NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Dover

October 2, 2016

Track:    Dover International Speedway
Race:     Citizen Soldier 400 
Date:     October 2, 2016  

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  1st
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led:  7
Points Position (behind leader):  T-2nd (-6)

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team moved on to the second round of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup with a fourth-place finish in the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The finish made Keselowski the only driver in the Chase to record top-five finishes in each race of the first round of the playoffs. The 2012 series champion started the 400-lap event from the pole position after rain canceled qualifying on Friday afternoon, setting the field by the NASCAR rulebook. When the race began Keselowski led the first five circuits before settling into the top five with a Ford that needed better drive on corner exit. After several air pressure and wedge adjustments from crew chief Paul Wolfe the handling on the Miller Lite machine gradually began to improve. The No. 2 pit crew continued to help their driver on pit road by consistently picking up spots over the first three pit stops of the day. As the race moved past the halfway point, Keselowski radioed to Wolfe that the car was the best it had been all day, setting the team up for a strong finish to the race that ran under the green flag for the final 207 laps. After making his final pit stop of the day at lap 365, Keselowski cycled back to the fourth position with 26 laps remaining after all pit stops had been completed. He crossed the finish line in that same position for his second-consecutive fourth-place finish. The second round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be contested at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Keselowski has scored at least one win at each of the three venues.

Quote: "We just had a smooth, top-five to maybe seventh or eighth-place day today – nothing really flashy. The Miller Lite Ford was really consistent with great pit stops and execution, so kind of a fun day. It wasn't as fun as if you led every lap and won the race, but fun to get out there and compete and race real hard and be in a spot to move forward to the next round. Consistency is just as important as winning in this format and I think sometimes that gets lost. In fact, you might even say consistency is more important, but I think looking forward if we keep up what we're doing, we'll find our way to Homestead, so that's something to be proud of."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  5th
Finish:  6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 5th (-23)

Recap:  Joey Logano started fifth and finished sixth in Sunday afternoon's Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway. The finish was another "base hit" as termed by Todd Gordon which proved to be the appropriate strategy in the opening round of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Logano's average finish of 6.3 was good enough to advance the 26 year-old and his team to the Round of 12, finishing the Round of 16 in the fifth points position.  After starting fifth, Logano ran solidly in the top-five for most of the race, never slipping outside the top 10 aside from one cycle of green flag pit stops. The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion again proved to be one of the better cars on the long runs, which defined the event as the race was slowed for caution only four times, the last time coming at lap 181. Logano described his car as tight at times, but overall had good balance for most of the 400 lap event, at times running laps faster than the race leaders. Aside from the team's fourth pit stop at lap 277, Gordon called for only minor air pressure adjustments to the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford. Gordon called Logano to pit road for the final time at lap 355, pitting early enough to maximize the advantage of fresh tires and keep the No. 22 on the lead lap for the remainder of the event.

Quote: – "Overall, we did what we had to do. The points are back to zero and we can head to the next round and try to get a win. Every track is different. Dover is obviously a beast of its own. It's a very cool race track, but everything is so different compared to where we're gonna go next week to Charlotte and then Kansas and Talladega. They're all going to be a lot different for sure, but we’ll take what we learned here for next year and I’m sure there are some things that we can apply to the next race, but most of it is kind of track-specific. It's nice to have the reset. We weren't bad off in points at all, but to have the reset – we didn't have the bonus points going into this round, so it's nice to be at zero with everyone and be able to try to get ourselves a win and get through or have some nice, solid days like we had today to give us some kind of cushion by the time we get to Talladega. We're ready to go and now we'll just wait to see what happens."