Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Auto Club

March 18, 2018

Track:      Auto Club Speedway
Race:       Auto Club 400
Date:       March 18, 2018

No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 11th
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 2nd
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 4th (-33)


  • Brad Keselowski scored a fourth-place finish in the Auto Club 400 Sunday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. Keselowski held off teammate Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin in the closing laps to grab his third top-10 finish of the 2018 season. He moved up to fourth-place in the MENCS driver standings – a gain of three positions.  
  • Keselowski started 11th and wasted no time climbing through the field in Stage 1. He used a well-balanced car and speedy pit stop on lap 28 to finish fourth in the opening segment of the race.
  • Fast work on the pit lane moved Keselowski up to third-place when Stage 2 began on lap 66. He ran consistently inside the top five during the segment. He was fifth when he pitted for four tires during the third caution on lap 110. He used a good restart on lap 114 to finish second when Stage 2 concluded on lap 122.
  • Keselowski restarted third when the final stage began on lap 126.  His car was looser during the final run to the finish. As the race entered its closing laps, Keselowski was fourth and did a good job holding off the fast-closing duo of Logano and Hamlin to claim his second top-five of the season.

Quote: "Martin (Truex Jr.) was real strong for sure. We had exceptional speed today with the Wurth Ford Fusion on the short runs, but not very much for them there on the long runs. I was hoping to get a late-race caution and could make it exciting for the fans that were here, but it didn't pan out that way."

No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney

Start: 8th
Stage 1: 32nd
Stage 2: 19th
Finish: 8th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 5th (-35)


  • Ryan Blaney started and finished eighth in Sunday's Auto Club 400 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. This was his third top-10 finish of the 2018 season and an Auto Club Speedway career-best.
  • Blaney fought both a tight and loose PPG Ford in the opening two runs of the first stage. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made several air pressure and chassis adjustments to fix the handling of the car throughout.
  • On lap 50, Blaney made an unscheduled pit stop after making slight contact with the outside wall. He subsequently lost a lap in the process.
  • Through a cycle of pit stops during the midpoint of the second stage, Blaney elected to stretch the fuel and tires in the hope he would catch a caution and get back on the lead lap.
  • Blaney would elect to take to the waive-around near the end of the second stage, which put him on equal tires to the leaders to begin the final stage of the race. Blaney drove his way from outside the top-20 to his final finishing position of eighth.

Quote: "It was a hard fought day for our PPG Ford team. We started a little tight and after the first couple pit stops got super loose. I made contact with the wall and had to make an unscheduled pit stop putting us way behind. The team did a great job repairing the car and we finally managed to work our way back on the lead lap late. I feel like I set us back, but we worked hard and managed to bring home a solid finish. It stinks we didn't get any stage points, but we'll try gain a lot next week in Martinsville."

No. 22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  6th
Stage 1:  3rd
Stage 2:  6th    
Finish: 5th
Status:  Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 9
Driver Point Standings (behind first):  3rd (-19)


  • Joey Logano started sixth in Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. He quickly moved inside the top-five on the first lap of the race, gaining two spots up to fourth.
  • Logano raced inside the top-six throughout the first stage, ultimately finishing in the third position. On the pit stop following the conclusion of the first stage, the No. 22 pit crew gained Logano the lead leaving pit road.
  • Logano ran inside the top-five throughout the second stage, before dropping back to seventh on a late stage restart. Logano rallied back to finish stage 2 in the sixth position.
  • Throughout the final stage, Logano battled a tight handling Ford Fusion on corner exit, but maintained his position inside the top-five. The crew made multiple air pressure and stagger adjustments to help the handling.
  • Throughout the final run, Logano was able to regain pace and brought home a fifth place finish in the No. 22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford Fusion, a testament to the hard work put forth by the team throughout the race to improve the car's handling.

Quote"The 78 had a great car. I was in front of him for about five laps and I was like, 'Hey,' but it was short-lived. Overall, it was a good weekend. To get a top-five here and a win yesterday is great. I would have liked to sweep the races here at Auto Club and we're just trying to get this Auto Club Fusion to Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway. I've been so close for quite some time now and it's been a great race track for us and a lot of fun to race here, I just need more speed to be able to keep up there. We made one change that the car didn't like right before the last stage and we lost some track position there, and by the time we were able to start catching back up it was too late. We probably could have finished fourth, maybe third at the end if we didn't have that bad run, but overall that's where we're at."