Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

February 19, 2017

Track:    Daytona International Speedway
Race:     The Clash at Daytona
Date:     February 19, 2017

No. 2 SKF Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 1st
Finish: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 75/75
Laps Led: 18

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 SKF Ford Fusion team came within half a car length of winning the 2017 Clash at Daytona, but contact with the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin on the final lap resulted a sixth-place finish in the opening exhibition race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). Keselowski began the race from the pole position thanks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, drawing the No. 1 starting spot during the random draw on Friday that set the 17-car field. Keselowski stayed out front until a lap 19 caution brought the field down pit road for tires and adjustments. Unfortunately for Keselowski he was given a penalty for driving through too many pit stops on pit exit and he was forced to restart the race from the back of the field. It took the 2012 MENCS champion most of the remaining laps to work his way to the front of the field but with the help of teammate Joey Logano and Ford teammate Kevin Harvick he was able to do just that. With one lap remaining, Keselowski pulled up to the rear bumper of Hamlin and moved to the inside of him in turn two of the final lap. Hamlin attempted to block the assault of Keselowski, but the No. 2 Ford was already underneath him and both made contact that kept Keselowski from grabbing the win.

Quote: "It is the Clash, it's not the 500 and I guarantee he (Hamlin) knows and everyone else who is watching today that I'm going to make that move again. I knew we had a great SKF Ford Fusion but we cut it close there and were just able to make it back to the front. I felt like I pulled the perfect move on Denny but everything happens so fast here that I don't think he knew how strong of a run I had."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  9th
Finish: 1st
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  75/75
Laps Led:  4

Recap: Joey Logano kicked of the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with a victory in The Clash at Daytona on Sunday afternoon after the event was postponed Saturday night due to rain. Logano started the event in the ninth position with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion but wasted little time closing the gap on teammate and pole winner Brad Keselowski. On the first pit stop of the event crew chief Todd Gordon called for a four-tire stop with a slight chassis adjustment to give Logano a little more security on corner exit. Logano lost several positions on pit road as many of the other competitors took only two tires. Gordon would utilize the four-tire strategy throughout the event, with the exception of pitting at lap 25 for fuel only, as Logano reported noticeable grip lost around 17 laps into a run. When Logano brought the Shell-Pennzoil Ford to the pits for the final time at lap 52, the team took four tires, and made a slight chassis adjustment again, this time, freeing up Logano for the run to the checkers. On the final restart Logano utilized Ford Performance teammate Kevin Harvick and Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski to work his way back to the front, splitting up the leading quartet and setting up an exciting final lap. Logano provided a solid push to Keselowski who moved to the inside of leader Denny Hamlin entering turn 1. As the two made contact, Logano was able to utilize the top line and carry the momentum back to the checkered flag.

Quote "It's cool to win the Clash. We came close last year and it's really neat to be in Victory Lane and a good start to our day. That was the play. The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They are able to work together and think of one car of winning, and they're really good at that.  We had to think the same way as Ford and with Stewart-Haas and the Team Penske cars and we were able to get a good enough run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes and then there at the end was kind of a mess. Everything was going really fast. Everything was going on and I was just in the right place at the right time."