Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Loudon

July 16, 2017

Track:                  New Hampshire Motor Speedway  
Race:                   Overton's 301   
Date:                   July 16, 2017

No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 11th
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind leader): 8th (-194)

Recap: Perseverance was the word of the day for Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Wurth team in Sunday's 301-lap Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Keselowski had a car that appeared capable to win early in the race, but struggled with the handling of his Ford Fusion through the middle portion of the race before fighting back to grab a ninth-place finish. Keselowski started 11th and drove his way up to fifth in just 30 laps before coming to pit road during a competition caution. Unfortunately during the stop, the Wurth team had an issue with the jack which resulted in Keselowski dropping from fifth to 22nd. Once again, Keselowski raced towards the front half of the field and got back to 15th before the end of stage one.  Following a short red-flag for track repairs, Keselowski resumed the race in hopes of again gaining positions on the track. Unfortunately, as the sun continued to beat on the one-mile oval and as the traction-enhancing VHT wore off, the Wurth Fusion began to lose its handle. Complaining of a loose-in condition, Keselowski slipped all the way back to 20th. Crew chief Paul Wolfe continued to try and make major adjustments and instructed Keselowski to continue experimenting with the track bar.  Finally, with less than 50 laps to go, Keselowski came back to life and the former series champion was able to race his way back into the top-10, finishing a respectable ninth.  With the finish, Keselowski remains eighth in the Cup Series point standings.

Quote: "Yeah, that was a reasonable finish for us for sure. We weren't probably as fast as we wanted to be, but we stayed very persistent as a team and that is good. The pit stop was a bummer. I am not sure what happened there. Nobody wants to see that happen. I don't know if the compound made things any racier. It was certainly different but I don't know if it was -- I have to think about that one."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 13th
Finish: 37th
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  269/301
Laps Led:  0
Point Standings (behind leader):  13th (-286)

Recap:  Joey Logano started 13th and finished 37th after running inside the top-10 in the early stages of the Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. At the drop of the green, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion struggled with security on corner entry and a tight condition through the center of the corner. Crew chief Todd Gordon called for an air pressure and wedge adjustment on the first pit stop of the race. Logano reported that the car fired off better, allowing him to gain several positions on the restart. The gains were only short lived as the car became even more unsettled entering the corners and was loose on exit. On the second stop of the day, Gordon elected to go the opposite direction on changes from the first stop. That change hurt the initial fire-off speed of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, but Logano was able to move forward in the middle section of the run before fading late. Following the team’s third pit stop of the race, Logano finally had a car he could compete with, but an unfortunate mechanical failure in the rear suspension sent the team to the garage for a lengthy repair. Relegated to the 37th position, the team continued to battle, making small changes trying to establish a balance that Logano could run lap-times near those of the race leaders. Those changes will hopefully serve the team well when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September.

Quote: "Yeah, we were in this spot two times last year in the playoffs. Must win. Back against the way. We won both times. The team has it in them. We just have to get faster to be able to do that. Our team executes well, we just have to have something to race with a little bit."