Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Daytona
August 29, 2021
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400
Date: August 28, 2021
No. 2 PIRTEK Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 15th
Stage 2: 13th
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-44)
- Brad Keselowski's chances for a respectable finish Saturday night at Daytona ended when the driver of the PIRTEK Ford Mustang wrecked seven laps from the checkered flag. Keselowski was credited with a 34th-place finish and enters the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs 10th in the standings, 44 points behind leader Kyle Larson.
- The opening stage was a mixed bag for the driver of the No. 2 Mustang. He started 10th and at times ran among the top-five. Unfortunately, he was shuffled out of line late in the segment and was credited with a 15th-place when Stage 1 concluded on lap 50. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution for four tires on lap 52 and once again two laps later to top off his fuel tank before restarting 13th on lap 55.
- The early laps of Stage 2 were clam by Daytona standards. Keselowski had worked his way up to sixth-place by lap 67 but three laps later was pushed out of line and shuffled back in the lead draft. But the driver of the PIRTEK Ford rebounded and worked his way back up to sixth with just 10 laps to go in the segment. Unfortunately, Keselowski couldn't get drafting help to line up behind him and was shuffled back to 13th when Stage 2 ended on lap 100. The good news was that Keselowski was pleased with the balance of the No. 2 Mustang. He pitted on lap 102 for four tires and took the green flag 17th in line on lap 105.
- The final segment of the race was a rollercoaster for Keselowski. He was able to run among the top-10 but once more got squeezed out of line in the draft. He pitted for fuel-only under green on lap 123 and lost a lap before the leaders were forced to pit road. Keselowski got the free pass thanks to the fifth caution on lap 141 then received cosmetic damage in the aftermath of a multiple car accident six laps later when he slowed to miss the accident and was turned sideways. Despite all these challenges, Keselowski was in position to score a good finish. He restarted 22nd on lap 150 and just four laps later had worked his way up to ninth-place in the running order. But his night ended on lap 157 when he was involved in a pileup off Turn 4, leaving him with a 34th-place finish
Quote: "I checked up a little bit. The 37 (Ryan Preece) was flying in front of me and I had to check up for that and got hit from behind. It's unfortunate. Another foot and we'd have been in a great position here to have a run to win the race. I was doing great all the way until the 37 starts spinning. I checked up and just barely got the quarter panel, so it's a bummer. We'd been putting ourselves in position and trying to be smart and just missed it by a little bit."
No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 14th
Stage 2: 6th
Finish: 1st - 7th-career NASCAR Cup Series win
Laps Completed: 165/165
Laps Led: 7
Playoff Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-28)
- Ryan Blaney continued his recent hot streak in the NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday night by avoiding several multi-car accidents and winning the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. It was Blaney's third win of the season and second-consecutive victory after capturing the win last week at Michigan.
- Blaney ran competitively in the opening laps of the race before pitting at the lap 20 competition caution for a fuel only stop. Blaney continued to battle a loose Ford Mustang, reporting he was also struggling to stay connected to the cars in front of him, finishing Stage 1 in the 14th position.
- During the second stage, Blaney was able to work his way forward with the help of his fellow Ford Performance Mustangs, battling for the lead with teammate Joey Logano near the conclusion of the segment. Blaney ultimately finished Stage 2 in the sixth position, scoring valuable points in his tight battle for playoff points at the conclusion of the regular season.
- Blaney would grab the lead during the final stage before pitting for a potential final stop for fuel only at lap 124 with the remainder of the Ford Performance contingent. A caution flag at lap 140 would allow the Ford's who had pitted to cycle to the front of the field as the remainder of the lead lap cars had yet to hit pit lane.
- In the closing laps, Blaney would miss multiple "big ones," all while using masterful restarts and big pushes from the cars behind him to keep his BODYARMOR Ford Mustang up front. On the white flag lap, Blaney was once again out front when a crash happened behind him, forcing officials to thrown the yellow and checkered flag.
- The consecutive wins vaulted Blaney to second in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings heading into next week's race at Darlington.
Quote: "It was wild. We missed that big one barely. I don't know how we missed it and then we got a restart on the front row and it was kind of a drag race. I'm really thankful to LaJoie, who gave me a really good push and we were able to get clear on the restart, so I appreciate the push from him. I was having to hold off the 4 and the 17 and the 7 and I didn't really know which lane to go with down the back, so I kind of picked the middle and I kind of committed to the bottom and I guess some people got turned, but what a couple of cool weeks that's for sure. It was a very eventful race. It's so cool to be here in victory lane in Daytona. Maybe we're on a roll right now and we've got everything going our way. Hopefully, we keep it up."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 1st – Fifth stage win of the season
Laps Completed: 164/165
Laps Led: 37
Playoff Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-39)
- As has become accustomed at NASCAR superspeedway races, Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang was a constant presence up front all night long, leading laps and having a dominant car at Daytona International Speedway before falling victim to bad luck. On Saturday night, Logano found himself leading with less than 10 laps to go before a cut tire forced him to pit road under green, eventually leading to a 24th-place finish.
- After starting 22nd, Logano drifted back in the pack early in the race before mounting a late charge to the second position prior to the competition caution, where he received fuel and a wedge adjustment to the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang. Logano led laps briefly in Stage 1 before finishing in the eighth position.
- After being assessed a pit road penalty, Logano dropped to the tail of the field to begin Stage 2. Wasting no time, Logano and spotter Coleman Pressley masterfully worked the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang through traffic and back to the lead, earning their fifth stage win of the season and accumulating another valuable playoff point.
- Logano would lead multiple times and late into the final stage. Unfortunately, Logano would suffer a cut right front tire and be forced to pit just prior to "the big one" as the field exited turn 4. Logano and the team pitted to make additional repairs to the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang after finding themselves a lap down.
Quote: "Our Mustang was fast and won a stage, which was great. We got a playoff point. We had a shot to win there and the 11 (Denny Hamlin) just threw a late block and fenced me and then I had a right-rear down. Luckily, I didn't take out the whole field that time, but that got taken care of the next lap, so it probably wouldn't have mattered."
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