NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report - Charlotte

May 27, 2017

Track:    Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race:     Hisense 4k TV 300
Date:     May 27, 2017

No. 12 Snap-on Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start:  3rd
Finish: 1st (5th career XFINITY win)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 107

Recap: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Snap-on Ford Mustang team won the Hisense 4k TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) after a strong drive from the rear of the field to start the 200-lap event. The 23-year-old qualified his Ford third during Saturday mornings session but due to unapproved adjustments, Blaney and the No. 12 team started from the back of the pack. It did not take long for the third-generation driver to crack the top-15, running 13th by lap 17. By the end of the first stage on lap 45, Blaney had raced his way to fourth. Crew chief Brian Wilson called for slight adjustments to help the Ford on the long run. Once stage two began, Blaney jumped out to the lead and dominated the 45 lap stage, picking up another stage win. Blaney's No.12 Ford was the class of the field for most of the event, leading 104 laps by lap 159. During the last pit stop of the race, Blaney gave up the lead the fell to the third position for the restart. Blaney was able to make his way up to the second position and chase down race leader Kevin Harvick before the final caution fell on lap 195. Once the race resumed on lap 197, Blaney was able to pass Harvick for the race win. This victory was Blaney's first of the 2017 season and his fifth career NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) victory. After the victory Blaney and his father, Dave Blaney, become the first father-son combo to win an NXS race at CMS.

Quote"Back then it wasn't the XFINITY Series in '06, but that was pretty neat for my dad to win here. I remember watching that race and that was a heck of a race and I hope this was a great race to watch. It was fun to be a part of.  We had a really awesome race car all day, having to start in the back and to be fourth by that first segment end was pretty impressive. I thought our car was really good at the time. We made it a little bit better when we got the lead there and was able to kind of control the race that we wanted to and we lost the lead there on the last pit stop.  I thought we had a good pit stop, I just kind of got boxed in and didn’t really angle out very well and that was on me.  But, luckily, we were able to get back on the front row and give us a shot. It was so hard starting third and when you only have a couple laps to try to get to the front row that was really tough. I thought we were gonna run out of laps to try to make it happen. We were getting really good restarts all day once we finally got the pace picked up like it should be, and we were able to shove Kevin in front there and get to second, and just gave us a shot and an opportunity to get by him at the end there on the last restart. Props to everybody at the Penske group. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of it over the past four years and watching it improve and develop. To be honest with you, the XFINITY program wasn't where it should be this past year and they’ve put so much hard work into it in the offseason and I think we’ve finished second three times now and it was nice to finally break through and get back to victory lane with those guys. They deserve it.  They work their butts off and it's definitely cool to win at a track my father did. It's pretty cool."

No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start:  39th
Finish: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Owner's Points Position (behind leader): 1st (+53)

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang team earned a hard-fought sixth-place finish in Saturday's Hisense 4k TV 300 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). After starting the race from the rear of the field after not making a lap during the morning qualifying session, due to an issue in the technical inspection, Keselowski quickly began to slice his way through the field. The racing surface began to widen out early and the 2010 series champion make great use of the middle and high grooves to race his way into the 15th position by the 12th lap. However, towards the end of the first stage the handling began to deteriorate on the Ford Mustang and it took hard driving by Keselowski to finish ninth in the first stage. The second, 45-lap stage of the race featured much of the same handling characteristics on the Discount Tire machine, most notably tightness just past the center of the corners. Crew chief Greg Erwin make numerous adjustments to the wedge and air pressure but Keselowski was only able to muster an eighth-place finish in stage two. After maintaining his spot inside the top five, Erwin elected to add a spring rubber to the right rear spring during a lap 124 caution period. This had the biggest effect of any adjustment on the day and, after restarting from the 15th position, Keselowski quickly raced back towards the top five. He was able to move up to his highest position of fourth prior to the final restart of the day at lap 198, but could not hold the position as he crossed the finish line in sixth place. It marked Keselowski's fourth top-10 finish in four NXS starts this season.

Quote:  "It was nice to fight back from where we started the race and almost get a top-five finish, but we need to get this Discount Tire Ford Mustang back in Victory Lane where it belongs. Team Penske is building fast racecars for the XFINITY Series. You can see that my teammate, Ryan Blaney, won here today. So I am confident that we will win soon with this car too."