Race: Zippo 200
Date: August 5, 2017
No. 12 Snap-on Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 1st (33rd career pole)
Laps Completed: 82/82
Laps Led: 0
Recap: Joey Logano started first and finished second in the No. 12 Snap-on Tools Ford Mustang in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Logano, who was seeking his third-consecutive victory on the historic circuit, claimed his 33rd career pole earlier in the day in qualifying. On the initial start, Logano dropped into the second position and rode there until the end of the first stage. Crew chief Brian Wilson called for a track bar adjustment on the first stop, attempting to help Logano with the tightness in turn 1 and through the carousel. The changes helped, but only incrementally as Logano reported he had a great short run car, but struggled to maintain forward turn over the long run. The pit stop also shuffled the team back to the 13th position as numerous cars had pitted prior to the end of the first stage. On the ensuing restart, Logano made quick work of the cars in front, moving to the top-five on the first lap, then into the top-three by the next lap. Logano continued forward, ultimately moving into the second position by the end of the second stage. The team would opt to remain on the track, continuing under green flag conditions until lap 49 when Wilson called Logano back to the pits for the final time of the afternoon. Over the final run, Logano reported the car was loose on the left turns and slightly tight on the right-hand corners. Unfortunately, the final caution only allowed four laps of racing so track position became too important to pit the Snap-on Tools Mustang so Logano was left to fight from the third position. On the final restart of the day, Logano was able to battle teammate Brad Keselowski for the second position, where he ended the afternoon.
Quote: “It’s fun. Dang, I wish it was for the win and not for second. I had such a good short run car, just in the wrong position to start that last run. I feel like if I was second I could have won the race. I just had a really good short run car. Our long run speed was off a bit and that’s when the 18 and 22 would drive by us and we were a third-place car on the long run but probably a winning car on the short run. By time I cleared the 22 the 18 was gone. If we had another four or five laps (he would have drove off again). I needed a caution”
No. 22 REV Group Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Laps Completed: 82/82
Laps Led: 6
Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): 1st (+101)
Recap: After starting Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International from the fifth position Brad Keselowski fought his way to a third-place finish on the 2.45-mile road course. The 2013 winner of this event, Keselowski raced his way into the lead at lap 17 and would go on to win the first, 20-lap stage that ended under the caution flag. Following a four-tire pit stop during the break the No. 22 team won the race off pit road and line up fourth on the restart, behind drivers that made their pit stops before the end of the stage. The REV Group Ford was very loose at the start of the second, 20-lap stage, but Keselowski was able to hang on to it to finish third in the stage. Crew chief Greg Erwin left his driver on the racing surface during the break between stages as their strategy was to make the end of the race on two pit stops. After racing back into the lead at lap 47, Keselowski made his final pit stop of the day on lap 49. He would cycle to the second position after all pit stops had been completed, behind eventual race winner Kyle Busch. A lap 77 caution gave Keselowski another shot to win but he could not make his way around Busch and would cross the finish line in the third position behind Busch and his teammate, Joey Logano. The finish is Keselowski’s fourth-consecutive top-five finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Quote: “Probably needed a little bit everywhere. I gave it all I had. Joey and I were racing for best in class and he did a good job. It was a heck of a race there at the end.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!