Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

June 11, 2018

Track:                Michigan International Speedway
Race:                 FireKeepers Casino 400
Date:                 June 10, 2018

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 2nd
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 7th
Finish: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 133/133
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 4th (-150)


  • Brad Keselowski scored a sixth-place finish in the rain-shortened FireKeepers 400 Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski grabbed his ninth top-10 of the season and third consecutive. He moved up to fourth-place in the MENCS driver standings, 150 points behind the leader.
  • The start of the race was delayed two and a half hours due to rain. Keselowski started in second-place and was running third at the time of a competition caution on lap 25. He pitted for four tires on lap 27 and restated fourth on lap 29. Keselowski ran inside the top-five until lap 59, when a chaotic one-lap dash shuffled him back to sixth-place at the end of the 60-lap segment. He pitted on lap 62 for four tires and adjustments and lined up seventh when the race resumed on lap 65.  
  • In Stage 2, Keselowski moved up to third-place by lap 85 despite a car that was free on entry in both ends of the racetrack. He pitted under caution on lap 87 for four tires and lined up in 12th position when the race went green on lap 90. The driver of the Miller Lite Ford methodically worked his way through traffic and claimed a seventh place finish at the end of the segment on lap 120. He made a four-tire stop under during the stage caution on lap 122 and lined up sixth when the race went green on lap 125.
  • With rain closing in, Stage 3 turned out to be a five-lap green flag dash. Keselowski held his own through the chaotic closing laps and was running sixth when an incident in Turn 2 brought out the eighth and final caution on lap 130. Three laps later the race the rain drops arrived, forcing NASCAR officials to call the race officially on lap 133.

Quote: "I thought we had a solid weekend with our Miller Lite Ford. We qualified strong and ran well in the race. We had a good, solid finish. I just wished we had finished five spots higher." 


No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney

Start: 9th
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 8th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 133/133
Laps Led: 15
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-207)


  • Ryan Blaney started his weekend at Michigan International Speedway strong, leading Friday morning's practice session and qualifying his No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford Fusion in the ninth position.
  • With threatening skies, Sunday's 400-mile race was delayed nearly three hours by rain.  However, when the track was dry and racing finally got underway, Blaney immediately showed that his No. 12 Fusion was going to be strong.
  • At the lap 25 competition caution, Blaney told crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his car was tight off, to which Bullins made several adjustments, including air, wedge and tape on the grill.
  • When racing resumed, Blaney was on a mission to the front of the field.  At lap 47, Blaney took the lead for the first time and kept the top spot until the end of stage one, earning his fourth stage win of the year.
  • All afternoon long, restart lanes would determine track position.  Much of the day, Blaney found himself in the less-than-optimal lower groove, which would cost him several spot on each restart.  However, despite losing spots in the first couple of laps, Blaney consistently found himself passing cars and working his way back toward the front of the field.
  • Despite falling as far back as 14th in the second stage, he crossed the line in fifth to end stage two.
  • Rain began to fall just after the start of the final stage, and Blaney slipped back from fifth to eighth.  NASCAR red-flagged the event and eventually called the race complete, resignation Blaney to an eighth-place finish.   

Quote: "We were really fast. We got our car better all day and won that stage and kind of got back there and a lot of guys took two. We were making it back up but then the rain came. It was a really great race car. Definitely not an eighth place car but unfortunately that is where we ended up."


No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  5th
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 14th         
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 133/133
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-98)    


  • Joey Logano started fifth in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Logano ran in the top-five the majority of the opening 20 laps before dropping to the sixth position before the lap 25 competition caution. The driver reported the car was slightly loose or slightly tight depending on the trackbar setting, but lacked overall rear-grip.
  • Through the second run of the race, Logano continued to battle a car that was lacking overall grip, while needing the handling to shift more neutral. Logano would finish the first stage in ninth, but due to varying pit strategy, restart in the 12th position. Within six laps, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford had driven back to the top-five.
  • Under the fifth caution flag of the race, Logano experienced an engine cutout prior to the pit stop where he was forced to cycle the system. On the stop, the team took four tires, dropping them from fifth, to 14th.   At the end of the second stage, Logano reported his car was the best it had been all afternoon, but was struggling with the dirty air when he closed up on another car. On the stage ending stop, the Shell-Pennzoil crew gained Logano four positions, lining him up in the advantageous outside line in the 10th position.
  • Logano was able to battle forward to the seventh position before the race was halted at lap 133 as rain moved back into the Irish Hills for the final time of the afternoon. The top-10 finish marked Logano's 12th of the season, keeping him in third place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver Points.

Quote"I got out of the car and thought, 'Man, that was a weird day.' It was hard to pass. I had a car that was capable of running in the top-five but the result depended on the restart. If you got a good restart you could settle in and run pretty well. Our car took off pretty good on restarts which was good and played into our hands a little bit. We had a good pit stop at the end that got us up to tenth and we had a good restart at the end and got a couple cars and that is what got us to the seventh place finish."