Track: Kansas Speedway
Race: Hollywood Casino 400
Date: October 20, 2019
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 16th
Laps Completed: 277/277
Laps Led: 2
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (Eliminated from Playoffs)
- Brad Keselowski missed advancing to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. The playoff fortunes for the driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang seesawed back and forth multiple times in the closing laps of the race between he and Chase Elliott but when the dust finally settled, Keselowski was eliminated from the playoffs by just three points.
- Keselowski started fourth and ran well during Stage 1. As the 80-lap segment drew to a close, the balance on the No. 2 Mustang was free on corner entry and tight on exit. He was ninth when the first caution slowed the pace on lap 76. Keselowski pitted one lap later for fuel and tires and used a good restart on lap 78 to claim a sixth-place finish when the segment concluded. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call to stay on the track during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted fourth when the race went green on lap 86.
- During the next run, Keselowski said the balance on his Mustang was still free on both ends on the track and felt like it was sliding the right-rear through the corners. He was ninth when the third caution on lap 117 gave him a chance to pit for four tires and more adjustments. He recovered but still had his hands full as the balance on the No. 2 Ford shifted to being too tight in the center of the corners. Keselowski was credited with a 16th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 160. He pitted during the stage caution for four tires plus tape on the nose and restarted 14th when the Stage 3 went green on lap 166.
- As the laps ticked away in the final stage, it became clear that the final transfer spot into the Round of 8 would be decided between Keselowski and Elliott. Keselowski said his car was jumping between "super-loose and super-tight" and he was mired back in 16th position. Elliott, meanwhile, ran just inside the top-10 but still trailed Keselowski by a handful of points.
- Keselowski made a scheduled stop under green on lap 216 for four tires and a track bar adjustment. Once the pit cycle was complete, he fell a lap down to the leaders. A caution for debris on lap 254 gave Keselowski the chance to take the wave around and rejoin the lead lap. He restarted 19th on lap 258, nine laps from the finish, three points ahead of Elliott.
- With just two laps to go, the sixth caution waved for an accident on the backstretch. Keselowski pitted for four tires one lap later and restarted 15th for the restart in NASCAR Overtime. He was running 13th and three points ahead of Elliott when the final caution waved on lap 271, a split-second before race leader Hamlin crossed the finish line, which set up another restart and dash to the finish.
- Keselowski took the green flag in 13th position and nothing appeared to go his way during the final dash to the finish. He went to the middle at the entrance to Turn 1 and was promptly boxed-in by heavy traffic. Moments later Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rubbed fenders as he was fighting through traffic. On the final lap he bounced off the wall in Turn 2 trying to find a hole in traffic on the outside. He crossed the finish line 19th while Elliott place second to advance in the Playoffs.
"We didn't make it. I pushed as hard as I knew how and didn't quite do good enough on the last restart and that was it. We clawed as hard as we could and there were times it looked like we were going to be fine and times it didn't. In the end it didn't work out."
No. 12 Menards/Dickies Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 277/277
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-37)
- Ryan Blaney was zapped by a cut tire with 23 laps to go in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The misfortune relegated Blaney to a 21st-place finish Sunday afternoon but thanks to his Talladega victory last week, the driver of the Menards/Dickies Ford Mustang advances to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs, 37 points behind points leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney started third and quickly worked his way to second in the opening laps. He settled into third position after Kyle Larson passed him on lap 10. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his No. 12 Mustang was tight especially in Turns 3 and 4. His first stop of the day came on lap 41 where the Dickies team changed four tires, added fuel plus made wedge and air pressure adjustment. Blaney cycled back inside the top-five after the green flag stops were completed. The first caution of the race came out on lap 76 for debris. Bullins made the call to stay out in the hopes of winning the stage and collecting a valuable playoff point. When racing resumed on lap 78, Blaney was stacked three-wide on the restart and lost several spots but managed to score a sixth-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 80. He pitted during the stage caution for four tires and fuel plus track bar and air pressure adjustments to improve a loose-handling condition.
- The driver of the Menards/Dickies Ford restarted outside the top 10 when Stage 2 began on lap 86. The balance on the No. 12 Ford was improved from the first two runs but Blaney said he was too free in Turns 1 and 2 and too tight in Turns 3 and 4. He drove up to eighth-place and pitted on lap 117 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Speedy work on the pit lane by the Menards/Dickies crew gained him one spot on pit road up to seventh.
- The chassis adjustments along with an increasingly overcast afternoon helped the Dickies Ford come to life. He passed Kevin Harvick for third on lap 127 and grabbed second from Martin Truex Jr. Blaney and Denny Hamlin waged a spirited battle for the lead as Stage 2 drew to a close but try as he might, he could not find a way around Hamlin and settled for a second-place finish when the segment concluded on lap 160. Bullins called for four tires plus a track bar and air pressure adjustments during the stage caution and Blaney restarted second on lap 166.
- Once back under green, Blaney resumed his chase of Hamlin. Using the outside line in both corners, Blaney steadily made up time on Hamlin. But as the run grew longer, the balance on Blaney's Ford went to the free side, stalling his pursuit. Kyle Busch passed Blaney for second at the 200-lap mark. He made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 218 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
- Blaney was running third with 13 laps remaining when he cut a right-rear tire in Turn 2 and the debris brought out a caution on lap 254. Blaney pitted during the caution for tires and hasty repairs to his Ford. He survived the next two chaotic restarts (on laps 269 and 275 respectively) to bring home to a 21st-place finish.
"It was an up and down day. We didn't start off great, but we got better throughout the race. We were able to get up to second but the No. 11 (Hamlin) was phenomenal. I could only make time at the wall and had to pound the fence to do anything. Eventually I got too close to the fence trying to run those guys back down and hit it. We blew a tire before we could get to pit road. We knew we had to take that chance today trying to run hard. It stinks that I blew a tire and caused that caution."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 277/277
Laps Led: 4
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-16)
- Joey Logano experienced a full range of emotions on Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. Logano started deep in the field, won Stage 1, and scored a 17th-place finish after considerable damage to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford late in the race. He scored 14 valuable stage points on the afternoon, which were critical for the No. 22 team to advance into the Round of 8 for the second consecutive season. Logano stays alive in his quest to become the first driver to successfully defend a championship since the playoff format was adopted in 2014.
- After starting 29th, Logano moved inside the top 20 by lap 8. He was quiet on the radio about the car's handling, reporting only a slight brush with the wall from earlier in the race. On lap 15, Logano reported he was too tight to run the bottom and tight overall around the 1.5-mile speedway. On lap 32 a vibration forced Logano to make a stop under green for four tires and fuel.
- Logano returned to the lead lap thanks to an uninterrupted green flag pit cycle. On lap 58 he radioed crew chief Todd Gordon and asked if the Shell-Pennzoil Ford could make it all the way to the end of the first stage without another stop and told yes. A caution flag with four laps remaining in the first segment set up pit stops among the leaders but Logano stayed on the track to gain valuable stage points. He restarted third when the race went green on lap 79 and two laps later Logano powered his way to the Stage 1 victory on lap 80. Logano gained 10 points and another valuable playoff point. He pitted during the stage caution and restarted 15th on lap 86 - the same position he was running in when the team elected to gamble at the end of the first stage.
- Under caution on lap 117, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was too loose to run the top lane and that good lap times on the bottom groove was depended on clean air. He scored a seventh-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 160 and told his team that he needed the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang to be quite a bit tighter for the final stage.
- Through the first 50 laps of the final stage, Logano ran inside the top-10 but continued to wrestle a loose-handling Ford Mustang. During a scheduled green flag stop on lap 217, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make both track bar and air pressure adjustments to the Shell-Pennzoil car.
- The fifth caution on lap 254 brought Logano back to pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment because the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was too loose to run the high line. The sixth caution on lap 265 pushed the finish of the race into NASCAR Overtime. As Logano neared the start-finish line and white flag at the end of the first attempt at the green flag finish, Logano was sent through the infield grass, one of five cars collected in the accident that forced another two-lap dash to the finish. The Shell-Pennzoil crew was able to repair the No. 22 Ford and Logano was credited with a 17th-place finish in the final rundown.
"We needed every point we could get, and it looked like we were in a good spot. Next thing you know they are wrecking on the outside and I get hit and I am going through the grass. I felt comfortable before that. I didn't hit anything, so I got lucky for sure. I have been lucky a few times. We were able to finish Talladega and I parked the thing and there was a hole in the radiator. This was a hard fought and blue-collar round for sure. On to the next round."