NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Homestead

November 20, 2016

Track:    Homestead-Miami Speedway
Race:     Ford EcoBoost 400
Date:     November 20, 2016

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  2nd
Finish: 35th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 257/268
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 12th

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team came into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with an opportunity to finish the year with the most wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but an incident on lap 257 of the Ford EcoBoost 400 left him with a 35th-place finish. Keselowski took the green flag from the second position as the race began under beautiful, southern Florida skies. Despite being loose on throttle during the first run, he was able to quickly turn some of the fastest laps on the track as he held down the second spot. He and crew chief Paul Wolfe would combat the loose-handling condition all evening as Wolfe made several adjustments to the air pressure and wedge on the Miller Lite Ford. After fall his lowest running order position of 11th following green-flag pit stops at lap 120, Keselowski began to work his way back towards the top five with the help of great pit stops by his Miller Lite crew. Following a restart on lap 179, Keselowski – winner of four races in 2016 – found himself in the fifth position with an eye towards his fifth win of the year. However, on a lap 257 restart he was caught in the middle of an incident between Carl Edwards and Joey Logano that resulted in heavy contact with the outside wall that ended his day prematurely with a 35th-place finish.

Quote: "Congrats to Jimmie Johnson, certainly. He accomplished what many people thought was no longer possible in this era of parity in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. But it was really unfortunate how the race played out at the end. It's a product of a format that's based on putting everything and risking everything. I understand why it happened on both ends."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  13th
Finish:  4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 268/268
Laps Led: 6
Points Position: 2nd

Recap:  Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team started 13th and finished fourth in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The fourth place effort netted the team the second position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final standings for the 2016 season. While the effort was one position shy of the team's ultimate goal, No. 22 Team Penske crew turned in a championship effort despite facing late race adversity. Logano wasted no time racing his way to the top-five after starting outside the top-10, passing eight cars within the first 30 laps of the event. The Shell-Pennzoil Ford was tight through the center of the corners and lacked forward drive on the opening run, nevertheless, Logano continued moving forward. Crew chief Todd Gordon called for minor air pressure adjustments, and on several occasions small chassis adjustments to keep the No. 22 in check with evolving track conditions. The team stayed within the top-five throughout the majority of the event until a late race restart yielded contact with fellow championship hopeful Carl Edwards. The Shell-Pennzoil Ford received minor damage, and the team, led by Gordon, formulated a strategy under a lengthy red flag to repair the damage. When the caution flag was displayed, Logano pitted from the eighth position for repairs, and as they had all night, the Shell-Pennzoil crew delivered an exceptional four-tire stop and repaired the damage. Car chief Raymond Fox joined the efforts by repairing the right-rear quarter panel. Despite the repairs, the team remained in the eighth position for the ensuing restart. Logano displayed championship determination by moving from eighth to third in one lap. Unfortunately, the caution flag would be displayed once again forcing the race into NASCAR-Overtime. Logano would be forced to restart on the inside line where he was unable to advance on the final restart, bringing the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford home in the fourth position. The Shell-Pennzoil Ford team scored three points victories and won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race in 2016, on the 50th anniversary season for Team Penske.

Quote: "It was eventful to say the least. I hate being that close to a championship and not getting it. The team did a great job all day. We had a good race car and we put ourselves in position to win. No one made any mistakes or anything like that on our pit crew. That last restart, I was hoping to get Jimmie there and trying to get either to the inside or outside of him. I just timed it a little bit wrong to get underneath him. I just didn't have enough time to get under him. We lost some time there and unfortunately we finish second. The championship means so much and everyone forgets about second place. That is what stinks. But overall I am proud of this team. This will be motivation for next year."