NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Sonoma

June 26, 2016

Track:    Sonoma Raceway
Race:     Toyota Save Mart 350
Date:     June 26, 2016

No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  12th  
Finish: 15th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led:  0
Points Position (behind leader):  4th (-56)

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts team came into Sunday's Toyota Save Mart 350 on a six-race streak of top-10 finishes, but slight contact with the tire barrier in turn 11 late in the race resulted in a 15th-place finish for the former series champion. After starting the 110-lap event from the 12th position, Keselowski radioed that he was lacking rear grip, especially at the end of a run. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made slight air pressure adjustments to the Goodyear radials on the No. 2 Ford to help his driver propel off the corners on several stops during the race. While the grip issues continued throughout the race, they improved to the point where Keselowski was able to turn laps as fast as the race leaders at several points throughout the event, and fast pit work by the Alliance crew kept their driver in the top-15 in the running order. At lap 101, while running in the 11th position and hoping to extend his top-10 streak, Keselowski made contact with the tire barrier in the hairpin corner while trying to pass for 10th place. The contact bent the right-rear tie rod and forced Keselowski to nurse his Ford for the remaining laps, crossing the finish line in the 15th spot.

Quote: "It was a hot day. We had better speed than we've ever had before with the Alliance Truck Parts Ford, but I just made too many mistakes. I really believe that we are going to break through here and get a win because my guys keep giving me good equipment every time we come back here."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 7th
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader):  5th (-69)

Recap:  Joey Logano started seventh and finished third in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion on Sunday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway. Logano slipped to the back of the top-10 early in the first run as he battled a tight-handling condition through turn 7 and lacked rear drive around the circuit. Crew chief Todd Gordon and the Shell-Pennzoil Team Penske crew adjusted on the car through the first two pit stops of the race and kept Logano solidly in the top-15 throughout the entire race. As conditions on the track continued to change, the team's adjustments would prove beneficial as Logano worked his way back to the top-10 and ran some of the races fastest lap times throughout the second half of the race. In addition to making the proper adjustments, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil crew gained Logano two spots on pit road in each of the final two stops of the race. Those additional positions would aid Logano's climb to the top-five, positioning the driver in a prime position to gain a spot on the final restart of the race. From there, Logano would wheel the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford to the fourth position, making the move to third on the final lap of the event. The finish moved helped the team narrow the gap in the points lead, as they posted their third consecutive top-five finish.  

Quote: "We had a hard-fought third-place finish today, which is no easy finish here at Sonoma at any point.  I'm really proud of the effort that we have made here in Sonoma over the last – not just this race, we did make progress throughout the race – but in the last three years.  I think a couple of years ago we had a fast short-run car and we fell off harder than anybody.  Last year, we had a slow short-run car, but a good long-run car.  This year, we had a pretty decent car throughout the whole run.  It didn't fall off really hard, so I'm super-proud of the effort that has been put into this race track here in Sonoma.  This is a nice, solid third-place finish.  I thought I could win the race there on the last lap when you're watching those two go into seven and 11 and you're running third.  You think you're in a pretty good spot to win this thing, thinking that they're most likely going to crash each other.  It was a fun race to watch.  Going into turn 11 I was 100 percent sure that Denny was not going to win just by watching it, and we were right there on the cusp of trying to sneak one by.  It would have been a gift if we got it, but you take them any way you can.  Overall, it's really cool for Tony Stewart.  I said earlier that we're probably witnessing a historic moment right now in NASCAR.  It was a really cool thing for Tony to be able to come back and get that win, obviously it's the same place Kyle did it last year.  It's just kind of ironic after he was hurt, so I don’t know what the deal is with Sonoma, but, overall, it's cool to see Tony get that win here when it's much needed.  It still shows he's got what it takes if you give him the right stuff.  He's gonna push hard when he needs to."