Track: Martinsville Speedway
Race: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
Date: June 10, 2020
No. 2 PPG Ford – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 12th
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 5
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-72)
- For the second-consecutive race, Brad Keselowski rallied from deep in the field to score a solid finish and make up points in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. Keselowski lost a lap early in the 500-lap event on Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway, only to finish third, his fifth top-five result of the 2020 season. The driver of the PPG Ford Mustang claimed his 10th top-five in 21 races at the .526-mile Virginia speedway. He now sits fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 72 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- Keselowski started sixth, but fell a lap down and outside the top 30 before the race reached the 50-lap mark, with what he thought was a flat tire. He made two pit stops during Stage 1 and was about claw his way back onto the lead lap when the first segment ended on lap 130. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 135 and restarted 22nd when the race went green on lap 140.
- During Stage 2, Keselowski steadily worked his way through traffic and finished 12th before pitting during the stage caution on lap 260 for four tires and air pressure adjustment. Good work by the PPG pit crew moved him up to ninth-place for the restart on lap 271.
- Keselowski continued to work his way forward during the next green flag run, climbing up to second-place at the time of the sixth caution on lap 327. The 2 Crew held serve on the round of pit stops that followed. Keselowski restarted second on lap 332. He grabbed the lead from teammate Joey Logano on lap 365 and led the next five laps before Martin Truex Jr. took the lead from him on lap 370.
- From there, Keselowski wasn't able to mount another challenge for the lead. He restarted second following the seventh and final caution on lap 403. He briefly fell back to fourth position but passed Logano and Chase Elliott to move up to second with 54 laps to go. Ten laps later teammate Ryan Blaney slipped by, dropping Keselowski to third.
"Yeah, decent finish for us. We ended up third. I felt like we had a pretty good car. Had a rough start there. Started in the outside lane. I guess with the track not having any rubber, when you started on the outside lane, the tire completely blistered and corded. Unfortunately I didn't get any stage points, but rallied to get up to the lead there about 150 to go. Wasn't quite good enough to hold off the 19. He was super, super strong."
No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 19th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 34
Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-91)
- Ryan Blaney started from the pole and finished second in Wednesday night's NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, driving the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang. It marked Blaney's best finish in nine career starts at the Virginia track and his fourth top-five result in the last five races.
- After starting from the front row, Blaney fell back to 29th after struggling with the balance of his Ford Mustang prior to the lap-60 competition caution. After significant adjustments on lap 63, Blaney would begin his march back through the field, eventually getting back on the lead lap to score a 19th-place finish in Stage 1.
- Blaney restarted 14th as Stage 2 began and would race his way into the top-10 by lap 160 and the top-five by lap 180. By lap 220, Blaney, who was running the fastest laps on the track, worked his way to second, where he would finish Stage 2.
- The early-season points leader began the final stage of the 500-lap event in the second position and would pass Jimmie Johnson for the lead on lap 272, only to relinquish it teammate Joey Logano on lap 284. Blaney would pass Logano once again for the lead on lap 307. A caution at lap 327 brought leaders to pit road, but unfortunately Blaney would be penalized for having a crew member over-the-wall too soon, forcing him to start the rear of the field.
- After restarting outside the top-15, Blaney began an incredible charge back through the field, working his Menards/Cardell Ford back to second by lap 460. Unfortunately, time ran out he would come home with a second-place finish.
- Blaney now sits sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 94 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
"Big shout out to Todd Gordon and everybody on this No. 12 team. We were off at the start of the race and went a lap down in the first 60 laps. We got the car a lot better and eventually got the free pass and drove up through there and finished second in the second stage. We had a penalty on pit road that set us back again. I would have loved to have restarted back up there with Martin (Truex Jr.) and did not have pass all those cars and maybe had something for him. We had a couple solid runs here, just need to break through."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 1st (Third stage win of 2020)
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 234
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-28)
- Joey Logano started third and led a race-high 234 laps on Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway, ultimately finishing fourth in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Logano flashed short run speed through the early stages of the race, but faded to fourth late in the event as the track continued to tighten up. Logano collected 18 stage points and a playoff point on the night, closing the gap to regular season points leader Kevin Harvick.
- In the opening laps, Logano quickly moved from third to the top spot, and began stretching his lead out as the field raced towards the competition caution at lap 60. Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was really good and he had no complaints. Logano continued to lead as the laps clicked off under green until a caution just before the end of the stage brought the leaders to pit road for the second time. Logano regained the lead and won his third stage of the 2020 season.
- At the end of the first stage, Logano remained on the track and led well into the latter half of the second stage before relinquishing the lead to the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson, and eventually second place to teammate Ryan Blaney. Logano settled into the third, where he'd ride until the end of the stage, reporting that he'd lost rear grip and drive off the corners.
- Logano and teammate Blaney swapped the lead back and forth early in the final stage, with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford settling into second just past lap 300. A lap 330 pit stop helped Logano jump from third back to the lead. As the final stage resumed, Logano had again settled into the third position as he was still lacking center-turn and drive-off. At lap 399, the team pitted for four tires and an air pressure adjustment, looking to give Logano the turn he needed.
- In the closing laps, Logano dropped to the fourth position, where he would ultimately finish. Logano led a race-high 234 laps, including winning the first stage of the race. The finish marked the third top-five and sixth top-10 result in the first 11 races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
"We fired off about as perfect as possible when the race started tonight. Everyone else was falling off tight and we kept creeping around and passing them. That was a lot of fun. Late in the race we got a little tight and we just couldn't free up the car late in the race and ended up fourth. Good top-five result, not what we wanted but it's still a good points result."