Penske Racing

Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Kansas II

September 10, 2023



START: 18TH    
FINISH: 31ST    

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang team were scored in the 31st position Sunday afternoon when the checkered flag waved after enduring an unfortunate setback in the second half of the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Cindric rolled off the grid in the 18th position and made his first trip to pit road on Lap 40 for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel after reporting that the car had loosened up. He returned to pit road under caution on Lap 63 for four scuffed tires for the charge to the end of Stage 1, in which he crossed the line 20th. Cindric alerted his team of the struggle in dirty air and the need for grip. After a visit to pit road, Cindric lined up 17th for the ensuing restart to kick off Stage 2. The yellow flag was again displayed on Lap 108, and Cindric informed his team about a free-handling condition on the No. 2 Ford Mustang as he pitted for service and adjustments. Shortly after the restart, Cindric was spun by another competitor, forcing the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang to pit road for fresh tires. The 25-year-old racer made contact with the wall with just over 10 laps remaining in Stage 2, wounding the car as the driver experienced a significant vibration. After finishing the segment in the 31st position, the No. 2 team assessed the car during the break and Cindric returned to the track for the final Stage. Fighting through to the end, Cindric crossed the stripe finishing in the 31st position. 
CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "I thought we were getting our Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang better throughout the race. We started the race out really free, especially over a long run, and felt like we were making some good adjustments. Unfortunately, we got dumped on a restart then got in the fence with a tire disadvantage and just kind of had to ride it out with damage. It’s frustrating to have two weeks in a row to get cut in half and pretty much just have to circulate with a wounded car. The guys on the No. 2 car deserve better than that. Looking forward to Bristol."


START: 17TH     
FINISH: 12TH      

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Wabash Ford Mustang showed top-10 speed throughout Sunday afternoon’s 400-mile race at Kansas Speedway in a pivotal race in the Round of 16. After starting 17th, Blaney charged his way into the top-10 in the opening laps despite battling a loose-handling condition on the first green flag run of the afternoon. Following a caution on lap 62 that brought Blaney to pit road for four tires and a round of adjustments, he restarted tenth with 11 laps remaining in the opening stage and made the most of the restart, vaulting up to fifth in the running order by stage-end to pick up valuable points. An issue on pit road during the stage break relegated Blaney back to 18th to begin the second stage but again worked his way through traffic to rejoin the top-10 by lap 101. Following a pair of restarts in the latter stages of the second segment, Blaney raced his way up to sixth before making his way around the No. 4 for fifth on the leaderboard before the caution flag flew on lap 127. With sets of fresh tires winding down, a majority of the leaders opted to pit but Blaney was one of nine cars to stay out under yellow, setting him up to restart third with 33 laps remaining in Stage 2. Blaney successfully cleared the No. 5 in turn one on the restart to reach second in the running order, but cars on fresher tires behind him began to outpace the Wabash Ford Mustang as he managed come away with a seventh-place finish in Stage 2, further building his playoff points cushion. Following a four tire stop during the stage break, Blaney lined up to restart sixth and maintained that pace up until green flag pit stops began to cycle where several teams decided to split the stage in half. Blaney was brought to pit road on lap 212 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments before rejoining the field for the final run of the day. The caution flag flew on lap 260 to set up a green-white-checkered finish and the No. 12 team took four tires and fuel prior to the final restart. After lining up to restart 15th, Blaney battled through two and three-wide traffic over the final two laps to come away with a 12th-place finish.

Blaney is sixth in points and 25 points above the cut line going into the final race of the Round of 16.

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "Overall, not a bad day for our Wabash Ford Mustang. Pretty decent on the short runs and on the long runs we’d just kind of fall off a little bit too hard. Just felt super loose and lose a little speed. The last restart didn’t really work out for us. We took four tires and we started way in the back, and could only get to 12th. But, proud of the stage points we made, proud of the short run speed. Hopefully, we can continue to learn. But I feel decent about the cut line. We just have to go to Bristol and have another good night."


START: 11TH     
STAGE ONE: 16TH     
FINISH: 5TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano and the No. 22 team took advantage of a late-race caution and a made a pivotal strategy call to pick up a fifth-place finish in Sunday afternoon’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Logano battled handling issues with the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang during the opening stage, resulting in a 16th-place finish, but the balance began to settle in on the opening run of the second segment. Logano reported improvements with overall grip through the corners as he broke into the top-10 for the first time on lap 89. Following a caution on lap 127, Logano was brought to pit road for service, but an issue during the stop relegated him to 20th to take the green flag on the ensuing restart. With four fresh tires underneath him, Logano made quick work of the field ahead, working his way up to tenth in the running order in the first four laps before settling into eighth with 25 laps to go in Stage 2. Logano reported that the handling of his Ford Mustang was as its best to that point in the day as he crossed the line eighth to finish the second segment on lap 165. The No. 22 team opted to split the final stage in half as green flag pit stops began to cycle as Logano hit pit road on lap 216 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments to alleviate a tight-handling condition for the final run of the afternoon. Once the cycle completed, Logano was scored 15th as the laps wound down, but a caution with seven laps to go brought the field back together to set up a green-white-checkered finish. The field hit pit road for the final stops of the day and crew chief Paul Wolfe called for right side tires only, vaulting Logano up to third in the running order to take the green flag. Restarting from the inside of row two, Logano darted to the inside of the leader after crossing the stripe and cleared the No. 99 going into turn one, setting up a battle with the No. 43 for the top spot. The two battled side-by-side down the backstretch, but the No. 43 pinned Logano to the inside lane in turns three and four coming to the white flag. As the two raced to the white flag, the No. 45 dove beneath the pair to take the lead and eventual race win as Logano settled for a fifth-place finish, marking his ninth top-five finish of the season and ninth-career top-five at Kansas Speedway.

Logano is 11th in points and 12 points above the cut line going into the final race of the Round of 16.

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "It was enough in the sense that we were running 15th when the caution came out. [Crew chief] Paul [Wolfe] did a good job at making a good call there and putting us in position. I could see the lead. We were right there. If I was able to just clear the No. 43, it might have looked a little different. But I couldn’t quite clear him. It just allowed [Tyler] Reddick to get a big run once we started getting swallowed up by the four-tire cars. You’re just on defense after that. So, we had our chance into three there, and just wasn’t quite good enough to finish it off there. Overall, I’m glad we had a decent points day. We needed it. We were on the cut line, or close to it coming in. So, we’ll fight again at Bristol."

WHAT'S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the third and final race of the Round of 16 on Saturday, September 18. Coverage of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race begins at 7:30 pm E.T. on USA, PRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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