NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Quaker State 400

July 10, 2016

Track:    Kentucky Speedway
Race:     Quaker State 400
Date:     July 9, 2016

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  2nd
Finish: 1st – 21st career win
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led:  75
Points Position (behind leader):  2nd (-4)

Recap: Brad Keselowski continued his mastery of Kentucky Speedway – despite the new surface on the 1.5-mile oval – by guiding the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion to Victory Lane in Saturday night's Quaker State 400. The win moves his streak to six-consecutive years of winning a major NASCAR division race at the venue. The 2012 series champion started the race from the second position after rain showers canceled the Friday qualifying session, setting the field by owner points. Keselowski quickly showed the speed of his Ford by running some of the fastest laps in the field early in the race. The Ford, however, would build tighter over the course of the first several runs of the 267-lap event as crew chief Paul Wolfe began to adjustment air pressure and wedge to loosen up the chassis. Keselowski restarted the race from the 15th position at lap 88, his lowest running position of the race, before setting his sights on getting back to the front of the field. Restarts, which had been an issue for the team early in the race, became a strong suit as the track began to cool under the Kentucky night sky. With the car coming to life, Keselowski was able to move back inside the top five as the laps wound down. At lap 200 he restarted the race from the fourth position, but quickly rocketed to the lead and eventually moved to a three-second advantage over the field. Unfortunately, the previous pit stop came a bit too early and most of the field appeared to be a few laps short on fuel. Many of the leaders elected to pit with 15 laps to go, but Wolfe and Keselowski elected to stretch their mileage to make it to the end. At lap 261, the No. 20 of Matt Kenseth began pressuring Keselowski, who let him go by as he continued fuel conservation. However, Kenseth immediately pitted himself, handing the lead back over to the No. 2 Ford. With two laps remaining, Keselowski radioed that he was out of fuel, but a few precious drops were located in the fuel cell and he was able to keep the lead. Keselowski held off a hard-charging Carl Edwards over the final two laps to take the victory. The win marks the first time Keselowski has scored back-to-back victories since winning at Richmond International Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway in 2014.

Quote: "We almost didn't have enough fuel, but I've got to give credit to my guys, the Roush Yates Engine shop, and everybody at Ford. We knew the fuel mileage. We went out and we set a really fast pace there on that restart and was just using fuel, and then it became obvious that you were gonna have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much. It's a testament to our guys to have the fuel mileage that we did to be able to get back what I burnt early in the run and get the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane. It's number four this year. Gosh, that's great. Usually these repaves are kind of my Achilles heel. I know it's been a good track for us in the past, but this isn't the same Kentucky, I can tell you that. These cars were tough to drive today, but a good tough. This was a hard-fought battle and I'm really proud of everybody on the 2 crew to get win number four and take that first place."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 4th
Finish: 39th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 54/267
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 5th (-66)

Recap:  Joey Logano started fourth and raced inside the top 10 through the first 54 laps of Saturday night's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway before a blown right front tire sent the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion into the turn 4 wall and out of the event. Logano started the race on the outside of row two and dropped several positions on the first lap after getting out of the groove in turn 1. At the lap 25 competition caution, crew chief Todd Gordon called for air pressure adjustments to compliment the track bar and brake bias adjustments Logano was making inside the car. On the restart, the team would begin working their way back to the front, before getting loose and making contact with the outside wall and damaging the right-rear quarter panel on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford Fusion. The crew began preparing a body panel patch to repair the car as Logano wheeled the wounded machine around the track waiting for a caution to make the needed repairs. However, the damage and ill-handling condition eventually led to a blown right front tire at lap 54. Logano was able to drive the car back to the garage, but the damage forced the team to retire from the race.

Quote: "It's hard to say what happened there for sure, I was just looking at the tire in there. I got loose and hit the wall about 10 laps before that and the car gets really loose when you tap the right-rear quarter over. You're trying to slow down a lot and the brakes started going away. I don't know what happened after that, if a rotor blew up or what made the tire go down, but the right-front went flat and I was pretty much along for the ride after that. I hit a ton, so I'm pretty impressed by the way the safety is in these race cars. That was one of the hardest hits I've had in a while. I had a long time to look at the wall before I hit it and not really slow down much before I got there. It just kind of stinks for our race team to be crashed out so early in the race, but we'll just go back to Loudon and go back to work."