Race: Hollywood Casino 400
Date: October 22, 2017
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 18
Point Standings (behind leader): 3rd (-49)
Recap: After having qualified for the Round of 8 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team battled to a 13th-place finish in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Keselowski began the 400-miler in the 11th position and when the green flag fell he radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he needed stability on corner entry. When NASCAR displayed a competition caution at lap 30, Keselowski had fallen back to the 14th position due to the handling. After adjustments to the wedge and air pressure on the Miller Lite machine, Keselowski was able to rally to finish 11th in the first, 80-lap stage. Following more wedge and air pressure adjustments, Keselowski began the second, 80-lap stage from the 11th position and the No. 2 Ford responded well to the adjustments. He was able to race his way to the seventh spot before coming down pit road for another stop at lap 144. Wolfe decided on a long-run strategy before the end of the stage and, as a result, Keselowski was able to finish the stage in the third position to score eight bonus points. Unfortunately, while coming into his pit stall during the stage break, Keselowski was caught for speeding and had to start the final, 107-lap stage from the rear of the field. He was able to work his way back inside the top 10 when the caution flew at lap 198 for a multicar incident that placed the field under a brief red-flag condition. Running in the seventh position, Keselowski made his final pit stop of the day on lap 239 where he was caught for speeding in the same section of pit road. He would restart the race in the 22nd position before rallying to finish 13th. Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford Fusion team will begin the Round of 8 ranked third in the standings.
Quote: “The Miller Lite Ford Fusion was good enough and better than our finish. All in all, my guys put a good effort in it and I think we were better than we finished. I don’t understand the pit road speeding penalties and will have to see that with my own eyes. We put ourselves in position to capitalize on strategy and execution multiple times today and we just didn’t catch any breaks. You’ll have that. Now it’s on to Martinsville.”
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 0
Recap: Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion started 18th and finished 21st in Sunday afternoon’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. At the start of the event, Logano reported that the handling of the car was loose on corner entry and tight in the center, which resulted in the temporary loss of several positons. The handling would improve and the team would regain the positons and move to the 15th position before the competition caution at lap 30. On the first pit stop, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to go with an air pressure adjustment, working to combat the tight condition in the center of the corner. On the restart, Logano would continue to struggle with short run speed, battling low grip and a tight handling Ford Fusion. On lap 46, the team would return to pit road, this time making a wedge adjustment to attempt to improve the short-run speed while not hindering the long run performance. Logano continued to battle the inability to turn on the short run dropping back to the 22nd position before pitting for a major air pressure adjustment and four tires at lap 82. By the midsection of the race, the handling of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion had improved enough that the team attempted to run long on a green flag pit cycle. Later in the race, Logano would be caught up in a multi-car incident on the backstretch, receiving minor damage to the right side of his Ford Fusion. The team utilized the red flag period to formulate a game plan for repairs, before ultimately returning Logano to the track, still on the lead lap. The team would complete all the laps, before ultimately finishing 21st.
Quote: “We had a tough day with our Shell-Pennzoil Ford. We struggled on short run speed and once the field got spread out it was tough to make up spots. Then we got caught up in the wreck later in the race and that damage certainly didn’t help us. We’ll regroup and head to Martinsville next week.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!