Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Pocono

June 11, 2017

Track:                  Pocono Raceway
Race:                   AXALTA Pocono 400
Date:                   June 11, 2017

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 6th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 11
Point Standings (behind leader): 5th (-130)

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team followed up Keselowski's win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon with their own fifth-place finish in the AXALTA Pocono 400 on Sunday afternoon. After starting the race from the sixth position, Keselowski quickly moved into third as the inside line had trouble getting up to speed on the initial start. He eventually moved up to the second position before pitting at lap 12 for two Goodyear tires and an air pressure adjustment. Two strategies were at play during the race and crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to go with pitting as soon as the fuel window opened in each stage instead of running long in the stage, pitting late and staying on track during the break to pick up track position. As a result, there were big swings in track position throughout the day. However, Keselowski was able to finish third in the first, 50-lap stage to score six bonus points. The second, 50-lap stage was marred by a long red-flag period at lap 96, which effectively ended the second stage despite the race resuming for one lap. Keselowski finished the second stage in the seventh position to pick up four additional bonus points. The final stage began with Keselowski in the 22nd position, but he quickly began to slice his way through the field, eventually assuming the lead at lap 130. He would lead 10 laps on the day before pitting for the final time at lap 140. In a stroke of great racing fortune the final caution flag flew as Keselowski was making his way back to the racing surface. This caution resulted in several competitors in front of him coming down pit road under the yellow for their final pit stop of the day. This cycled Keselowski and the Miller Lite Ford to the second position on the restart. However, on the final restart of the day, he was shuffled back to the fifth position and he would cross the finish line there 13 laps later for his eighth top-five finish of the season.

Quote: "I just didn't get enough 'go' on the restart, which was a bummer. I don't know, I feel like I probably could have won it if I had just gotten that launch with the Miller Lite Ford. Kyle got a great launch. He went a tiny bit before the line, but not enough to where NASCAR was going to call it, and I didn’t get the launch I needed. But congrats to Ryan Blaney and the entire Wood Brothers team. That is one of the iconic teams in NASCAR and to see the mesh of an old school team with a new, young driver like Ryan Blaney is really cool to see."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 9th
Finish: 23rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  160/160
Laps Led:  0
Point Standings (behind leader): 11th (-222)

Recap:  Joey Logano started ninth and finished 23rd in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion on Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. On the sixth lap of the event, Logano was forced to pit with a flat left-rear tire, dropping the team to the 39th position. As the first stage went on, Logano was able to regain positions, almost reaching the top-10 before having to pit again to make the end of the stage. That stop dropped the Shell-Pennzoil Ford one lap down. The team would continue to adjust on the car, consistently running top-10 lap times when they had clean air but recovering track position proved difficult. At the end of the second stage, pit stop cycles would move the team back to 20th position for the restart. Again Logano worked his way forward but on lap 153, the brakes faded and he was forced to drive with extreme caution until the checkered flag at lap 160, finishing 23rd.

Quote: "Unfortunately we had a puncture to the left rear on the lap six and that really put us behind in the first stage. We had a decent car most of the day, the team made good adjustments but we weren't able to recover our track position. There at the end the brakes just went away had to just survive the last few laps. Just bad luck and not indicative of the car we had today. Congratulations to Ryan Blaney on his picking up his first victory, he did a great job and he's been close to getting it for a while."