Race: Bank of America 500
Date: October 8, 2017
No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
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
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!