Ryan Blaney Started And Finished In The Same Position At Kansas

Ryan Blaney
Track:    Kansas Speedway

Race:     Kansas Lottery 300

Date:     October 21, 2017

 

No. 22  Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start:    3rd

Finish:   3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 3

Owner’s Points Position (leading by): 1st (+12)

 

Recap: Ryan Blaney started third and finished third in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Blaney showed speed in the Mustang all weekend and wasted no time working his way to the second position at the drop of the green flag. In the opening 45-lap stage, Blaney’s Ford built loose over the long green-flag run. The third-generation driver would remain in the runner-up position before the first caution flag of the race at lap 45, ending the first stage of the 200 lap event. Blaney reported the handling of his Mustang to be slightly loose on corner entry and crew chief Greg Erwin elected to pit for slight adjustments, four tire and fuel.  When the second, 45-lap stage resumed, it was more of the same for the No. 22 Discount Tire Mustang, consistently running fast lap times on the track and battling for the second position. Over the course of the second stage, Blaney’s Ford began to lose rear grip, so Erwin called for more adjustments to help regain the lost handling. At the end of the final stage the 23-year-old would restart ninth with 104 laps remaining in the 300 mile race. Blaney again worked his way back to the front, battling for the second position by lap 112. When the caution flag was displayed for the final time at lap 137, Erwin called the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford into the pits for the final time, adjusting the track bar along with four fresh tires and fuel. Blaney would restart fourth and he immediately charged forward, battling three wide for the race lead on lap 147. Blaney would lead three laps before losing steam and settling into the second position.  With three laps reaming, Blaney ran over debris, cutting down his right rear tire. He would forfeit the runner-up position, limping his Ford to the finish line in third. The third place finish propelled the No. 22 Ford team to the lead in the Owners point standings, leading the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing by 12 markers.

 

Quote: “The 18 and 20 were really strong today. I thought the Discount Tire Ford were getting better there at the end and then we had a right-rear come apart at the end of the race. That sucked. I thought that we had something at the end for the leaders. Just not our day. We just stalled out with 15 laps to go.”

OTIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Keselowski Steals One At Talladega

Brad Keselowski
On the Longest Day at Talladega—in a war of attrition that required three red flags and left 14 cars running at the finish—Brad Keselowski powered his No. 2 Team Penske Ford past the No. 31 Chevrolet of Ryan Newman on the final lap to win Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Two laps after the final restart on Lap 186 of 188, Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano ganged up on Newman, who held the runner-up position after Keselowski shot past him. Trevor Bayne ran third in a damaged No. 6 Ford, with Logano and Aric Almirola finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

Denny Hamlin came home sixth, the only Playoff driver other than Keselowski whose car wasn’t heavily damaged in one of the myriad wrecks that punctuated an event that consumed 3 hours, 53 minutes, 17 seconds—not including the three stoppages that totaled 35 minutes, 29 seconds.

But in winning for the fifth time at Talladega, the third time this season and the 24th time in his career, Keselowski claimed the important prize—a ticket into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Round of 8.

In his final run at Talladega in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, pole winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. restarted third after the 11th and final caution, tried unsuccessfully to push Keselowski to the lead through the first two corners and fell back to seventh at the finish.

“I feel like only eight cars finished the race,” said Keselowski, who gave Ford its seventh straight victory in restrictor-plate races, despite running much of the final stage with a broken radio antenna and intermittent communication with his spotter and crew chief. “It was one of those crazy days. I think we’ve seen that at the plate tracks this year—a lot of attrition…

“This is still sinking in. It’s a special place to get to race and a special place when you win here. It was really a collaborative effort with the team and getting a real fast car and making the right moves as a driver and a lot of help from up above with staying out of those wrecks. It really takes all three and we had them all today.”

Though Newman surged to the front after the final restart, he assumed his stint at the point would be short-lived.

“We held them off longer than I expected,” Newman said. “I couldn’t tell how much nose damage I had and I hadn’t led all day, so I didn’t know what to expect. I saw the No. 2 car in the mirror backing up and then he lost his draft and then he backed up again and he caught the No. 22 (Logano). That was all it took for him to get a good run.

“I would have maybe played it differently and backed it up in hindsight, backed up to them in hindsight, but I don’t think it would have made a difference. They were double-teaming me, and it was still a good race to finish second with the Caterpillar Chevrolet.”

Any of the 10 Playoff contenders whose cars were heavily damaged in wrecks throughout the race would have gladly settled for second. Jamie McMurray was out of the race after 25 laps, his car destroyed in a six-car collision off Turn 4. That was a harbinger of the intense action to come. Playoff drivers Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick all suffered varying degrees of damage in a 16-car accident triggered by series leader Martin Truex Jr. on Lap 172.

“Well, I tried to get into a hole that was closing up at the wrong time,” said Truex, who already had earned a berth in the Round of 8 by winning last Sunday at Charlotte. “By the time that I got in the brakes trying to get out of there I got into the 38 (David Ragan) a little bit on the right rear and he got squirrely out there and all hell broke loose. Just was trying to get to the end and get some track position and try to get towards the front and have a good day and ended up causing a wreck.

“So I hate it for everybody. We definitively had nothing to lose today, but at the same time, you don’t want to be the person that causes others problems. Even though I feel like I’ve never been that guy here before, it looks like today I was, so I hate it for all of those guys and all of their teams. I wish I didn’t make that mistake. Just 18 (laps) to go at Talladega, trying to get going and trying to fill a hole. Bad judgement and should have been more patient.”

That wreck caused the first red flag. The second came after a Lap 178 accident that ended Harvick’s day and that of Playoff contender Ryan Blaney, who had led 27 laps, second only to Logano’s 59.

The final caution on Lap 183—followed by the third red flag—wiped out the Chevrolets of Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson, who were fighting for position at the front of the field when contact from Daniel Suarez’s Toyota ignited a six-car melee that raised the crash toll of Playoff drivers to 10.

The enormous attrition set up a scramble for the final six Playoff positions entering next Sunday’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway. Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Stenhouse and McMurray are below the current cut line, but only 29 points separate Harvick in fourth place from Busch in ninth.

Check out the unofficial results of the Alabama 500 at Talladega SuperSpeedway.

TIL NEXT IME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Logano Is Hoping For A Three-Peat At Talladega

Joey Logano
Spoiler alert!

Joey Logano could have a substantive effect on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff—even though he failed to qualify for the postseason.

Logano has won the past two fall races at Talladega Superspeedway, and a third victory would change the chemistry of the Playoff. As it stands now, with Martin Truex Jr. taking the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway, at least five drivers will advance to the Playoff’s Round of 8 on points.

If Logano or any other non-Playoff driver wins Sunday’s Alabama 500 —or if Truex wins a second straight race—that number increases to six. And in an otherwise troubled year for the No. 22 Team Penske Ford team, Logano believes Talladega provides the best opportunity for a victory in the final six races.

Don’t expect Logano to cut the Playoff drivers any slack. He’d love to play spoiler at a track where the nature of restrictor-plate racing amplifies the number of potential winners.

“I’m wired one way,” Logano said. “I’ve got one gear, and it’s wide-open. That’s all I’ve got, so, for me, it keeps it pretty simple. When I come to the superspeedways it’s go to the front and stay in the front, race hard, and I think that shows in our results. We either win or we crash, and I’m OK with that. I’ve said this a lot here the last few weeks that fifth, second, 15th, crashing, what’s the difference?

“It’s all about winning. That’s what we’re here to do, and that’s what we’re going to do is just to go out there and race for the win, and that means you’ve got to battle up front all day long, learn as much as you can about your car, get it as best as you can for the end of the race, know who is racing around you and go out there and try to win it.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Did Not Fare Well At Charlotte

Brad Keselowski
Track:                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race:                   Bank of America 500

Date:                   October 8, 2017

 

No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 6th

Finish: 15th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 337/337

Laps Led: 0

Point Standings (behind leader): 10th (-64)

 

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion team endured a tough opener to the Round of 12 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with a 15th-place finish in Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a solid qualifying effort on Friday night, Keselowski started the 500-mile race from the sixth position. From the drop of the green flag the 2012 MENCS champion needed stability on corner entry and exit, something that would plague the team for the entire race. Following a pit stop under a NASCAR competition caution on lap 36, Keselowski fell back to his lowest running position of 22nd on the ensuing restart. He was able to rally a bit to finish 14th in the first, 90-lap stage. The second, 90-lap stage began with Keselowski in the 12th position after a pit stop for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the break. With the handling condition much the same, Keselowski was able to keep his Alliance Truck Parts Ford in the top 15 for the duration of the stage to grab a 13th-place finish in stage two. The final, 157-lap stage was much of the same regarding the handling of the No. 2 Ford. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made all possible adjustments to air pressure and wedge, but nothing seemed to cure the ills of the Ford. Despite the handling, Keselowski was able to turn some very fast laps at times and he entered the top 10 again following a green-flag pit stop on lap 225. With two caution periods at the end of the race, Keselowski was still in position to grab a solid finish. However, he was not able to hold his position over the waning laps as the race went into overtime and Keselowski crossed the finish line in the 15th position.

Quote: “It wasn’t the day we wanted for the Team Penske/Alliance Truck Parts Ford, so we’ve got two races left to go and we need to have two strong races. I was probably more frustrated with not being as fast as we wanted to be.  That makes the day a lot longer, but a little bit of heat, that’s what this sport is about.”

 

 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 28th

Finish: 26th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 335/337

Laps Led:  0

Point Standings:  18th

 

Recap:  Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion team entered Sunday afternoon’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway looking to improve upon their 28th place starting position. On the first run of the event, Logano ran in the bottom half of the top-20, battling a car that was free on corner entry. Complicating matters, when Logano moved to the track’s low line he found the handling to be moderately tight. When Logano attempted to run the track’s top two-lines, which had been treated with the PJ1 Track Bite compound, he found the handling of his car to be extremely loose. On the first pit stop at lap 36, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make a wedge adjustment. The team gained seven positions on pit road, unfortunately, an issue with fueling brought the team back down pit road, dropping them to the 28th position. On the ensuing restart, Logano received significant damage to the right front of his Ford Fusion after a multi-vehicle incident on the backstretch led to contact with the left rear quarter of the No. 72. The Shell-Pennzoil team would begin a lengthy repair process spanning multiple pit stops. On the first run following the incident, Logano was forced into preservation mode as the water and oil temperatures quickly climbed above the limits set by Roush Yates Engines. The team would have to wait for another opportunity to continue repairs to improve the engines cooling ability. Over the next several caution flag periods, the team would continue making multiple pit stops, completing repairs to the nose of the Fusion. However, the high-speeds achieved at Charlotte Motor Speedway would continue to collapse the right front, slowing the lap times Logano was able to run considerably. Nevertheless, the Shell-Pennzoil crew continued to fight throughout the race, led by Gordon and Logano, to ultimately bring home a 26th place finish.

 

Quote  “Unfortunate day for our Shell-Pennzoil team to say the least. We were optimistic we’d be able to move forward from our 28th place starting position. It was a bummer to get the damage so early in the race because it really hurt our ability to move forward or really learn much today. We’ll move on to Talladega, the last two fall races there have been good for us and hopefully that’ll continue.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Reviews The Charlotte NXS Race

Joey Logano

Track:   Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race:    NC Drive for the Cure 300

Date:     October 7, 2017

 

No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang – Sam Hornish Jr.

Start:    31st

Finish:   2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 0

Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): N/A

 

Recap: Sam Hornish Jr. started 31st and finished second in the No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang in Saturday night’s NC Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite the deep starting position, the Defiance, OH native, wasted no time working his way forward at the drop of the green flag. In the opening 10 laps, Hornish wheeled the colorful PPG Mustang inside the top-20, reaching the 16th position before the first caution flag of the race at lap 28. Hornish reported the handling of his Mustang to be slightly loose on corner entry and tight in the center. Crew chief Brian Wilson elected to leave the PPG Ford on the track with only a handful of teams taking the opportunity to pit. Hornish continued his forward march during the remaining laps in the first stage, reaching the 10th position when a caution flag at lap 42 ended the stage. Wilson elected to adjust with wedge, also having the crew add tape to the nose to give Hornish more forward turn. When the second stage resumed, it was more of the same for the No. 12 PPG Mustang, consistently running the fastest lap times on the track while marching inside the top-five and finishing the second stage in the third position. The handling had swung to the free side on corner exit during the second stage, so Wilson elected to adjust with track bar on the second stop of the night. The No. 12 Team Penske crew gained a one position on pit road, allowing Hornish to restart on the front row for the beginning of the final stage. The No. 12 Mustang struggled on restarts, but after 10 laps proved to be the fastest car on the track. On the third pit stop of the night, Wilson elected to leave the car alone, servicing it with just four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the track would take another swing, adding grip as the conditions continued to cool off, and Hornish would have to battle a car that was too tight. When the caution flag was displayed for the final time at lap 160, Wilson called the No. 12 PPG Ford into the pits for the final time, adjusting with track bar, and additional tape on the nose preparing for the sprint to the finish. Several of the lead lap cars had pitted on the lap 141 caution, which shuffled the No. 12 team to the ninth position on the ensuing restart. Again, wasting little time, Hornish charged forward, battling teammate Ryan Blaney for the second position where he would finish the night.

 

Quote: “I think if it had been anybody else other than my teammate or Bowman winning I’d probably been pretty disappointed with tonight for as fast as we were, but the fact that we stuck with it. The car was great.  We needed long runs and didn’t have any early on in the race.  Finally got the car adjusted right where we thought we needed to be and kind of overstepped it.  On that last restart I kind of got stuck on the bottom and it also freed the car up a little bit right there too, knowing that we’re gonna be back in traffic.  It took us a little bit longer.  The top lane rolled and the 2 and the 42 were able to make a lot of ground on us there early, and it was everything that Alex needed to be able to win and it was a bit of fighting for me to be able to get back second.  By the time I had a slip-up underneath the 22 car.  I’m really glad we didn’t end up getting together.  I figured I kind of slid around the corner long enough that I figured I wasn’t gonna correct until he was past me again, and made the right-rear tire mad and it took us about five or six laps to get that calmed back down, go back after him and just not enough time there at the end.”

 

No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney 

Start:    2nd

Finish:    3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 38

Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): 2nd (-8)

 

Recap: After an extensive rain delay at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS), Ryan Blaney finished the NC Drive for the Cure 300 in the second position, capturing his 34th career top-five finish. Blaney and the No. 22 Discount Tire team started the 200-lap event second after Saturday’s qualifying session was rained out and the field was set by the rule book. During the first 45-lap stage, Blaney raced within the top three, battling a loose Ford Mustang. The first stage saw two cautions where Blaney communicated to his team the Ford had no turn or drive on take-off. Blaney would remain in the third position until the end of the stage. Crew chief, Greg Erwin called the third-generation-driver down pit road, under caution on lap 47 for minor adjustments to help tighten up the Ford and help on take-off. The 23-year-old would restart from the third position once the second stage started on lap 51. Shorty after, Blaney captured the second position making it three-wide. Over the course of the long run, Blaney’s Ford became increasingly free, dropping to the fourth position by the end of the second stage on lap 90. Blaney raced his way up to the second position on lap 97 before the race fell under caution once again on lap 104. During the restart, Blaney would battle hard for position, almost capturing the race lead before settling into the second position.  Erwin called Blaney down pit road on lap 123 for a scheduled pit stop under caution. The No. 22 team won the race off pit road and Blaney would restart as the race leader with 74 laps remaining. The race would see yet another caution on lap 147, gambling the caution would come out again, Erwin elected to stay out while other teams came to pit road. Blaney would go on to lead 38 laps before the caution flew again on lap 160. Blaney came to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and minor adjustments on lap 162. Blaney would restart eighth and drive up to the second position before falling back to third at the end of the race. Blaney’s third place finish was his fourth top-10 finish in six races at CMS.

 

Quote:  “I thought we had a pretty decent car.  We started off great.  I thought we lacked a little bit of speed and I was real loose.  We did a pretty good job of getting it tighter to where it might be a little bit better.  We got the lead on pit road, which is good.  They did a great job on pit road all night with really fast stops and that helped out a bunch.  On that last restart we got running there and some cars stayed out.  They gambled a little bit and we got stuck behind the 5 a little bit.  The 42 did a good job.  He got a big run on the top and drove away from us.  He was better than us that last run anyway.  We lost a little bit of speed there.  It stinks we couldn’t have won that race, but I thought we learned a little bit and hopefully we can apply that tomorrow.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Dominated The Last 2/3 Of The NXS Race At Dover

Ryan Blaney
Once Ryan Blaney got the lead in Saturday’s Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway, it was “game over” in the second NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff race of the season.

After Playoff driver William Byron led every lap of the 60-circuit first stage and banked a playoff point, Blaney took the lead off pit road under caution on Lap 64. Blaney kept his No. 22 Team Penske Ford out front the rest of the way, except for one lap led by Daniel Suarez on pit road under caution after the conclusion of Stage 2.

Playoff driver Justin Allgaier charged from fourth to second on the Lap 128 restart that began the final stage, which ran under a green flag to the finish. Though Allgaier was able to hold off Byron, his JR Motorsports teammate, and hold the series lead, he had nothing for Blaney, who finished 4.852 seconds ahead of Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

“It’s really hard to get a car like that, and, to be honest, we didn’t have it in the first run,” said Blaney, who will try to advance to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 in Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400. “We were a little bit off on the first run. We made some great changes after the first stage to get it better to where it needs to be.

“We actually got it better for the last run… As a driver, that’s all you can ask for, great changes throughout. It’s awesome to get to Victory Lane with (sponsor) Fitzgerald. This is really cool. We were close the first race this year and just didn’t quite get it. Definitely learned a lot for tomorrow.”

The victory was Blaney’s sixth in the series, his second this season and his first at the Monster Mile.

Though he couldn’t catch Blaney over the final run, Allgaier also had reason to celebrate as the highest finishing series regular. Heading to Charlotte 54 points above the current cut line for the second round of the XFINITY Playoff, Allgaier is a virtual lock to advance.

So is Byron, who chased Allgaier for the final 73 green-flag laps but couldn’t find a way past his teammate. Byron is 51 points above the cutoff with the Playoff field scheduled to be pared from 12 to eight drivers next Saturday at Charlotte.

“I was trying to put it in Victory Lane,” Allgaier said. “We just needed a little more. I ran high some, low some. There at the end we made a great adjustment, and I was able to run the bottom, where I wanted to run all day.

“It paid off. Obviously, second place is not quite Victory Lane, but in the points battle we’re playing, it’s pretty darn close.”

In the battle to survive the Playoff cutoff, Brendan Gaughan gained ground with a 10th-place finish. Facing the elimination race at Charlotte, Gaughan is ninth in points, two behind eighth-place Ryan Reed, who finished a lap down in 16th-place at Dover.

Playoff drivers Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole and Matt Tifft came home fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, to improve their chances to make the Round of 8. Daniel Suarez ran seventh, joining Blaney as the only non-XFINITY regulars to finish in the top 12.

Rookie Cole Custer and regular-season champion Elliott Sadler, both well above the current cut line, ran eighth and ninth respectively.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Enters The Petit Le Mans At Road Atlanta

Image result for team penske acura race car

Team Penske will enter an ORECA 07-Gibson in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar season finale – the 20th Anniversary Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 7th the team announced today.  Veteran Team Penske drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud will share driving duties in the 10-hour endurance event.

The Petit entry gives the team a chance to have a full-race weekend under its belt prior to making their debut with the recently announced Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype International (DPi) program, which will make its maiden competition voyage at the 2018 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January.

“We’ve had this race on our radar for some time, but we wanted to wait until we were able to get our drivers some testing at Road Atlanta prior to committing, as it is a very fast track and these cars are very different to drive from an IndyCar,” said Team Penske President Tim Cindric. “Unfortunately, we confirmed this the hard way as we have had to totally rebuild our car after an incident during testing last week.  ORECA have bent over backwards to be sure we receive everything we need as they understand the importance of this race as our team prepares for the debut of our Acura ARX-05s at the Daytona 24.

“Juan has participated in the majority of our prototype tests since we announced him as one of our full-time Acura drivers. We would also like to involve our other drivers in the program whenever possible.  Helio and Simon have good experience in prototypes at Road Atlanta, so they seem like a natural fit to participate in the Petit for us.”

Castroneves just wrapped up his 18th Verizon IndyCar Series season with Team Penske, where he finished fifth in the race and fourth in the series point standings.  In addition to his INDYCAR background, Castroneves has also made five starts for Team Penske in sports car competition, producing two poles, three podium finishes and a class victory in the 2008 Petit Le Mans event.

“It will be fun to work with Juan again,” said Castroneves. “The car is a blast to drive as it has lots of power and an incredible amount of downforce. The last time I ran at Petit, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the winning team in our class. It was one of the highlights of my career. Now, I’m looking forward to that challenge again and I’m sure it will be fun racing with these guys in this setting.”

In addition to his open wheel experience, Pagenaud has a vast background in sports car competition. He earned 10 American Le Mans Series wins between 2009 and 2013, including a class win in the 2010 Petit Le Mans while racing for Acura.  Pagenaud also earned four wins while driving for Peugeot – including two at Spa and two at Silverstone – and is a former pole sitter for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“It’s a bit of a homecoming to get back into a prototype car,” said Pagenaud, whose recent win at the Sonoma IndyCar race led to a second-place finish in the championship behind Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden. “They are great cars to drive and to be paired with Juan and Helio in an endurance event is going to be a lot of fun. This is a chance for me to help Team Penske prepare for next year, while seeing what things we can learn and where we can improve right now.”

The 20th Anniversary Petit Le Mans is set for Saturday, October 7 at the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta track.  The 10-hour event will run from11am until 9pm ET.

 About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 530 pole positions and 30 National Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. In its storied history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Team Penske currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Reviews The ISM Connect 300 At Louden

Brad Keselowski

Track:                  New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Race:                   ISM Connect 300

Date:                   September 24, 2017

 

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 13th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 300/300

Laps Led: 0

Point Standings (behind leader): 4th (-43 – Clinched a berth in the Round of 12 on points)

 

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team continued their strong start to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with a fourth-place finish in the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) on Sundayafternoon. After struggling a bit in the Friday qualifying session, Keselowski started the first, 75-lap stage from the 13th position. However, he quickly raced his way into the top 10 at lap 14 on the strength of exceptional forward drive off the flat, NHMS corners. The first stage ran caution-free allowing Keselowski to show the strength of his Ford to finish seventh in the first stage. A great pit stop by the Miller Lite crew propelled their driver to the third position for the start of the second, 75-lap stage. Keselowski would maintain his position inside the top five throughout the second stage. The final lap of the stage concluded with a multi-car incident that involved some of the leaders, allowing Keselowski to finish third in the stage to score eight bonus points. The final, 150-lap stage began with Keselowski in the fifth position. As the stage began he radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that the balance was great on the Miller Lite machine but he needed to turn a bit better in the center of the corners. With the balance squared away Wolfe made minor adjustments all day and Keselowski did his part behind the wheel to stay inside the top five for the rest of the stage. The 2012 MENCS champion crossed the finish line in the fourth position to lock himself into the Round of 12 of the playoffs.

 

Quote: “It was great execution. The pit crew was really solid today and a pretty good setup on the Miller Lite Ford Fusion. Paul Wolfe and the engineers did a good job putting the right stuff under the car. I felt like we were where we needed to be to win and to run up front with the pit crew and the setup, just kind of lacking a little bit with aero stuff to keep up, but this type of track aerodynamics are a little less important and I felt like it helped us run a little bit higher this week.”

 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 39th

Finish: 10th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 300/300

Laps Led:  0

Point Standings (behind leader):  17th (-1430)

 

Recap:  Joey Logano started 39th and finished in the 10th position with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday afternoon’s ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Logano and his team missed the final practice session on Saturday afternoon as they served a penalty for pre-qualifying technical inspection issues on Friday; however, the team would press on, determined to overcome the major setback of the lost practice session. From the drop of the green flag, Logano set his sights on the front of the field and methodically gained positons throughout the first stage. Logano reached the top-15 by lap 40, despite the race running green for the entire opening stage. At the stage break Logano reported his Ford Fusion to be only slightly loose on corner entry and exit, and minimally tight in the center of the turns. Crew chief Todd Gordon adjusted with air pressure, sending the team back on the track in the 12th position, one spot better than where they had finished the opening stage. In the second stage, Logano continued in the 12th position battling a lack of forward drive-off and entry security. Gordon would again elect to adjust with air pressure at the stage break, sending Logano back to the track where he’d battle his way forward to the 10th positon. As the run continued, Logano reported that the adjustments hadn’t helped, and the team elected to go back on the changes on the stop at lap 222. Unfortunately, Logano had to check-up late coming into his box to avoid another competitor, and the team was assessed a penalty for a crewmember over the wall to early. The penalty dropped Logano to the 16th position where he’d again be forced to battle back in the closing 75 laps to finish in the 10th position. The finish marked the 150th top-10 of Logano’s career in his 319th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start.

 

Quote “We worked our way up into the top 14 or 15 the first run from last and that was the highlight, and then we just kind of stayed right there around 10th the rest of the day and finished there. I don’t know, you can say if we started a little closer to the front we could hold a few of them off, but we’re just not fast enough really. I sound like a broken record, but we’re just not fast enough.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Reviews The GoPro Grand Prix Of Sonoma

Simon Pagenaud
Track:                       Sonoma Raceway

Race:                        GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Date:                         Sept. 17, 2017

 

 

No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 3rd

Finish: 1st (11th career victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 85/85

Laps Led: 41

Final Points Position (deficit): 2nd (-13 pts.)

 

Recap: It was a near-perfect Sunday for Simon Pagenaud and the No. 1 DXC Technology Chevrolet team at Sonoma Raceway as they ran a virtually flawless race while winning the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma for the second straight year. The impressive performance nearly allowed Pagenaud to rally and catch his teammate in the series title chase but in the end Josef Newgarden ran strong as well and with a second-place finish he was able to hold off Pagenaud, who fell just short of defending his 2016 title. After earning a third-place starting spot in qualifying Saturday, Pagenaud fell back to the fourth position early on before the team made it key move of the race. Running behind his other Team Penske teammates who were also fighting for the title, Pagenaud came to pit lane on Lap 11, well in advance of the other race leaders. The early stop allowed Pagenaud and the DXC Technology team to employ an alternate strategy for the remainder of the 85-lap event and it played out perfectly with the race running caution free. The strategy also allowed Pagenaud to show off the speed of the No. 1 Chevy, running in open track when the rest of the leaders visited the pits as he posted blistering lap times all afternoon. Pagenaud and Newgarden, the polesitter, took turns leading the Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma throughout the race with each pacing the field for 41 laps on the day. The pivotal sequence came on Lap 64 when Pagenaud made his final stop of the race while running in the top position. With a fast stop from the DXC Technology crew, he emerged from pit lane just ahead of Newgarden who had stopped two laps earlier. Despite being on cold tires, Pagenaud was able to hold off his hard-charging teammate and claim his second win of the season and his second consecutive victory at Sonoma Raceway. The result left Pagenaud just 13 points behind Newgarden in the final series standings as he finished inside the top five in points for the fifth time in the last six seasons. It also completed a remarkably consistent 2017 season in which Pagenaud completed every single lap of competition in the 17-race schedule.

 

Quote: “I want to thank everybody on the DXC Technology Chevrolet team today. It was a phenomenal performance, I think, all weekend. I want to congratulate Josef (Newgarden), of course, and Team Penske. I think our team this weekend and the whole season showed how strong everybody is at Team Penske. Back-to-back champions. It’s phenomenal. Great testament to a great team spirit and I’m very happy for him. He deserves it. We did what we had to do. We tried. We won the race; it wasn’t enough. It’s a whole championship. You’ve got to be strong on every race and I guess Josef was a little stronger this year so we’ll come back. Thirteen points (behind). Next year we’ll come back and give him a hell of a competition again.”

 

No. 2 Hum by Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start:  1st (second career pole position)

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 85/85

Laps Led: 41

Final Points Position (won first career series championship): 1st (+13 pts.)

 

Recap: Josef Newgarden completed a dream first season with Team Penske on Sunday, finishing second in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma to secure his first career Verizon IndyCar Series championship and the 15th all-time INDYCAR title for Team Penske. Entering the season’s final race weekend with a slim three-point advantage in the championship, Newgarden and the No. 2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet team imposed their will over the three days at Sonoma producing top speeds in practice and Newgarden recorded his first Verizon P1 pole award of the season on Saturday. Early on Sunday, Newgarden continued to dominate as he led the first 17 laps with little pressure from behind. His teammate and 2016 Sonoma race winner and series champion Simon Pagenaud pitted off sequence early so after the first stops cycled through, Pagenaud claimed the race lead with Newgarden running second. The two Team Penske pilots traded the top spot throughout the rest of the race with each driver taking control of the lead when the other visited pit lane. Pagenaud made the last stop among the leaders and he was able to stay out in front in the closing laps, though Newgarden made a couple of attempts to pass his teammate coming off his final stop of the day. In the end, a strong second-place run gave Newgarden the points he needed to secure the championship and help produce an impressive 1-2-3 finish for Team Penske in a podium sweep of the finale. The performance capped a remarkable first season for Newgarden, who joined Al Unser, Al Unser Jr., and Gil de Ferran as the only drivers to win the title in their initial seasons racing for Team Penske. He also became the youngest driver (26) to capture the INDYCAR crown in 12 years and the first American champ since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2012. Newgarden also established single-season career highs in wins (four), podiums (nine), top fives (10), top 10s (13) and laps led (390).

 

Quote: “I’m so proud of these guys. I don’t even know what to say. It was all year. It took a lot to make this happen. Thank you to my teammates. They were giving me a lot of help today in making sure that we got this done. It’s a huge team effort at Team Penske. So, it’s cool to do this with Verizon. Verizon does so much for the IndyCar Series. They’ve given fans such great access over the years. I’m happy to have this car for the championship. It’s super fitting; and all the other partners we’ve had at Team Penske. It’s just been phenomenal working with Team Chevy. We’ve had so many great partners on this car. And to finally get it done is a dream come true. It’s too awesome. It was hard. I was using my natural instincts. I was trying to get (Simon) Pagenaud there because that’s what I normally do. I try to win the race whenever possible. They were telling me to be patient and not do something stupid. I tried to get him, but I also tried not to do anything dumb for the team. Like I said, this has been a team effort. So, I’m happy for Pagenaud. He had the pace to win today, for sure, he’s very deserving. This entire group makes this happen. I’m so thankful and happy with everything that Team Penske has done. Congrats to everyone at the factory. This is an amazing amount of work that goes into this.”

 

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  4th

Finish: 5th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 85/85

Laps Led: 0

Final Points Position (deficit): 4th (-44)

 

Recap: If it weren’t for two remarkable performances by his Team Penske teammates, on Sunday and all season long, Helio Castroneves may have produced that elusive Verizon IndyCar Series championship in 2017. After another strong finish driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet in Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway, Castroneves closed his 20th season in impressively-consistent fashion – with his ninth top-five and 16th top-10 result of the year as he claimed fourth in the final series standings. Castroneves started strong Sunday passing teammate Simon Pagenaud for third place at the wave of the green flag and running inside the top three until making his first stop of the race on Lap 16. He continued to run in either third or fourth position through the middle part of the race, relying on his experience and a fast No. 3 Hitachi crew on pit lane to remain among the race leaders. With Pagenaud and one of his other fast teammates, Josef Newgarden, battling for the race lead and the championship, Castroneves continued to fight for a top finish. He ended up bringing the Hitachi Chevy home in fifth place for his sixth career top-five result at Sonoma Raceway. The winner at Iowa Speedway this year, Castroneves proved again throughout the season that he was a force in the title chase and he has now finished among the top four in points five times in the last six seasons.

 

Quote: “I’m always going to focus on the positive thing. I’m not going to focus on Texas when we had a problem, or other races that I missed strategy or made mistakes. You’ve got to think about, again, it was another season that we pushed as hard as we could and another top four. And again, sometimes it’s funny because you see the statistics, finished second — I finished second four times. But it was more times — the P4 (in the final standings) is not what it represents because we were in a battle a lot more years than that. And that’s what I look at. I look because each year that’s what kept me motivated to come back and push hard, and that for me was hard. Sometimes it’s — well, I try, but to get (a championship) — it’s easy to follow from that position, but to keep up like I’ve been doing all these years, I think it’s the hardest thing to do. But it doesn’t just happen. It comes with a great team. It comes with great dedication from your guys, great trust, and obviously, myself to keep motivated, finding ways to keep pushing and having teammates like I have today, no question, helped me to become a better driver. The Hitachi Chevrolet team was great all season and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication.”

 

 

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 2nd

Finish: 3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 85/85

Laps Led: 0

Final Points Position (deficit): 5th (-80 pts.)

 

Recap: Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet finished third in Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway, completing a podium sweep for Team Penske. Power started the race from the second position and he immediately began to try and chase down championship leader and teammate Josef Newgarden for the top spot in the running order. Power and the Verizon team followed Newgarden’s pit strategy throughout the afternoon, while fellow Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud elected for a different strategy. A three-time winner at Sonoma Raceway, Power ran inside the top four throughout the entire race, shadowing Newgarden and holding off teammate Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. Power had to turn laps that allowed him to save enough fuel to make it on a three-stop strategy. With the race running caution-free, Pagenaud’s alternate strategy ended up working out as he claimed the race victory while Power was able to follow eventual 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Newgarden to a third-place finish. Sunday’s result marked Power’s seventh podium finish this season as he also posted three race victories and a series-leading six pole positions. The 2014 Verizon indyCar Series champion ended up finishing fifth in the final series standings marking the eighth consecutive season he’s finished ranked among the top five.

 

Quote: “It was pretty obvious a couple races ago that we were in trouble after Gateway, so yeah, I mean, it’s great for the team. Obviously, you want to be the one that wins it, but it’s very tough these days, and you’ve got to have a very solid year to get it done, and when I look at this year, no one made mistakes. You see the top six there, top six or seven are the top six or seven almost every race. We had some ups and downs with the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team, but it was a good year. We won some races and some poles. We’ll give it another go next year.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Recaps The Tales Of The Turtles 400 At Chicagoland

Brad Keselowski Pit Stop
Track:                  Chicagoland Speedway

Race:                   Tales of the Turtles 400

Date:                   September 17, 2017

 

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 5th

Finish: 6th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 267/267

Laps Led: 1

Point Standings (behind leader): 4th (-41)

 

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team got the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs going with a solid sixth-place finish in the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon. After starting the first, 80-lap stage from the fifth position, Keselowski settled into the seventh spot while fighting a handling condition that was loose on corner entry and tight just past the center. Following a strong, green-flag pit stop at lap 40 – which would be a hallmark of the day for the Miller Lite crew – Keselowski cycled to the sixth position where he would finish the stage to earn five additional race points. The 2012 series champion began the second, 80-lap stage from the same sixth position, but radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he was turning better in the center of the corners following the two rounds of adjustments. Another strong pit stop, under the green flag at lap 124, allowed Keselowski to cycle up to the fourth position. He would cross the finish line to end stage two in the fifth spot to earn six additional race points. Keselowski began the final, 107-lap from the fourth position and he was able to keep his Miller Lite machine inside the top five for most of the remaining laps. On the last restart of the day at lap 216, Keselowski was able to use a strong move to jump to the third position, but he was not able to advance any further, ultimately sliding back to the sixth position at the checkered flag. He will go into the next race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway sitting fourth in the playoff standings.

 

Quote: “We can be happy with sixth (place finish). We scored a bunch of stage points and had a solid day up front with the Miller Lite Ford Fusion. One more of these races either Loudon or Dover and we should be good to advance to the next round. I think we can pull that off. We are still looking for a little speed but execution today was really, really strong. Great day on pit road, great restarts. All that stuff was what you look for, we just need to marry that up with some speed and we can win any of these races.”

 

 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 7th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 267/267

Laps Led:  0

Point Standings (behind leader):  17th (-1410)

 

Recap:  Joey Logano started seventh and finished seventh in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday afternoon’s Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. When the green flag fell to start the race, Logano moved forward to the sixth position, running lap times consistent with the top-five as the field stretched out, eventually cycling through a round of green flag pit stops. The trend of solid pit work continued for the Shell-Pennzoil crew as they were able to move Logano forward, helping him secure the fifth position by the end of the first stage. Logano reported he was battling a loose in and off condition through the opening stage, which prompted crew chief Todd Gordon to call for air pressure adjustments on three of the cars four corners, and added tape on the second stop. Throughout the second stage, Logano reported the handling of his Ford Fusion to be near neutral, indicative of the aero-balance gains that have been made in recent weeks. However, track position would prove to be critical in Sunday’s race as the high speed Chicagoland Speedway makes passing extremely difficult. Logano finished the second stage in the seventh position and reported his Ford Fusion to be slightly tight in the center of the turn, and only slightly loose on corner exit. The team again made an adjustment with a small air pressure change on the fourth stop of the day. Near the end of the first run in the third stage, Logano radioed the team and reported his Ford was as loose as it had been all day, which led to a bigger air pressure adjustment on the final pit stop of the race at lap 211. The race continued the green-flag trend of the day and Logano brought the Shell-Pennzoil Ford home in the seventh position. The finish marked the second consecutive top-10 result for the team as they continue their fight back to victory lane before the end of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

 

Quote “We executed well with the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. We ran in the top-10 the whole race and had no issues, nothing crazy, just not fast enough to compete for the win. We made gains the last few weeks to get closer but we have just caught up to our teammates. That is where we are at now, the same as our teammates but not good enough to go up there and win. I thought I would run seventh today and I ran seventh. We just have to go faster, that is all.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!