NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Martinsville

October 30, 2016

Track:    Martinsville Speedway    
Race:     Goody's Fast Relief 500
Date:     October 30, 2016

No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  19th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 10th

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion team entered the third round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup looking to play the role of spoiler after being eliminated last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, and they nearly did just that in finishing second in the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday afternoon. After starting the race from the 19th position, Keselowski quickly began his march through the field as he entered the top 10 at lap 43. The biggest handling issues for the No. 2 Ford were that it was loose on corner entry and tight just past the center of the corner. Crew chief Paul Wolfe masterfully worked through changes to the air pressure and wedge to help his driver continue to be one of the fastest cars on the track. As fast as the Alliance Truck Parts Ford was early in the race it became even better during the third run of the afternoon as Keselowski was able to display both short-run and long-run speed as he would maintain a spot inside the top 10 for most of the afternoon. After making green-flag pit stops at lap 355, Keselowski and many other competitors were caught by a caution before all the pit stops cycled. After a long caution-flag period as NASCAR sorted through the lineup, Keselowski started deep in the field on the ensuing restart at lap 387 despite being scored in the eighth position. After working his way through the pack and into second position behind race winner, Jimmie Johnson, Keselowski ran out of laps before being able to challenge Johnson for the race win. The second-place finish for Keselowski tied his career-best result at Martinsville, which he also accomplished in the spring race of 2015.

Quote: "It was a good day for us. Not to win...  I think we had the speed capable to pull it off, but still a really strong day. The Alliance Truck Parts Ford was good. The team executed really well. Just kind of missed out on the racing gods today. A lot to be proud of. Great effort. Showed that we're still a strong team, if not the strongest in the garage. Really proud of that."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  2nd
Finish:  9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 21
Points Position (behind leader): 5th (-11)

Recap:  Joey Logano started second and finished ninth in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday afternoon's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. At the drop of the green flag, Logano immediately settled into the second position, running there throughout the opening 21 laps. When the first caution flag of the afternoon was displayed, crew chief Todd Gordon opted to leave the Shell-Pennzoil Ford on the track with six other lead lap competitors, moving the No.  22 to the lead. Logano would lead 21 consecutive laps, and run in the top-two until the second caution flag of the afternoon was displayed at lap 62 when Gordon called the No. 22 Ford to pit lane for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Logano had to battle from the outside lane on each of the races ensuing restarts, compounding an issue of a car that needed about 20 laps to reach its full potential. However, the long-run setup would prove to be the correct way for the team to go as the race featured a below-average total of five caution periods and feature a 151 lap green-flag run. The fifth and final caution flag was displayed at lap 358, midway through a green flag cycle of pit stops. Logano and his team were trapped in a wave-around situation and had to restart with nearly 20 lap-down cars in between them and the rest of the leaders. Logano battled throughout the remainder of the race, climbing back to finish in the ninth position. While the end result was less than what the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team desired, it was a solid day in which problems found many of the chasers in the Round of Eight.

Quote: "Overall, we had a top-5 car, but we didn't have the race play out the way we needed it to. No one made a mistake or is at fault, but that caution came out that jumbled the field up and we had the wave around to get back on the lead lap. Then when we waved around we were like thirty-something on the race track, so we just maintained. I just needed a caution to get caught up. I was hoping for a quick five-lap run and a caution so we could get caught up with those guys, but our Shell-Pennzoil Ford was better than ninth. We raced in the top five early in the race and that's probably where we should have finished, but that's racing sometimes. Sometimes you’re on each end of it. We got an OK day out of it – nothing bad and nothing great – but we got through it."