Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Phoenix

March 8, 2020

Track:          Phoenix Raceway  
Race:            Fanshield 500    
Date:            March 8, 2020

No. 2 Alliance Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 15th
Stage 1: 32nd
Stage 2: 1st
Finish: 11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 316/316
Laps Led: 82
Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-46)

  • Brad Keselowski led laps and won a stage on his way to an 11th-place finish in the Fanshield 500 Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway. The driver of the Alliance Parts Ford Mustang climbed up two positions in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings and now sits in 10th position, 46 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
  • Keselowski started 14th and struggled in Stage 1 with a Mustang that was too tight in the corners. He was sixth on the restart following the first caution when Denny Hamlin got loose underneath him in turns 3 and 4. The two made contact, sending the No. 2 Mustang for a slow spin. Fortunately, there was no significant damage to Keselowski’s Ford. He made two pit stops for minor repairs and one for right-side tires during the caution and was credited with a 32nd-place finish when the stage ended on lap 75. Keselowski didn’t pit during the stage caution and restarted 10th when the race went green on lap 84.
  • The Alliance Parts Mustang came to life in Stage 2. Keselowski climbed to second position when he pitted during the fourth caution on lap 133 for four tires. He returned to the track in second-position and grabbed the lead on lap 156 and never looked back, winning his first stage of the season. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 194 for tires and a chassis adjustment and restarted as the race leader on lap 199, holding the top spot until he pitted during the sixth caution on lap 216. 
  • The balance on the No. 2 Mustang was too tight early in final stage but Keselowski hung on to third position. He took the lead on lap 268 when the leaders pitted and he stayed on the track. Keselowski was leading when the race went green on lap 288 but was shuffled back to third when a caution came out on lap 305. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Keselowski made the call to pit for four tires on lap 306, hoping the fresher tires would be an advantage in the closing laps. He restarted 16th and was able to scramble through the field to claim an 11th-place finish when the race ended on lap 316. 

Quote: "We ran well today but I think we had a better Alliance Parts Ford Mustang than where we finished. Our guys on the No. 2 crew did a great job in the pits all day. I saw Hamlin moving up into me and tried to give them room but got hit in the left-rear. We were lucky we didn’t have more damage from that."   

No. 12 Menards/Tarkett Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 5th
Stage 1: 37th
Stage 2: 37th
Finish: 37th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 65/316
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-41)

  • Bad luck befell Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Tarkett Ford Mustang team early in the Fanshield 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Shortly after Blaney’s first and only pit stop, he was caught up in a three-car accident on lap 65 that ended High Point, N.C., native’s day. He would be credited with a 37th-place finish.
  • Blaney rolled off fifth and fought a loose handling Menards Ford on entry and tight center. He would fall back to 10th as Stage 1 came close to its conclusion on lap 75. Blaney would make his only stop of the day under the first caution on lap 59, taking tires, fuel and a significant air pressure adjustment.
  • When racing resumed on lap 64, Blaney who was running the high line in Turns 3 and 4 wasn’t able to avoid the sideways cars of Denny Hamlin and Penske teammate Brad Keselowski which sent him hard into the outside wall and ended his day.
  • As a result, Blaney drops from the NASCAR Cup Series point lead to sixth in the standings.

Quote: "I thought we were going to roll the top pretty good through turns three and four. It looked like the No. 11 (Hamlin) tried to send it in there below the No. 2 (Keselowski), got loose, hit him then overcorrected and got us. We got up in the dirt and right into the fence. It sucks to have it end so early in the race. I hate it especially for Menards/Tarkett and Ford. We weren’t great the first run but we made a big swing at it and we don't know how that change was. It stinks to get taken out like that but we’ll just go on to Atlanta and see what we can do."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 13th
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 7th
Finish: 1st – 25th career NCS Victory
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 316/316
Laps Led: 60
Point Standings (Behind First): 2nd (-1)

  • Joey Logano scored his second victory of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway. The driver of Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang rebounded from multiple setbacks in the race to score his second career win in Phoenix.
  • Logano started 13th and went forward in the first stage, reaching the fifth position before a lap 57 caution brought the leaders to pit road. He exited the pits in fifth and survived two restarts to score a third-place finish in Stage 1.
  • Logano started Stage 2 in the 12th position and quickly drove back inside the top-five. He battled a tight condition but maintained third position until a caution on lap 130.
  • Unfortunately, an uncontrolled tire on the pit stop would drop him to the tail of the field for the restart. The Shell-Pennzoil Mustang team was able to recover for a seventh-place finish at the end of Stage 2.
  • Logano would restart the final stage in the sixth position after reporting the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was good on long runs. A pit stop in the third stage would set him up in the fourth position and the first car on four new tires. Using those fresh tires, Logano powered to the race lead with 88 laps remaining, only to relinquish it with 61 laps to go.
  • Unfortunately, an issue with the jack dropped him to the 18th position for the restart. A caution on lap 276 would bring many of the cars who stayed out under the previous caution to pit road, cycling Logano from seventh to third.
  • Logano was able to power back to the lead and survived multiple late race restarts to claim his second victory of the 2020 Cup Series season. He now sits second in points, just a single point behind leader Kevin Harvick. 

Quote: "We had a really good Shell?Pennzoil Mustang. We had more things go wrong today with the jack braking which was no one's fault. I had some good restarts to get ourselves back up there. I knew racing Kevin (Harvick) was going to be hard. I figured I was going to get hit, so I throttled up in the corner so much. I thought he was going to give me the bump?n?run, which I expected, I wouldn't blame him for that. I couldn't be prouder of this team. Two wins already in the books and we have to keep this thing rocking."