NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Crown Royal 400

July 25, 2016

Track:    Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race:     Crown Royal 400
Date:     July 24, 2016

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  5th
Finish: 17th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 170/170
Laps Led: 10
Points Position (behind leader): 2nd (-24)
Chase Standing: 1st (tied): – Four wins in 2016

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team finished 17th in Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard after a late-race incident kept them from challenging for a win. After taking the green flag from the fifth position, Keselowski radioed that he was tight in the center of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway corners and loose on corner exit. Crew chief Paul Wolfe stuck to his pre-race plan of trying to make the end of the race on only three pit stops and kept his driver on pit road until lap 42 – much longer than many of the other competitors – before bringing Keselowski down pit road from the lead spot for four tires, and adjustments to the air pressure and wedge. After pitting from the race lead, Keselowski cycled back to the 13th position after the green-flag stop, but quickly moved back inside the top 10 in just two laps. Despite being looser than the previous run he was able to turn some of the fastest laps on the track. Following a lap 53 caution period in which Wolfe elected to make a two-tire pit stop and scrap his three pit stop strategy, Keselowski restarted the race from the second position. Unfortunately, the Miller Lite Ford did not get up to speed quickly and Keselowski lost nine spots in the order before settling into the 11th position. Driver, crew chief and pit crew slowly worked their way back into contention for a top finish over the remaining laps of the race, with the Miller Lite crew picking their driver up three positions on lap 122 pit stop the resulted in Keselowski restarting the race from the sixth position. After lining up with four fresh tires for the restart, Keselowski just needed to clear one other competitor with four tires before tracking down the leaders who didn't have four fresh tires. However, as he was trying to make his way around the outside of the No. 19, driven by Carl Edwards, Edwards and the No. 31 of Ryan Newman made contact, sending Edwards into the path of Keselowski. The damage did not send the Miller Lite Ford to the garage, but if effectively ended his day as the could climb no higher than 17th before the checkered flag. Keselowski is now tied with race winner Kyle Busch with a series-leading four wins on the season.

Quote: "It was a long, hard day. We just weren't quite as fast as the Joe Gibbs Racing cars today, but we were competitive. I had a shot at it at the end when we came in and put tires on, but got caught up when the 19 car spun out. I thought we actually had a shot at winning it and kind of stealing one on tires, but when that wreck happened it took away any shot we had. There was too much damage to the Miller Lite Ford, but that’s just part of it. There was nowhere to go, but that’s definitely not the result we wanted for sure."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 14th  
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 170/170
Laps Led: 6
Points Position (behind leader): 4th (-65)
Chase Standing: 8th – One win in 2016

Recap: Joey Logano started 14th and finished seventh with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard. After starting outside the top-10, Logano slowly gained spots and when other leader lap competitors began pitting, he and teammate Brad Keselowski remained on the track, stretching their first fuel run past lap 40. The strategy positioned the duo to potentially make the event a three pit stop race. Logano and company battled a car that was tight in the center corners and loose on exit throughout the first half of the event. When the caution flag was displayed at lap 56, Logano was the lone lead lap car to remain on the track, sticking to crew chief Todd Gordon's pre-race strategy. Logano would lead six laps, and posted a net gain of eight spots by the time the team pitted for the second time at lap 84. The team would again make wholesale changes to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford with wedge and air pressure adjustments. After the team made their third and final pit stop of the event at lap 122, Logano would survive multiple restarts and battle within the top-five, at one point reaching the second position final to the prior restart. In the end, Logano would drop to the seventh position as he fought to hold off competitors with fresher tires. With their 13th top-10 of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion team moved into the fourth position in the championship standings. Logano is currently seeded eight among the Chase for the Sprint Cup competitors.

Quote: "I had a decent restart the first time, and the second one I probably had just as good of a restart, but the 20 got underneath me and I was kind of stuck from that point and kind of fell into the clutches of the tires behind me. I was trying to keep the Shell-Pennzoil Ford down and be where I needed to be to get in front of them, but they just kept turning underneath me. I hate that we finished seventh, but it's probably where we deserved to finish from a speed point of view. I thought our execution went very well today to give us an opportunity to win, but we couldn't quite get it done when it mattered."