NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Charlotte

May 24, 2015

Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race: Coca-Cola 600
Date: May 24, 2015
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Start:  6th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  400/400
Laps Led: 3
Points Position (behind leader):  6th (-92)
Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team overcame an early race penalty to finish the Coca-Cola 600 in the seventh position on Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After starting sixth in the longest race of the season, Keselowski initially dropped back to 12th as he was conservative during early race action. By the time a NASCAR-mandated competition caution was displayed at lap 25, the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was scored seventh. During the first pit stop, the fuel can hung in the fueling fixture, resulting in a penalty that saw Keselowski have to start at the back of the pack on the ensuing restart.  The veteran driver wasted little time and worked his way from 43rd to 22nd in just 42 laps. The team kept him on track long enough to lead a couple laps before having to give up the top spot to pit. While still off sequence, the team caught a fortuitous caution at lap 89 and, from that point of the race, ran in the top-10 most of the night. Late in the race, it appeared the Keselowski was poised to make a run at the checkered flag as a pack of cars were attempting to stretch their fuel while the leaders all pitted with around 25 to go. The gambit paid for those cars saving fuel and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford had to settle for a seventh-place finish. Keselowski holds on to sixth in the point standings, trailing the leader Kevin Harvick by 92 points.

Quote:  "That was a long way to come for a seventh-place finish. We thought we had a shot at least for a second-place finish. Our Miller Lite Ford was fast over the last 100 laps and while it would have been tough to chase down the 78 (Truex Jr.), we were giving it our best. I am surprised that the 19 went that far on fuel – 60 laps is a long way. We gave it our best, the team overcame some early race adversity and I am proud of the effort."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Start:  2nd
Finish: 13th
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  400/400
Laps Led:  17
Points Position (behind first): 3rd (-66)
Recap:  Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team fought a ill-handling Ford Fusion all evening long at Charlotte Motor Speedway, coming home 13th in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.  Logano started the 600-mile race, the longest race of the year, in the second position.  At the drop of the green, Logano slotted into the third position.  However, after the first round of pit stops following a competition caution on lap 25, Logano was able to take the lead on the ensuing restart.  Logano would lead two different times for 17 laps over the race's first 100 circuits.  Despite the laps out front, Logano fought an ill-handling Ford Fusion.  The car was tight in the center of the corner and had no drive off.  It was a problem that plagued the team all night long and got progressively worse as the sun set and the track cooled.  Logano slipped back to eighth just past the halfway point and continued to play with different racing lines to no avail.  Crew chief Todd Gordon made big swings at adjustments all night long, also to little avail.  As the race progressed to the finish, Logano continued to slip back in the running order.  Late, during a round of green-flag stops with less than 30 to go, Gordon opted to pit for tires and fuel with the rest of the leaders as several cars stayed out hoping to make it to the finish on fuel.  Ultimately, those cars made it on fuel, relegating Logano and the team to a 13th-place finish.  Despite the finish, Logano moved up one spot in the point standings and now sits third, 66 points behind Kevin Harvick.
Quote:  "The sun started going down and our car was not good.  Nothing got better.  We went one way with something and went back the other way and nothing helped.  There's only so much you can do when the race starts.  We were good on the bottom for a couple laps and then we tried to move up and we were junk, and then you've got to adjust to that lane.  There was never one good  thing about the car.  Usually you at least get a good exit or a good center and I was just fighting way too much stuff. This is a Chase race when we come back and we're awful here right now.  We've just got to figure out how to go faster."