Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race: The Monster Energy All-Star Race
Date: May 19, 2018
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 11th
Stage 3: 20th
Laps Completed: 74/93
Laps Led: 0
- Brad Keselowski started eighth in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the first 30-lap stage, Keselowski scored an 11th-place finish despite having his hands full with a Discount Tire Ford Fusion that struggled to turn in the corners. He pitted during the caution between segments for four tires and air pressure adjustments. Speedy pit work by his pit crew moved him up to eighth-place for the start of Stage 2, a 20-lap run.
- Keselowski finished the next segment again in 11th-position. He said his car was really good in Turns 1 and 2, but way too tight on entry into Turn 3 and struggled to turn off Turn 4. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called for right-side tires during the segment break. The move gave Keselowski the lead when the third stage went green on lap 51. The move was designed to give Keselowski clean air for the restart to aid his car’s handling and gain track position for later in the race.
- The handling of the car didn’t improve and Keselowski slid back through the pack during the Stage 3, another 20-lap segment. He was running 10th when Wolfe decided to pit for four tires and adjustments during a caution on lap 70. Keselowski lined up 14th when the race went green on lap 74.
- Unfortunately, Keselowski wouldn’t complete another lap. On the restart, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. clipped Martin Truex Jr. in a four-wide battle in Turn 3 for position in the middle of the pack, triggering a multi-car accident that ended Keselowski’s night. The wreck came on a two-lap overtime period to end the third stage because stages are not allowed to end under caution. He was credited with a 20th-place finish in the final rundown.
Quote: “We stayed out on two tires and were able to hold up close to the front. Track position was super important. We got a great restart and were passing cars. I just barely didn’t get through there. The 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) got me and tore the radiator out of the Discount Tire Ford. We will go on to normal racing next week for the 600. You definitely seem to draft more which has its highs and lows. Track position, power and drag are super important.”
No. 12 Hawk Performance / Carlisle Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 12th
Stage 3: 4th
Laps Completed: 93/93
Laps Led: 0
- Ryan Blaney started from the sixth position in Saturday night’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- In stage one Blaney reported his Hawk Performance Ford Fusion was very tight. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for major adjustments on the first cycle of pit stops which included both air pressure and a wedge adjustment. He subsequently restarted ninth for stage 2.
- Stage two saw Blaney’s Ford go the opposite direction from very tight to very loose. Blaney had to hold on in the 20-lap segment and finish 12th. On the second round of pit stops the team opted to go slightly back on the air pressure adjustments for stage 3.
- Blaney was happier with the balance of his Ford Fusion during stage three’s 20-lap segment. Using pit strategy, the team elected to keep track position and stay out between three and fourth stage.
- Blaney restarted fourth for the final 10 lap segment of stage 4. The young driver tried to wrestle an ill-handling car and unfortunately made contact with the turns 3 and 4 wall late. The team made repairs on a lap 91 caution and he came around the line with a 15th-place finish.
Quote: “We just didn’t have the speed tonight to contend for the win. We made some big adjustments throughout the race to try and make the car handle through the corners. This package was certainly interesting and we’ll see what NASCAR does next with it.”
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 7th
Stage 3: 5th
Laps Completed: 93/93
Laps Led: 0
- Joey Logano started 10th in Saturday night’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Logano moved from the 10th spot into the top-five, claiming the third spot by lap 10 in the opening stage. Logano reported he was on the splitter to start the run, but the handling started to drift after lap 20, resulting in Logano dropping back to the fifth position to end the stage. Logano described the handling of the car as loose overall with issues getting through the bumps being on the splitter.
- On the first stop, the team adjusted with air pressure, attempting to give the stability to the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford that it was lacking in the opening run. Unfortunately, the adjustments made on the first stop sent the handling the wrong direction. Despite the loss in handling, Logano was able to rally from the 11th position back to seventh before the end of the stage.
- With the pit stop at lap 50 following the completion of Stage 2, crew chief Todd Gordon went the opposite direction on changes from the first stop, doubled to attempt to give Logano the handling he needed to work back through the field and contend for the lead.
- Through the third stage, Logano moved as high as fourth, while reporting that the handling of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford was as strong as it had been all night and was twice as good as it was during the second stage. The team made additional air pressure adjustments on the stop with two laps remaining in the third stage, looking for the final edge for the race to the finish.
- Logano survived two attempts at NASCAR Overtime to end the third stage, ultimately bringing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford across the line in the fifth position, where he’d line up to begin the final stage. Logano would battle through the final ten laps, ultimately finishing third after a side-by-side battle with Daniel Suarez.
Quote: “We wanted to be up in the lead and I thought we were in the best spot. We put tires on and the cars ahead of us didn’t have as good of tires as us. We restarted fifth and the bottom is just rough down there. We were able to push ahead and the car in front of me got pushed back and the bottom lane fell apart. I lost like five spots at least and started making them back up and got tangled up and put in the wall and got back and thought I had a decent shot there at the end hooking up with Kevin. Kevin and I always end up together at superspeedway races and we did again tonight which is kind of funny. I didn’t have quite a good enough run to go three-wide and if I did the bottom lane would have gone by both of us and there would have been no gain for any of us. We wouldn’t have won anyway. My only shot was to push him ahead and try to clear the 19 which I couldn’t.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!