Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race: Foxwoods Casino 301
Date: July 21, 2019
No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 12th
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 12
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-120)
- Brad Keselowski scored a 10th-place finish in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Keselowski claimed his 10th top-10 finish of the 2019 season and 12th top-10 effort in 19 starts at New Hampshire. The driver of the Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang is now fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 120 points behind leader Joey Logano.
- Keselowski kicked off his weekend by winning the pole position at New Hampshire on Friday afternoon. He ripped off a lap of 27.927 seconds, 136.384 mph to win his first pole of the 2019 season, ending a 68-race drought dating back to Michigan in August 2017. Keselowski claimed his 15th career Cup Series pole position and his fourth in 19 starts at 1.058-mile New England superspeedway, his most at any track.
- Once the race started, Keselowski struggled with rear grip. He ran second behind leader Kyle Busch during the early laps of the race before taking the lead under green on lap 37. He led the next 11 laps before pitting under caution on lap 47 for four tires and adjustments. He returned to the track in third position for the restart on lap 50. But the adjustments to the No. 2 Mustang didn't work as intended, leaving Keselowski once again needing rear grip, however, he overcame his handling woes to score a fifth-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 75. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call during the stage caution to pit for right-side tires and a wedge adjustment. The strategy moved Keselowski up to second for the restart on lap 82.
- Shortly after the race went green, the driver of the No. 2 Ford Mustang reported that he was still fighting the same issues with the car's balance. The third caution on lap 111 gave Keselowski the opportunity to pit. He once again took right-side tires this time paired with a track bar adjustment and he lined up fifth for the restart on lap 116.
- Keselowski was running fifth at the time of fourth caution on lap 138 but told his team that the adjustments were making gains on his car's balance. He pitted for four tires and no adjustments on lap 140 and was shuffled back to 13th for the restart thanks to different pit strategies among the leaders, scoring a 12th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 150. Keselowski stayed out during the stage caution and was fourth when the race went green on lap 157.
- During the long green flag run that followed, Keselowski held firm to fourth position. On lap 215 the seventh caution set up a round of stops under the yellow and Keselowski pitted for four tires and fuel. Excellent work by the 2 crew moved Keselowski up to second-place for the restart on lap 218. He was running third when the ninth and final caution slowed the pace on lap 266. Wolfe made the call for right-side tires when Keselowski stopped on lap 266 and he restarted fifth on lap 272.
- The final 29 laps of the race ran green and nothing seemed to work in Keselowski's favor. The chaotic restart on lap 273 shuffled him back to eighth position and as the race entered its closing laps he and Kyle Busch raced each other hard, with Busch edging Keselowski for ninth position at the checkered flag.
"Not the result we wanted today with our Alliance Truck Parts Ford. We'll regroup and bounce back strong next weekend at Pocono."
No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 13th
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 11th (-211)
- Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang team capped-off a strong weekend with a fourth-place finish in Sunday's Foxwoods 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Blaney claimed best finish in seven Cup races at New Hampshire and collected his third consecutive top-10. He racked up his sixth top-five of the season and remains 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 211 points behind leader Joey Logano but just seven points behind 10th place of Alex Bowman.
- Blaney earned the fifth starting position in Friday's qualifying session. When the race started, he ran inside the top-five for much of the Stage 1. He reported to his crew chief Jeremy Bullins that the balance of the No. 12 Ford Mustang was loose all throughout turns. The first caution on lap 46 set up a round of pit stops among the leaders. Blaney received four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustment. Although the changes ultimately didn't make a huge difference, Blaney held on for a seventh-place finish when the segment ended on lap 75. The Menards crew made bigger adjustments during the stage caution and Blaney would restart outside the top-10 on lap 82.
- Early in Stage 2 Blaney reported that the balance on the Menards Ford remained on the loose side. The third caution on lap 111 caution set up pit stop where Bullins made the call for right-side tires and fuel. Once again, those adjustments didn't make a huge difference and the High Point, N.C. native soon reported that his car was now "chattering" the rear tires.
- Blaney pitted during the fourth caution once again taking on right-side tires and fuel. A few laps later another caution would fly on lap 146 with Blaney staying on the track and restarting 11th on lap 148. But try as he might, Blaney came up just short in his effort to score stage points, scoring a 13th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 150. He pitted during the stage caution for left-side tires and fuel on lap 155 and restarted 15th when racing resumed on lap 157.
- From there Blaney climbed his way back through the field. Fighting his way back into the top-10, the driver of the Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang reported that the air pressure and chassis adjustments along with the PJ1 traction compound wearing off made the car come to life.
- A pit stop under the seventh caution on lap 215 saw the Menards crew make a track bar and wedge adjustment to continue tighten up the car. The final caution of the day slowed the pace on lap 266. Blaney pitted during the caution and restarted sixth on lap 272. Over the final 29 laps, Blaney picked off two spots to claim a fourth-place finish at the checkered flag.
"I didn't think we had leader-speed all day. We got better throughout the day for sure, but I thought maybe second or third-place. We got to second there towards the end, and I was starting to fade a little bit, but I thought we could probably run second. The last caution when we started sixth, got up to fourth and just kind of stayed there. We just needed a little bit more speed, but, overall, not a bad day for the Menards/Sylvania team."
No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 1
Point Standings (Ahead of Second): 1st (+3)
- Joey Logano started eighth and finished ninth in Sunday afternoon's Foxwoods Casino Resort 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford Mustang recorded his 14th top-10 finish of the season but his day was anything the easy. He and the team fought handling issues for most of the race, which at one point, forced him outside the top-20.
- Logano reported the AAA Insurance Ford Mustang was too free or corner entry during the early laps of the race. He ran inside the top-10 as the crew developed a strategy to tighten up the No. 22 Mustang. A caution at lap 46 brought Logano to pit road for four tires, fuel, two rounds of trackbar adjustment and he returned to the track in ninth position.
- Despite the changes, Logano maintained a loose corner entry condition throughout the remainder of Stage 1, finishing 13th when the segment ended on lap 75. Under the stage caution, he reported the only noticeable handling change was that the No. 22 AAA Ford Mustang was now tighter on throttle. As the laps ticked off in Stage 2, Logano continued to battle handling conditions, being relegated to the 16th position at lap 103.
- A caution flag on lap 111 gave the No. 22 team a chance to pit for adjustments. The team elected to return the trackbar to the race start position along with an air pressure adjustment. A caution prior to the end of the second stage allowed crew chief Todd Gordon to leave Logano on the track, cycling forward to claim a second-place finish when the segment ended on lap 150, netting nine valuable regular season points. Logano pitted during the stage caution for an additional trackbar and air pressure adjustments. He worked his way up to 11th position by lap 170, reporting he was dragging the brake to the center of the corner to keep the car tightened up.
- Most of the leaders pitted during the seventh caution on lap 215 including Logano, who returned for another wedge adjustment, trying to improve a car that had been slowly coming to him over the course of the race.
- The ninth and final caution with 34 laps remaining, brought Logano back to pit road for air pressure adjustments and four fresh tires. He restarted in 11th position, in the lesser preferred inside line.
- With a much-improved No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford Mustang, Logano would rally through the field. He ran as high as sixth before fading to ninth at the checkered flag fell. Logano brushed off his many struggles during the afternoon to keep the lead in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings by three points over Kyle Busch.
"We were off when we unloaded the AAA Insurance Ford and we just kept trying to find a little something here and there to keep moving forward on things and never really did. We qualified eighth and ran about 12th to 15th most of the race. We grabbed some stage points in the second stage and came home ninth, so that's the best we had. I'm a little disappointed with that. I want to be better here, but we learned what not to do and sometimes that's very valuable."