Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report
Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: Pocono 400
Date: June 3, 2018
No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 10
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 5th (-150)
- Brad Keselowski rebounded from a mid-pack starting position to run lead laps and post a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. Keselowski grabbed his fourth top-five of the season. The driver of the Wurth Ford Fusion is fifth in the MENCS driver standings, 150 points behind the leader.
- Keselowski started 17th in the 160-lap, 400-mile race and wasted little time working his way through traffic. He moved into the top-10 by lap 20 and continue to climb up the leaderboard and those ahead of him elected to pit. Keselowski stayed on the track, cycling into the lead on lap 29. He held the top spot until he made his scheduled four-tire pit stop under green on lap 35. Over the final 15 laps of Stage 1, Keselowski used his fresher tires to claw his way through traffic, finishing the opening 50-lap segment in 10th-position. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for a two-tire stop during the stage caution and Keselowski was rewarded with the lead when the race went green on lap 57.
- Keselowski was running third when he made a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 66 but cycled back inside the top-five by lap 80 as the other leaders made their stops. He would finish the second 50-lap segment of the race in seventh position after a spirited battle with Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson. Keselowski pitted for four tires and adjustments during the stage caution on lap 103 and restarted 13th when the final stage began on lap 106.
- The final segment of the race saw Keselowski make steady progress to the front of the field. He returned to the top-10 by lap 117. He twice pitted for four tires and adjustments (on laps 126 and 140) which greatly improved the handling of his Ford Fusion plus survived three intense restarts over the final 20 laps. The sixth and final caution set up an eight-lap dash to the finish. Keselowski restarted eighth on lap 153 went to work passing cars. He passed teammate Ryan Blaney for fifth-place with two laps to go but couldn’t get closer to the front.
Quote: “We made a lot of progress during the weekend. Everyone on the Wurth team did a great job. I was really proud of our team’s execution during the race. We came away with a top-five and I’m looking forward to Michigan.”
No. 12 Menards/Duracell Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 8th
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 11
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-211)
- For the second time, this season Ryan Blaney started from the pole position in a MENCS race. Blaney led the field to the green flag in the Pocono 400 on Sunday afternoon and held the top spot for the first 11 laps before relinquishing the lead to Kevin Harvick. Blaney, the defending winner of the June race at Pocono, reported his Menards/Duracell Ford Fusion was loose on entry and tight on corner exit. He was one of the first drivers to visit pit road in Stage 1, pitting for service on lap 16. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for both a wedge and air pressure adjustments plus four tires and fuel. The changes helped and Blaney was able to finish seventh in Stage 1.
- Stage 2 saw Blaney restarted inside the top-five when Stage 2 began on lap 57. He soon radioed to the team the additional air pressure and wedge adjustments didn’t make a huge difference in the overall balance of the car. The Menards/Duracell crew elected to go for more aggressive changes including a track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustment on the next pit stop. Blaney overcame the handling woes to score an eighth-place finish in the segment.
- The adjustments made during the stage break on lap 103 improved the balance heading into Stage 3. The third caution on lap 126 caution saw the No. 12 crew make a slight air pressure adjustment. The final pit stop of the day for the Menards/Duracell crew came on lap 140, where the team opted for right-side tires.
- Blaney fought hard with the two tires but his competitor’s fresher tires were too much to overcome. He was passed by teammate Brad Keselowski with five laps to go and was forced to settle for a sixth-place finish and is 10th in the MENCS driver standings.
Quote: “It was a really hard day. We didn’t start out very good and our guys worked on it really hard. I thought we were about a fourth or fifth-place car. We were running fifth when the caution came out and that jumbled everyone up. We came in and put two tires on it and my car didn’t really drive that good on two tires. We ended up sixth and I thought we were better than a couple cars that finished in front of us. We made gains throughout the day and that’s a positive.”
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 29th
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-90)
- Joey Logano started seventh in Sunday afternoon’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion. Logano was running in fifth position until the first pit stop of the day on lap 16. Crew chief Todd Gordon called for a slight air pressure adjustment to help Logano regain overall grip and maintain stability in traffic.
- Unfortunately, Logano had to make an unscheduled stop on lap 49, after pit road had closed because the car wasn’t completely full of fuel on the earlier stop. He restarted in 31st position at the tail end of the field when Stage 2 began on lap 57.
- Logano would run the entire second stage a lap down, minus a brief period where the leaders cycled through green flag pit stops. At the conclusion of the segment, the team elected to take the wave around, putting them back on the lead lap.
- After regaining the lead lap, Logano began working his way forward. A caution with 37 laps remaining gave Logano the opportunity to utilize four fresh tires to work his way up to 15th position. However, on lap 137, Logano reported that his brakes were fading, forcing the driver to back up his corner entry and sacrifice some lap time.
- Logano survived multiple late-race restarts to fight through the field and into the top-10, bringing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford home in the ninth position. He is third in the MENCS driver standings, 90 points behind the leader,
Quote: “We just didn’t get the gas tank full on the first stop, ran out of gas and had to pit early. We came in while the pits were closed and we went down a lap. There weren’t many cautions in the race so it took a long time to get the lap back and once we did it was just too late. We finished ninth but I feel like we should have finished top-five with the car we had.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!