Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report-Watkins Glen

August 6, 2017

Track:                  Watkins Glen International     
Race:                   I Love NY 355    
Date:                   August 6, 2017

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 8th
Finish: 15th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 90/90
Laps Led: 20
Point Standings (behind leader): 6th (-200)

Recap: Brad Keselowski started Sunday's I Love NY 355 at Watkins Glen International from the eighth position before finishing 15th in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion. As the race began, Keselowski quickly moved into the top five despite struggling for forward drive on the exit of each corner of the seven-turn road course. He would maintain that position through the end of the first, 20-lap stage to pick up six bonus points. After coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the break, Keselowski restarted the second, 20-lap stage from the 14th positon. Still, the handling was not quite where the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion needed it to be, but he was able to maneuver his way to a seventh-place finish in the second stage. As the third stage of the race began at lap 45, Keselowski restarted in the same, seventh-place position after not pitting during the break. On the first lap back to green, while entering the interloop section of the track, Keselowski and Kyle Busch made contact that sent them both spinning but able to continue with only slight damage. Unfortunately, Keselowski developed a vibration five laps later and had to come to pit road for four tires, an air pressure adjustment and to work on the damage from the incident. This did not put the team in their fuel window, but Keselowski grabbed the lead when the other competitors began making their final pit stops. The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford continued to pace the field while Keselowski and team needed a caution to make their final pit stop. However, the race stayed under the green flag and Keselowski had to pit on lap 87 of the 90-lap race. To make matters worse, he drove through too many pit stalls upon exiting pit road and had to serve a pass-through penalty that placed him 15th at the end of the event.

Quote: "Tough break today for the Miller Lite Ford team. I guess I drove through too many pit stalls leaving on our last pit stop. Gosh, it's a bummer. We weren't the fastest car today but we raced real hard and with a lot of heart. That put us in position. I hate that I cost us a top-five to a 15th. Good effort all around."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 13th
Finish: 24th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 90/90
Laps Led:  0
Point Standings (behind leader):  13th (-339)
Recap:  Joey Logano started 13th and finished 24th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday afternoon's I Love NY 355 at Watkins Glen International. Logano, the 2015 race winner and 2016 runner up entered the afternoon seeking a victory to secure the 22 team's place in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. On the initial start of the race, Logano worked his way into the top-10, reaching the ninth position by lap 3, and continuing to push forward through the first stage. At the completion of the stage at lap 20, Logano and company found themselves in the seventh position. On the initial start of the race Logano reported that the balance of the car was loose through turns two and three, while maintaining a tight center in the circuit's sweeping right handers. Crew chief Todd Gordon elected to adjust the No. 22 Ford with air pressure on the first stop of the day. Unfortunately, the team would battle getting the wheel indexed onto the studs on the right front and drop several positions in the process. In the second stage, Logano started to battle a loss of rear grip, while continuing to be tight through the center of the corners and loose on exit. Despite improved lap times, he reported that the handling had worsened. To complicate matters, contact was made on lap 27 with the No. 10 Ford, which knocked the toe out on the left front of the Shell-Pennzoil Fusion. The team elected to stay out at the end of the second stage and finished in the 12th position. Gordon would bring the team to pit road for the second time of the afternoon when the caution was displayed at lap 51. The stop dropped the team outside of the top-20, with other teams electing to remain on the track. On the restart, Logano was able to work back inside the top-20 but continued to lose ground with an overall lack of rear grip. Not wanting to play the fuel mileage card, Gordon elected to pit the Shell-Pennzoil Ford at lap 75, taking four tires and fuel in an effort to let Logano run hard to the finish in hopes of a late race caution. With the race running green to the completion, the team was forced to settle for a 24th-place finish.

Quote:  "Best case scenario we were going to finish top-10 which does nothing for us. A top-5 or a win is the only thing that is going to help us, so we went for it by pitting and putting four tires on and hoping to get a caution and maybe cycle ahead of cars with new tires. Unfortunately it went green all the way and we didn't get a good finish. We need to win the next few races here."