(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Race: Kobalt 400
Date: March 12, 2017
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 89
Point Standings (behind leader): 1st (+1)
Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team were in position to win their second consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), but a broken suspension piece late in the race left them with a fifth-place finish. Keselowski, a two-time LVMS winner, began the race from the pole position and led the event until a lap 18 caution flag brought him down pit road for four tires, and wedge and air pressure adjustments. He would restart the race from the second position but quickly regained the lead on the first green-flag lap. Despite a tight-handling condition in the center of the LVMS corners, Keselowski was routinely one of the fastest cars in the field as he continued to lead until another caution flag at lap 70. As the field came to the ensuing restart, Keselowski lost several positions before rallying to finish the first 80-lap stage in the fourth position. The Miller Lite Ford began the second stage from the third spot but quickly moved into second, where he would finish the second stage. The final stage of the race began at lap 168 with Keselowski still in the second position, but there he began to show the strength of his Ford and, eventually, took the lead at lap 245 with a strong move around the No. 78 of Martin Truex, Jr. The final pit stop of the day came under the yellow flag at lap 253 and the Miller Lite crew performed a flawless stop to keep their driver in the lead. It appeared that Keselowski would cruise to his second victory of the season, but he fell victim to a broken, right-front hub assembly with two laps remaining and had to nurse his machine home to a fifth-place finish.
Quote: “It’s frustrating finish for the Miller Lite Ford Fusion team, but if you put yourself in position to win and good things will happen. That happened to us last week and didn’t happen this week, so you just pick up the pieces and move on. Luckily, they’re really big pieces. We’ve got a lot to be proud of. We had a great day. We ran up front and led a lot of laps. We were the fastest car at the end and just didn’t come together. That’s part of how racing works.”
No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 5
Point Standings: 5th (-13)
Recap: Joey Logano started sixth and finished fourth in Sunday afternoon’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion. At the drop of the flag, Logano wasted no time moving inside the top-five where he ran for almost the entire first stage. Logano radioed the team saying he needed more security on corner entry, but overall the balance of his Fusion was to his satisfaction. The team completed a four-tire stop at lap 18, and gained Logano two positions at pit exit. At lap 68 when the second caution flag of the event was displayed, the 22 team elected to stay on the track with only 10 laps remaining before the end of the first stage. The rest of the lead lap competitors opted to pit, leaving the No. 22 Ford on an alternate strategy. Logano would finish the stage in 19th position, as he could not overcome the tire wear on his Goodyear radials. He would restart 20th after the stage break. The team made wedge and air pressure adjustments on their lap 82 pit stop, which proved beneficial. Logano wasted no time moving forward, reaching the sixth position before the fourth caution of the race brought all the leaders back to pit road. Again, the team adjusted on the handling of the Pennzoil Ford with air pressure, giving Logano the security on corner entry he needed for the run to the checkered flag. By lap 160, Logano and the No. 22 Pennzoil team found themselves back in the top-five where he would spend the remainder of the race. On the final lap of the race, Logano was able to survive as the field checked up for a slowing Brad Keselowski, despite making contact with the No. 18 of Kyle Busch. Logano would bring the No. 22 home in the fourth position, which marked a 16-position gain over his lowest running position of the afternoon. The performance was another solid team effort, displaying the team’s championship perseverance.
Quote: “I don’t know. We were just racing hard there at the end. I was underneath him on the backstretch and he tried to crash me into the corner getting underneath Brad (Keselowski) there and at that point I was just trying get through the corner. I was sideways all the way through and got into him. Nothing intentional. I understand his frustration, he crashed. Yeah, I guess it’s always surprising. Like I said, I’ve never had an issue with Kyle. Kyle and I have always raced really well together. ”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!