Xfinity Series Race Report - Martinsville

April 3, 2016

Track:    Martinsville Speedway
Race:     STP 500
Date:     April 3, 2016
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Start:  11th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led:  0
Points Position (behind leader):  6th (-42)
Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team continued to run well at the venerable Martinsville Speedway and, in Sunday's Goody's 500, Keselowski scored a fifth-place finish after a solid and consistent day. After starting the race from the 11th position, Keselowski used the first green-flag run to drive up to the second position before a lap 91 caution flag brought him down pit road. Unfortunately, a miscalculated pit road speed resulted in Keselowski being caught speeding while leaving pit road. He was forced to restart the race from the rear of the field at lap 98, but he quickly began to show the speed in his No. 2 Ford Fusion. Adversity reared its head again at lap 148, when Keselowski was caught in a typical Martinsville accordion in the center of the low-speed corners as he made contact with the rear bumper of Greg Biffle's Ford – resulting in damage to the hood and nose to his Miller Lite machine – while also receiving contact from another competitor behind him. While he was able to continue without repairs, the resulting damage affected his handling for the remainder of the race. Once Keselowski made his way back into the top-five at lap 259, he maintained his position there until the checkered flag fell and he crossed the line fifth. The result is Keselowski's fourth top-10 finish of the season.  He is qualified for the 2016 Chase for the Championship by virtue of his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year.
Quote: "It was a good Martinsville race.  We had a lot of speed with the Miller Lite Ford on the long runs, but just not quite enough on the short runs to make anything of the Gibbs cars.  They were really strong all day.  All in all, I'm real proud of my team.  We're starting to get this place where we're real consistent and can run up front and that's a good feeling."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Start:  1st (15th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole)
Finish: 11th  
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  500/500
Laps Led:  21
Points Position (behind leader):  5th (-24)
Recap:  Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team suffered through one of their biggest "roller coaster" days in recent memory and finished 11th in Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.  Logano started the race from the pole after earning the top spot – the 15th pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career – in qualifying on Friday. At the beginning of the 500-lap race, Logano jumped out to the lead and led the first 21 laps before giving up the top spot to Paul Menard.  Despite the early success, Logano then began a freefall through the field.  In just 50 laps, Logano dropped from the lead to a lap down in the 27th position, complaining that his Ford Fusion lacked drive off and that his tires had worn considerably.  After a big adjustment from crew chief Todd Gordon, Logano was able to race his way to the "lucky dog" spot and got back on the lead lap just 50 laps later.  Once back on the lead lap, Logano raced at the tail end of the field the remainder of the day.  Running at the back of the pack, Logano found himself beating and banging in the middle of the field, causing significant damage to his No. 22. Even with the damage, Logano continued to race his way back toward the front. Logano found himself back in the top-10 on lap 315, but dropped to the back once again after getting stuck on the outside lane during a restart.  He worked his way back to 11th when Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil team suffered a pit road penalty with just over 100 to go, dropping him back to the tail end of the lead lap yet again.  On a final restart with just 11 laps to go, Logano worked his way from 14th to 10th before contact caused a repair from earlier crash damage to come loose and completely block Logano's view.  Logano drove "blind" with the help of his spotter over the final five laps and lost only one spot, coming home with an 11th-place finish.  Logano was able to gain one position in the point standings and sits fifth, 24 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote:  "It was frustrating.  You want to go out there and win for sure and we just missed it.  The first run was just absolutely awful to go down a lap from the lead, so we fought to get our car better, which we did, and then we over adjusted and came back and over adjusted on the way back, and then we had a pit road penalty.  I think we know where we missed it, but we didn't have the tools to fix what we needed to fix.  Once the race starts a lot of times your hands are tied because you only have a certain amount of adjustments on your car or even on pit stops that we could fix what our problem was.  We've just got to go back and learn from our mistakes and learn from what happened today.  It seems like this tire kind of threw us for a loop today, or at least for our car."