Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Race: NRA Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Date: August 19, 2017
No. 2 Autotrader Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Laps Completed: 493/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind leader): 6th (-223)
Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Autotrader Ford Fusion team were forced to deal with difficult circumstances to finish 29th in Saturdaynight’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting the race from the 17th position the race was significantly altered for the team following an incident on lap five. While trying to avoid another competitor that had brushed the wall another car made contact with the left side of the Autotrader machine, cutting down the left-rear tire. Keselowski immediately came to pit road for four fresh tires, but with the quick lap times turned on the fast half-mile oval he returned to the track four laps down to the race leaders. Keselowski was quickly able to pass the leader to gain one lap back before the first caution of the night was displayed at lap 61. The caution, however, put crew chief Paul Wolfe in an impossible position to either pit and stay out following the end of the first, 125-lap stage, or to stay out for the wave around in hopes of a quick caution that would allow him to bring Keselowski down pit road for service. The team elected to take the wave around to get back to two laps down to the leaders but, unfortunately, the caution never came before the end of the first stage and Keselowski was again passed by the leaders to finish the stage three laps down. Despite showing solid speed over the course of the race the team was never able to find themselves on the positive side of the track-position battle. Over the remaining laps of the race, Keselowski was able to pick up a few more positions to cross the finish line in the 29th position.
Quote: “Tonight was one of those races that no driver likes to have here at Bristol, but they can happen from time to time. When you have to pit under green that early in the race and lose that many laps it makes for a long night. Credit goes to my Autotrader Ford team as they never gave up but we were in a big hole after that and could not claw our way out of it.”
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind leader): 14th (-368)
Recap: Joey Logano started eighth and finished 13th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. At the drop of the green flag, Logano quickly used the advantageous outside line to move forward, climbing inside the top-five by the time the first caution flag was displayed at lap 61. Logano described the handling of his Shell-Pennzoil Ford to be tight overall, but lacking in corner entry security. Crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make minor air pressure adjustments on the first stop, and the Shell-Pennzoil crew executed a flawless stop, returning Logano to the track in the fifth position. However, the inside line would prove to be a disadvantage for the first 10 laps of a run, resulting in a loss of four positions on the opening lap. The team would gain one of those spots back before the conclusion of the first stage at lap 125, finishing in the eighth position. Logano quickly emphasized that the handling of the car had gotten worse, so Gordon elected to reverse direction on the first changes, setting the car up for the start of the second stage. Quick work by the crew gained Logano a position leaving pit road, but unfortunately put him on the inside line again where he lost another three spots on the restart. While the fire-off speed slowly came to the team, Logano proved to have a car more suited for the long-run, but with the loss in track position it proved difficult to fully utilize the potential of the car. With a caution at lap 231 and the team finding themselves outside the top-10, Gordon elected to call the Shell-Pennzoil Ford back to pit road, this time for the first of numerous chassis adjustments in addition to air pressure. At the conclusion of the second stage, the Shell-Pennzoil team found themselves in the 17th position; they would however, cycle forward back toward the top-10 as the remainder of the field pitted. In the third stage, the team had to rebound from being a lap-down by utilizing the free-pass. Logano and the team continued to fight forward but a long green flag run to the finish with a lack of restarts halted their advance when the car was finally at its most competitive position of the night. Logano would bring the Shell-Pennzoil Ford home in the 13th position.
Quote: “The handling just really wasn’t consistent tonight with the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. We’d find times where we’d fire off and go and then we’d lose the center turn, at other points we lacked entry security. Then we’d have 10-20 lap runs where the car handled great and we could pick up positions. The guys kept digging all night and we made some big adjustments on the car in the second half of the race. We’ll keep fighting on to Darlington.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!