Race: Tales of the Turtles 400
Date: September 17, 2017
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
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
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!