Track: ISM Raceway
Race: TicketGuardian 500
Date: March 11, 2018
No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 12
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 7th (-34)
- Brad Keselowski scored a 15th-place finish in the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway. He remains seventh in the MENCS driver standings, 34 points behind the leader.
- Keselowski started 25th in the 312-lap race and lost a handful of positions on the opening lap of the race. He quickly recovered and was up to 23rd at the time of the competition caution on lap 24. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for right-side tires on lap 30, moving Keselowski up to sixth when the race went green on lap 33. He finished seventh when Stage 1 concluded on lap 75, despite being on more worn tires than his competitors. Keselowski made a scheduled four-tire stop on lap 79 during the stage break caution. Excellent pit work by the Alliance Truck Parts team moved him up to fifth-place for the restart on lap 83.
- During Stage 2, the No. 2 Ford Fusion was loose on corner entry. Keselowski was running eighth at the time of the third caution on lap 123. He pitted one lap later and once again Wolfe opted for a change of right-side tires only, giving Keselowski the lead when the race went green on lap 124. Keselowski had to contend with a loose-handling car but he was running sixth at the time of the fourth caution on lap 147. While other leaders pitted for service on lap 148, Keselowski did not. He moved up to second-place for the restart on lap 149 and he held firm to his position during the one-lap dash to end Stage 2 just behind Kurt Busch. Keselowski made a scheduled stop for four tires and adjustments during the stage break on lap 153. A variety of pit strategies by his competitors shuffled Keselowski back to 24th for the start of Stage 3 on lap 159.
- The adjustments greatly improved the handling of the Alliance Truck Parts Ford. Keselowski climbed up to 13th position at the time of the sixth and final caution on lap 190. He pitted on lap 194 for four tires and adjustments but two-tire strategies by his competitors shuffled back in the running order. He restarted 18th when the race went green on lap 198. As the race entered its final quarter, Wolfe chose to take a gamble to improve his position. He kept Keselowski on the track as long as possible before making his final stop with hopes of catching a yellow flag to pit with the leaders and make up track position. Unfortunately, the yellow didn’t come and Keselowski was forced to pit under green on lap 285, 27 laps from the finish. He was credited with a 15th-place finish in the final rundown.
Quotes: “We scored stage points today with our Alliance Truck Parts Ford and that’s a positive. We had a strategy there at the end to get more but it just didn’t work out for us.”
No. 12 DeVilbiss Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 19th
Stage 2: 14th
Laps Completed: 311/312
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 5th (-16)
- Ryan Blaney started 12th and finished 16th in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
- During the first two stages of the race, Blaney fought the balance of his car which started tight and went to the loose side.
- Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made several air pressure and wedge adjustments which made progress as the day progressed.
- Through a cycle of pit stops prior to the end of stage 2, Blaney ran as high as fifth place.
- On the final two runs to the finish, Blaney’s car remained too tight.
- Blaney now sits fifth in the MENCS points, tied with teammate Joey Logano and 16 points behind point leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: “It was a tough day for our DeVilbiss Ford team. We struggled with the balance throughout the race, which was way too tight and then went to the loose side. We went back on several of the adjustments we made and the car went back the tight side. My guys worked hard all day and we stayed focused on trying to make our car better. We’ll regroup and get focused on Auto Club next week.”
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 17th
Laps Completed: 311/312
Laps Led: 0
Driver Points Position (behind leader): 4th (-16)
- Joey Logano started fifth in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway, but dropped outside the top-10 on the opening run of the event due to the cars handling being “out-of-control” on corner entry. On lap 28, the team pitted and made a significant air pressure adjustment on three-corners of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford.
- The adjustments made on the opening stop of the race worked marginally as Logano was able to maintain the top-10, finishing the opening stage in the ninth position. However, the handling was still too free on entry and exit so the team adjusted with wedge on the second stop of the event.
- During the second stage, Logano ran as high as fifth, but adjustments on a stop at lap 124 disrupted the handling of the car, making it tight in the center of the turns. Additionally, a slow stop dropped Logano out of the top-10 before ultimately finishing the second stage in the 17th position.
- With differing pit strategies, Logano restarted the third stage in the eleventh position. Unfortunately, the loose handling condition persisted on corner entry despite multiple attempts at making adjustments.
- The race featured predominantly green flag conditions, making it difficult for Logano to regain lost track position, ultimately finishing the day in the 19th position.
Quote: “We had a tough day. At one point in the race we had decent balance and speed, but then it went away and we just couldn’t get it back. We fought loose in and off most of the day, other times we were tight in the center. We’ll go back to work as a team and get better for when we come back here in November.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!