Track: Richmond Raceway
Race: Federated Auto Parts 400
Date: September 12, 2020
No. 2 Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 1st (Seventh Stage Win)
Finish: 1st (Fourth Win of the Season)
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 192
Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-31)
- Brad Keselowski scored his fourth victory of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season in dominating fashion Saturday night at Richmond Raceway. Keselowski took the lead on lap 353 when he passed Austin Dillon and never looked back, crossing the finish line over two seconds ahead of second-place Martin Truex Jr. The driver of the Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford claimed his second victory at Richmond Raceway and the 34th Cup victory of his career. Keselowski moves up to third in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 31 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
- Stage 1 was quiet and productive for Keselowski. He started ninth and steadily worked his way through the field to score a fourth-place finish when the stage ended on lap 80. At the end of the stage, Keselowski said he needed to be tighter all the way around. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for a track bar adjustment during a four-tire stop under the stage caution on lap 84 and Keselowski restarted third on lap 89.
- Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano battled for the lead early in Stage 2 before Keselowski wrestled the top spot away on lap 121. By lap 138 teams that chose the strategy of pitting twice during this 155-lap segment (including Kevin Harvick) began to pit. Bullins chose to pit once, under green on lap 162, for four tires and no adjustments. From there, Keselowski walked the tightrope of marching his way through traffic while not abusing his tires. His efforts were rewarded when he passed Dillon for the lead on lap 218 and held firm to the top spot over the next 17 laps to grab his seventh stage victory of the season. He pitted under caution on lap 239 for four tires and fuel and restarted as the race leader on lap 243.
- The Western Star/Alliance Parts team adjusted their strategy for the third and final stage with Bullins opting for two stops during the final segment. Keselowski led until he pitted under green on lap 294 for four tires. He returned to the track in fourth position and passed Joey Logano for the lead on lap 317. Keselowski made his final stop under green on lap 342 and 11 laps later made the race winning pass around Dillon.
Quotes: "It was a great race for us. I'm really pumped about this performance and the way we've run on the short tracks. I felt like we would run well here at Richmond with our Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang. Jeremy Bullins and the entire 2 team performed excellent. We were expecting long green flag runs and we knew this was going to be a really big pit strategy race. We had the speed and we had the strategy. This team did it all."
No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 25th
Stage 2: 20th
Laps Completed: 398/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 16th (-109)
- Ryan Blaney finished 19th in Saturday's night race at Richmond Raceway. The driver of the Menards/Libman Ford Mustang battled a tight car most of the night to come home with a top-20 finish.
- Blaney started 15th and made his way up to 11th by lap 5 but fell back to 14th at the time of the competition caution on lap 30. He reported to crew chief Todd Gordon the Menards Ford was too tight in the center of the corners.
- The driver of the No. 12 Mustang pitted on lap 33 for four tires and a track bar adjustment. Unfortunately, Blaney would have to make a second pit stop to tighten loose lug nuts. He restarted 33rd on lap 37 and made his way to 25th when Stage 1 concluded on lap 80.
- Blaney would restart 21st when Stage 2 began on lap 89. He reported slight improvements to the balance of the Menards Ford. Unfortunately, the loss in track position would hinder Blaney as he fell a lap down to the leaders and would finish 20th when Stage 2 concluded on lap 235.
- The final stage began with Blaney restarting one lap down in 19th position. He would make his final pit stop on lap 341 and would cross the line in 19th position at the race's conclusion.
- Blaney remains 16th in the NASCAR Playoffs, 109 points behind leader Kevin Harvick heading into next week's cutoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Quote: "Tough night for our Menards/Libman team. We have to win next weekend. It is pretty plain and simple. It is our goal every week to win the race but now it is our season on the line. We will see if we can get it done. We have been pretty close at Bristol before, it is just a matter of trying to put a whole race together there."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 45
Point Standings (Behind First): 4th (-34)
- Joey Logano started second and finished third in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, running solidly inside the top-five throughout the event and leading 45 laps in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. The race featured long green-flag runs with Logano being too tight in the center of the turns for much of the 400-lap event.
- Logano started the race needing more center turn in the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, but reported the car continued to improve the longer the opening run went. On the first pit stop at lap 30, crew chief Paul Wolfe adjusted with trackbar and tape on the nose of the No. 22 Ford. Logano finished the opening stage in the third position and still needing more center turn.
- After leading the opening laps of the second stage, Logano settled into the second position until the team pitted at lap 162 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Logano finished Stage 2 in fourth position, struggling as the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang continued to build tight once the grip on his Goodyear tires went away.
- In the final stage, Logano continued to run inside the top-five with his teammate Brad Keselowski. Wolfe called Logano to pit road at lap 294, allowing Logano to leapfrog Keselowski and into the lead. Both Logano and Keselowski were now committed to a two-stop strategy for the final stage.
- The remainder of the race ran green, with Logano holding firm to third position, keeping with the trend of running in the top-five for the entire evening. Logano heads to the first elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway next week third in the standings, 34 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: "It was a pretty calm race and we just kind of hung around in the top three the whole time. I felt like our Shell-Pennzoil Ford was pretty good in the beginning of the race. It just seemed like we had third to fourth-place speed and we finished third. We scored stage points and a top-five and that puts us in a pretty good spot for next weekend. I'm proud of the effort and proud of what we've picked up here lately since the playoffs started. We just have to keep it rolling."