Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Michigan

Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

Track: Michigan International Speedway
Race: Consumers Energy 400
Date: August 9, 2020
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No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 19th
Stage 1: 14th
Stage 2: 2nd
Finish: 39th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed:95/156
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-137)


American Muscle

Notes:

Brad Keselowski’s afternoon at Michigan International Speedway was cut short by an accident 61 laps from the finish of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Keselowski was credited with a 39th-place finish in the final rundown and is second in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 137 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Keselowski started 19th following a second-place finish in first race of the MIS doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, and wrestled a loose handling Mustang throughout Stage 1. The opening segment of the race ran caution free with Keselowski collecting a 14th-place finish when Stage 1 concluded on lap 40. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 43 for four tires and a right-rear wedge adjustment. The 2 crew did their job, gaining four positions on the stop, moving Keselowski up to 10th for the restart on lap 47.

Keselowski chose the inside lane for the restart and when the race went green, he rocketed through traffic, climbing up to second position by lap 53. Keselowski’s nice work on the restart paired with crew chief Jeremy Bullins’ adjustments put the Discount Tire Ford in clean air just behind Kevin Harvick. As the laps ticked off Keselowski was too loose to mount a challenge for the stage win, but he held off a fast-closing Kyle Busch for second position. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 88 for four tires and another right-rear wedge adjustment and restarted third when the race went green on lap 91.

Unfortunately, Keselowski would not make it to the finish. On lap 95, he received a huge push from Harvick on the exit of Turn 4 that propelled him down the front stretch and into the second position. Keselowski then dove to the inside of leader Ryan Blaney but got loose. The two made contact, sending both cars into the outside wall, ending their afternoon.

Quotes: “That was my fault. I feel really bad for my teammate Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that. I came off of Turn 4 and the 4 car (Kevin Harvick) was behind me and he gave me a push and I swear I went into the corner 20 miles an hour faster than I had been all day. I got past the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and I went to get underneath the 12 (Blaney) and I just slipped. I lost the back a little bit and when I went to collect it, he was there, and I wiped both him and myself out. I feel terrible for everyone at Team Penske. I had been running wide-open on the bottom all day and thought I could do it again, but with that big push I overestimated the grip and ruined our day.”

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No. 12 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 17th
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 10th
Finish: 38th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 95/156
Laps Led: 4
Point Standings (Behind First): 4th (-175)

Notes:

Ryan Blaney started 17th and finished 38th in Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang had worked his way to the lead when he and teammate Brad Keselowski got together on lap 96, ending their days.

After starting from the 17th position, Blaney worked his way quickly into the top-10 despite reporting to crew chief Todd Gordon that his Ford Mustang was tight on the exit of both corners. Blaney would work his way up to the seventh position when Stage 1 was completed on lap 40.
Under the stage break, Blaney would pit for four tires, fuel and both a track bar and wedge adjustment. Unfortunately, Blaney had to make an additional stop get the Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang full of fuel. He would restart 29th and he methodically work his way back through the field to come home in the 10th position in Stage 2.

Strong service by the Menards crew got Blaney out in the seventh position as the final stage began. Using a strong push from Denny Hamlin, Blaney would get the lead on lap 92. Unfortunately, the lead would be short lived after teammate Keselowski got loose underneath the Menards/Knauf Ford, sending both drivers into the outside wall. Blaney would be scored with a 38th-place finish.

Blaney now sits fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 175 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Quote: It’s just unfortunate for the whole Penske organization. We had two fast cars battling for the lead and it just stinks that happened. He had a run, like he said, and he didn’t think he had as big of a run as he had and just got loose and, unfortunately, got us both. It’s a shame to end our day like that with the Knauf/Menards Ford Mustang. We were so fast. We had to battle back from having to pit again and got to 10th for the second stage and then got the lead. I was like, ‘All right, we can finally go back at it,’ and just got together there. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not going to carry over. Things happen. Mistakes happen. It’s just a shame both of us got taken out.”

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No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 13th
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 9th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 156/156
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-199)

Notes:

Joey Logano started 13th and finished fifth in Sunday afternoon’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Logano started the race battling a tight condition, but steady adjustments by crew chief Paul Wolfe and the No. 22 Ford team improved the handling of the car throughout the day. Logano utilized a few late-race restarts to rally into the top-five after fending off a hard charging Aric Almirola to maintain the position at the checkered flag.

After lining up in the 13th position, Logano slid forward to the seventh position after numerous cars dropped to the back for the start of the race. However, Logano fell to the 15th position after a big moment on the opening lap in Turn 3 and had to regain track position through the first run of the race. Logano recovered to the 10th position at the end of the first stage, telling the team he needed more exit turn in the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang, but he couldn’t afford to be freer on takeoff.

On the stage ending stop, the Shell-Pennzoil crew made an air pressure change and added tape to the nose of the No. 22 Ford Mustang, sending Logano off pit road in eighth. On the restart, Logano elected to restart on the inside lane, lining up in the fifth position. Logano continued battling a tight-handling condition on the long run, particularly on corner exit. The team elected to make a trackbar adjustment on the second stop of the race, resulting in a slower stop, sending Logano off pit road in the 15th position.

Logano worked back into the top-10 with fifty laps remaining in the event as the adjustments to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford finally got the handling improved for corner exit. Logano reported to the team he was struggling with straightaway speed, which forced the driver to adjust his approach to restarts for the remainder of the race.

Using another late-race restart, Logano powered forward to claim a fifth-place finish, the second top-five result for the team in the last three races. Logano currently sits sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 199 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Quote: “Overall we learned some things this weekend. Both races we were just a little too far off to start. A top-five finish today was good. We’re starting to build some momentum and when you start clicking off top-five finishes you know wins are just around the corner. Obviously next week is a big unknown for everyone going down to Daytona to run the road course. A lot has gone into that so it should be an interesting race for the fans.”


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