NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Kansas

October 18, 2015

Track:  Kansas Speedway
Race:   Hollywood Casino 400
Date:   October 18, 2015

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 1st (10th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole)
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 269/269
Laps Led: 28
Points Position (behind leader):  7th (- 24)
Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team started from the pole, lead laps early, then fell back with handling issues and ultimately finished ninth at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon in the Hollywood Casino 400. Keselowski started from the first position after earning his second pole of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season Friday night in qualifying. At the start of the race, the No. 2 Ford Fusion looked stout as it pulled to a commanding early lead. As the opening run continued, the Miller Lite machine began to build loose and, at lap 29, Keselowski fell to second place.  As the race progressed, the Blanco Deuce ran in the top-10 while fighting a few handling issues.  Keselowski reported that he was loose in, tight center and then loose on exit. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made several adjustments over the duration of the contest, keeping the Ford Fusion in the top-15 the entire time. The team executed well in the pits and used strategy in an attempt to gain track position. As the laps wound down, both driver and team rallied to gain valuable positions and the work paid off with a ninth-place finish, the team's 21st top-10 of the season. The effort has the No. 2 Team Penske Ford team and driver tied for fifth with Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon in the Chase standings. The trio trail leader Joey Logano by 24 points with one race left in the Contender Round and one more shot to grab one of seven spots remaining to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase.

Quote: "It was a rough day for us. We were not as fast today as what we hoped to be, but the No. 2 crew and my Miller Lite Ford team stayed with it and got a decent finish out of it to where we can go to Talladega and have a real shot. That's certainly not a bad thing for teams that are in a position like mine, where we're gonna have to race in with points or win Talladega.  It could be worse. I'm happy for Joey."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  14th
Finish: 1st (13th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  269/269
Laps Led:  42
Points Position (ahead of second): 1st (+13)
Recap:  Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team took the lead late after contact with the No. 20 and went on to earn his second-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and his fifth of the season, winning the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon.  Logano qualified an uncharacteristic 14th for the 267-lap event, but put on a show early, racing from 14th to third in the firsts 18 laps and eventually getting to second by lap 30.  Once up front, Logano would become a top-three mainstay and took the top spot for the first time on lap 50.  Logano held the lead until a round of pit stops on lap 66 and came out sixth after taking four tires while several other cars took two.  It look Logano just 10 laps to work his way back to second and to begin chasing down the race leader.  In the middle portion of the race, Logano was fighting a loose condition but was able to keep his Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion near the front all afternoon long thanks to quick stops on pit road and small adjustments from crew chief Todd Gordon.   On a restart with 20 laps to go, Logano slotted into second and began chasing down race leader Matt Kenseth.  Logano was able to close on the bumper of the No. 20 with 10 to go, but had to jump out of the gas as Kenseth blocked to keep his position.  Logano then made another charge at Kenseth, getting to the outside of the No. 20 and again getting blocked, forcing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford into the outside wall.  Despite the contact, Logano was able to keep momentum and dove into turn one under the No. 20 with the two making contact.  Logano was able to steer clear and grab the lead once again.  The 25-year-old driver then held off the rest of the field over a green-white-checkered finish, earning his second-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory after taking the checkers last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  It's the first time in his career that Logano has won back-to-back races.  It was also his second-straight win at Kansas Speedway in the fall event.  With the victory, Logano now holds a 13-point lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup point standings heading into next week's race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Quote:  "It was just hard racing out there.  He (Kenseth) raced me really hard.  I raced him the same way.  He came up and started taking my air away, as he should, and I had to kind of adjust what I was doing and try to find a fast way back to him.  I was able to get those runs back to him and got back to him.  In the end, it was a lot of fun out there racing for a win like that.  The cars were very fast, equally paired.  I couldn't be more proud of what this Shell-Pennzoil team is doing right now.  We have such a fast race car, such a great team.  We've showed it two weeks in a row now and this is a lot of fun.  Our goal is to keep everyone on edge when they go into Talladega and we can feel comfortable about it, so I'm just proud of what this team is doing.  I'd like to get to Homestead, but it's one step at a time here.  We've just got to keep this speed in our race cars and keep doing what we're doing."