Penske Racing

Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Charlotte ROVAL

October 8, 2023



RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang, gradually worked his way forward from the drop of the green flag Sunday afternoon until he was involved in a race-altering incident with under 25 laps to go. In the end, the 25-year-old racer crossed the finish line in the 25th position. Cindric rolled off the grid 29th after qualifying Saturday afternoon determined the lineup for the Bank of America ROVAL 400. He reported early on that he was struggling with turn, and made his first trek to pit road on lap 17 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Cindric finished Stage 1 in the 21st position and said the car was looser that run and he still needed more turn. He restarted 14th and battled a loose-handling Ford Mustang. On lap 44, Cindric returned to the attention of the Menards/Cardell pit crew for another service stop, ultimately crossing the stripe 19th at the end of Stage 2. After pitting prior to the end of the segment, Cindric stayed out under the Stage break and restarted 11th. Navigating a slew of cautions, Cindric climbed inside the top 10 with 30 laps to go, but heavy contact from the No. 99 sent Cindric around with just 22 laps remaining, forcing the No. 2 to pit road for fresh tires. Unfortunately, the Team Penske entry also collected a speeding penalty en route to his pit stall. Scored in the 33rd position, the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion was able to rally back to 25th by the time the checkered flag flew.
CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS:  "Yeah, proud to be able to work our way forward from the back of the field at the start of the race and move forward on the track and through strategy. All things were working in the right direction as we got inside the top 10 and in a good spot to finish out the race, but just got taken out. I'm pretty bummed about that; it's just one of those deals you can't do anything about, but it's extremely frustrating when it takes all of those pieces to get to that point. I'm proud of the team."



RACE RUNDOWN: After clinching a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 last Sunday in Talladega, Ryan Blaney closed out the Round of 12 with a 12th-place finish in the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Blaney started the 109-lap event from 17th and reported a tight-handling condition during the first green flag run of the day, prompting a scheduled stop on lap 16 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments. As green flag stops continued to cycle through the end of the opening stage, Blaney raced his way back to 17th by the end of the 25-lap segment. The No. 12 team kept Blaney on the track during the stage break – allowing the Discount Tire Ford Mustang to line up 11th for the ensuing restart – and continued to experience some of the same handling issues on during the opening run of Stage 2. The caution flag flew with two laps remaining in the second stage while running 15th as Stage 2 came to a close under yellow. A green flag stop with ten laps remaining in Stage 2 allowed Blaney to stay out during the break and vaulted him to sixth in the running order for the following restart as he settled into the top-10. As the leaders began to hit pit road under green, Blaney continued to make laps and cycled to the lead on lap 72 as he continued to build the distance between he and the No. 16 running in second who was coming off of a green flag stop. The No. 12 team’s gamble to go off-cycle from the rest of the field nearly paid off, but a caution on lap 76 forced Blaney to come to pit road under yellow for a four-tire stop, relegating him to 26th in the running order for the following restart. On the opening lap of the restart, the field stacked up at the exit of turn four and sparked a multi-car incident to bring out the caution on lap 79 as Blaney suffered minor nose damage. Blaney continued to evade on-track incidents over the course of the final 25 laps as he raced his way back into the top-15 before taking the checkered flag 12th to close out the afternoon.
Blaney enters the opening race of the Round of 8 eighth in the points standings, ten points below the cut line.

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "It wasn’t a bad day. Our Discount Tire Ford Mustang was pretty decent on mainly long runs we could kind of go. I don’t think we had the short run speed, but the long runs were good and you’d kind of get to the back of a train of cars and just kind of stop. We were all running the same speed. We tried to get off strategy a little bit there. We stayed out long and then tried to pit after 10 laps to have a tire advantage and the caution came out and we had to restart last, so that kind of hurt us. Overall, I’m proud of the effort today - and obviously last week - and we’re really looking forward to getting to Vegas."



RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano fought his way to a top-five finish in Sunday afternoon's Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, marking his tenth top-five finish of the 2023 season. After taking the green flag from the seventh position, Logano reported issues with front turn during the first run of the afternoon before bringing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang to pit road for a scheduled green flag stop on lap 20. Logano rejoined the field with four laps remaining in Stage 1 and raced to an 11th-place finish in the opening segment. Logano lined up to take the green flag for Stage 2 from seventh and settled into eighth in the running order as the field worked its way to single-file racing. After reporting a tight-handling condition throughout the 17-turn road course, Logano was brought to pit road on lap 43 for a scheduled four tire stop and a round of adjustments. Just as he was beginning to make a charge back towards the top-10, the caution flag flew with two laps remaining in the stage, resulting in a 14th-place finish in Stage 2. Several of the leaders hit pit road during the stage break, but the No. 22 team’s green flag stop allowed Logano to stay out and take the green flag from the outside of row three for the final stage. After battling with the Nos. 24 and 17 through the winding turns of the infield, Logano settled into sixth in the running order while struggling with rear grip to begin the run. The leaders made their way to pit road for scheduled green flag stops on lap 71 for four tires and fuel in which Logano found himself seventh in the running order by the time the pit cycle completed. The No. 22 team showed a strength in long run speed all afternoon, but several cautions in the latter stages of the 109-lap event prevented Logano from putting that strength on display. Logano took the final restart from fifth with ten laps to go and held steady the rest of the way in the top-five effort. With the result, Logano has now recorded top-10 finishes in five of his six career starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, contributing to an average finish of 8.7.

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "We executed a decent race for the most part. We could have gotten maybe a couple more [positions] on being a little quicker on some other things, but, overall, we had the speed to win if you would have put us first but I’m pretty sure anybody in the top seven would say the same thing. It was whoever was out front goes there. We ran fifth most of the day and we finished fifth and that’s just what it is."


WHAT'S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first race in the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 where Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney stays in the hunt for a Championship. Coverage of the South Point 400 begins at 2:30 pm E.T. on NBC, PRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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