Track: Michigan International Speedway
Race: Consumers Energy 400
Date: August 11, 2019
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 27th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 66
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-138)
- A late-race stop for fuel robbed Brad Keselowski of a top-five finish in the Consumers Energy 400 Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski was running third when he stopped for a splash of fuel 11 laps from the finish, leaving him with a 19th-place finish. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford remains sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 138 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Keselowski kicked off his weekend at Michigan by winning the pole position on Friday afternoon. His sizzling lap of 37.801 seconds, 190.471 mph around the 2.0-mile track gave him his 16th pole in 364 Cup races, his second of the 2019 season and second in 21 starts at Michigan.
- Keselowski led the first 39 laps of the 200-lap race but as the run progressed, the No. 2 Mustang began to push on corner exit. He was running second when he made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 42 for four tires and a track bar adjustment. When the cycle was complete, Keselowski was fourth in the running order. He passed teammate Joey Logano on the final lap of Stage 1 to claim a third-place finish despite wrestling a car that was loose in the center of the corners. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for right-side tires and fuel during the stage caution on lap 63. Excellent work by the No. 2 Crew gave Keselowski the lead when the race went green on lap 66.
- Keselowski led the next 18 laps and engaged in an entertaining duel with Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin for the lead. But as the laps ticked away, the loose-handling condition returned, shuffling Keselowski back to fourth-place in the running order before a sequence of green flag pit stops began on lap 107. He cycled into the lead on lap 109 before Wolfe made the call to pit one lap later for four tires and a track back adjustment. Keselowski was seventh when the pit cycle was complete on lap 114.
- On lap 117, Keselowski spun in Turn 4, thanks to an inner valve stem on the right-rear tire being knocked out. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford made a highlight-reel caliber move to keep his Mustang out of the wall in Turn 3 before he spun in Turn 4. He immediately pitted for four tires and restarted 30th on lap 119. Keselowski gained three positions during the one-lap dash to the finish of Stage 2, clawing his way back on to the lead lap. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 124 for four tires and fuel and took the green on lap 127 in 26th position.
- He steadily worked his way through traffic and by lap 143 was back inside the top-10. Keselowski was up to ninth-place by lap 145 and said the balance on the Discount Tire Ford was the best it had been all afternoon. Wolfe called his driver to pit road on lap 150 during the sixth and final caution for a fuel-only stop, giving Keselowski second position for the restart on lap 152. He settled into third position by lap 155 and stayed there until his fuel tank ran dry on lap 189, 11 laps from the finish. The visit to pit road 22 miles from the checkered flag left Keselowski with a 19th-place in the final rundown.
"Man, I want this one so bad. We got that flat tire early on and we recovered and got up to third there in the late stages and then we just ran out of gas. That is just the way it goes sometimes."
No. 12 Menards/MOEN Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 3
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-238)
- A strong day for Ryan Blaney ended with a late pit stop for fuel with two laps remaining and a 24th-place finish in Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400. However, the driver of Menards/MOEN Ford Mustang moved up one spot to ninth in NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 47 points behind eighth-place Kurt Busch and 238 behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney qualified seventh for Sunday’s 200-lap event at the 2.0-mile, D-shaped speedway. The High Point, N.C. native drove his way up to fifth place by lap 10 thanks to a few nifty moves and passed Alex Bowman for fourth position on lap 20. Soon after he reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his Ford Mustang was tight on entry and loose off. Blaney made his first pit stop of the day under on lap 41, pitting for right-side tires along with an air pressure adjustment and tape on the nose.
- He rejoined the field in seventh position after the cycle of stops was complete. Soon thereafter he reported to Bullins that those changes didn’t help the overall balance of the car. Blaney would solider on and claim a seventh-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 60. Under the stage caution, the Menards/MOEN crew opted to change four tires along with an air pressure adjustment and more tape on the nose.
- Blaney restarted 14th when Stage 2 began on lap 66. He would soon report his Mustang was as tight as it had been all day especially in traffic. Even with a race car not to his liking, Blaney drove his way back in the top-10 by lap 90, passing Austin Dillon. Realizing he needed a more significant adjustment to battle up front, Blaney pitted on lap 110 under green for four tires along with a track bar and air pressure adjustment. The changes brought the Menards/MOEN Ford to life and Blaney would bring home another seventh-place finish when Stage 2 concluded on lap 120.
- Bullins made the call to stay out during the stage caution which gave Blaney fourth position for the restart on lap 127. Blaney raced his way up to the third position when the sixth and final caution came out on lap 150. The Menards crew would pit fuel-only stop one lap later, giving Blaney the lead when the race went green on lap 152.
- Moments later the crew alerted him they did not get the Menards Ford full of fuel. Blaney battled teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski for lead early in the run until he was forced into full fuel saving mode. Try as he might, the fuel-saving strategy didn’t work. Blaney ran out while running inside the top-five two laps from the finish, prompting an unscheduled pit stop on lap 199. He was credited with a 24th-place finish.
"I had a really good Menards/MOEN Ford today. Our Mustang was fast, especially later in the race. I just got off pit road too early and we ended up running out of gas. It is easy to second guess those types of decisions after the race, but I didn’t second guess anything at the time. That’s just the way it shakes out sometimes."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 52
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-20)
- Joey Logano started eighth and finished 17th in the Consumers Energy 400, a disappointing result after leading 52 laps in the second half of the race. Logano finished fourth in both stages, scoring valuable points towards off-setting his late-race stop for a splash for fuel.
- On the initial start, Logano raced from his eighth-place starting position to the fourth in the first two laps, all while running some of the fastest laps on the track with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. On lap 6, Logano grabbed third while also reporting that his Ford Mustang was a little free in the center of the turn and slightly tight on exit.
- Logano ran third until he made a green flag pit stop on lap 42. He reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang was tight so on the stop, the team made air pressure and a two-tire pit stop. Logano returned to the track back to the track to finish the first stage. Logano would finish fourth in Stage 1. During the stage caution, crew chief Todd Gordon called for four tires plus air pressure adjustments to alleviate the tight handling condition.
- On the opening run of the second stage, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford took off free, but went to the tight side progressively through the run. He started the stage in 11th position and raced into the top-five before slipping back to tenth prior to making his third pit stop of the day at lap 107. On the stop, the team made air pressure adjustments to both the right rear and left front, taking four tires and adding fuel to finish the segment.
- The second caution on lap 117 set up a one-lap dash to finish to the stage on lap 120. Logano took advantage on the restart, climbing up to fourth-place. The team chose not to pit during the stage caution. Logano restarted second while with the rest of the field needing to pit one more time before the conclusion of the race. On the restart, Logano grabbed the lead on the restart on lap 127 and led all but one lap until the sixth and final caution waved on lap 150.
- Logano pitted for two tires and fuel during the final yellow, while others elected to do fuel only, cycling the No. 22 back to the third position, lined up behind his two Team Penske teammates. On the restart, Logano would power to the lead on lap 154 utilizing a major push from the No. 21 of Paul Menard, reclaiming the lead over teammate Ryan Blaney.
- On lap 183, Logano relinquished the lead to the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick, settling into second position, knowing he’d have to come to pit road for a splash of fuel if the race green. Unfortunately, there was no yellow in the closing laps and with three laps remaining, Logano pitted for enough fuel to finish the race. He was credited with a 17th-place finish in the final rundown.
"I needed more gas. The Shell car isn’t supposed to run out of gas. The positive is we were way better than we were on Friday and Saturday. The negative is that we almost won the race but ended up finishing 17th. You win some you lose some. If the caution came out, we would have been in good shape, but it stayed green, and that is it. That is the gamble. We took the gamble and it didn’t pay off. Pocono we played it the other way at Pocono and the caution came out. That is two races where we played it wrong both times."