking and all kinds of issues across the board. This was a really good day for us."
No. 12 Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 28th
Laps Completed: 140/140
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (ahead of second): 8th (-175)
- Ryan Blaney rallied from a lap down to score a sixth-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, as he posted his ninth top-10 result of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Blaney started 16th in the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350, driving the No. 12 Menards/Duracell Ford Mustang. He had a fast Ford early in the race but suffered a setback with a loose wheel after a green flag pit stop on lap 48, as he fell a lap down. The sequence of events forced the No. 12 team to alter its race strategy, but it paid off in the end. Blaney made up the lost ground and powered forward to finish sixth as others around him ran out of fuel.
- Throughout Stage 1, Blaney reported the Menards/Duracell Mustang was extremely competitive, running only slightly tight on the exit of Turn 1. Crew chief Todd Gordon kept Blaney on track at the end of the stage to gain track position. Blaney remained on the track until lap 48 when he visited pit road for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, a loose right-front wheel forced him to bring the Menards/Duracell Ford immediately back to the pits for another tire change. As the race leaders pitted, Blaney was able to cycle back to the lead lap, but he was mired deep in the field as he finished Stage 2 in the 28th position.
- Blaney pitted during the stage caution for four tires and the Menards/Duracell Ford team made a stagger change to help the long-run performance of the No. 12 Mustang. Blaney returned to pit road on lap 106 for a fuel-only stop, as he prepared for a strong run to the checkered flag.
- With the field on split on different fuel strategies, Gordon and the No. 12 team went on the offensive as they aggressively worked their way forward while other competitors worked to save fuel. Blaney did his job behind the wheel as he continued to climb the leaderboard with others pitting for fuel and laps winding down. When the dust settled, Blaney earned a hard-fought sixth-place finish.
Quote: "We made some gains today with our Menards/Duracell Ford from yesterday. The loose wheel put us behind and we were forced to change our strategy but we were able to come away with a top 10."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 13th
Laps Completed: 140/140
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (ahead of second): 4th (-110)
- Joey Logano persevered to score a 10th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. Logano recorded his 12th top-10 finish in 19 races this season, despite starting the race from the 14th position. Logano struggled with a tight-handling car early in the race and tough track position throughout the afternoon, but the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang overcame the challenges for a solid result.
- Through the opening stage of the race, Logano’s Ford Mustang ran tight as he tried to work his way forward. The car struggled to turn from the center of the corner in Turns 1 and 3 to the exit, but Logano reported that the balance of the No. 22 Mustang was strong through Turn 2. On the first pit stop of the race, crew chief Paul Wolfe made an air pressure adjustment to help the handling of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford and Logano was credited with a 10th-place finish when the opening stage came to an end on lap 30.
- In Stage 2, Logano told the team that it took some time for the handling of the No. 22 Mustang to come to him. On lap 75, Wolfe called his driver to pit road for a four-tire stop, along with air pressure and trackbar adjustments. Logano was credited with a 13th-place result when the segment concluded on lap 85. The fourth caution of the race on lap 94 set the Shell-Pennzoil crew up for a return to pit road. The No. 22 Mustang took on four tires and the team added tape to the nose of the car to help with the tight condition while running in dirty air.
- Logano made his final scheduled stop under the green flag on lap 104 for fuel only, which gave him enough gas to make it to the finish. He did a good job down the stretch of making up positions as other competitors pitted with their tanks running dry. Logano earned a 10th-place finish when the checkered flag waved on lap 140.
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Quote: "We struggled with track position early because we started back in the pack. It was difficult to pass but we made some gains with our Shell-Pennzoil Ford today with the 550 package."
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