Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

June 24, 2018

Track:                Sonoma Raceway
Race:                 Toyota Save Mart 350
Date:                 June 24, 2018
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Start: 10th
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 4th
Finish: 13th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 4th (-142)

  • Brad Keselowski had earned two-straight top-10 finishes coming into this weekend at Sonoma Raceway and hoped to be on his way to another, qualifying a solid 10th for Sunday's 110-lap event at the 11-turn road course.
  • During the first 25-lap stage, Keselowski's No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion looked to be strong, as he methodically picked his way through the field. Keselowski was able to climb all the way up to second-place as Stage 1 came to a close, which allowed him to pick up nine valuable stage points.
  • Several drivers made pit stops just before the end of Stage 1, which kept them in front of the drivers who stopped during the stage break, including Keselowski. Because of this, he restarted the Discount Tire machine in the 14th position as the race resumed. Once again, during the second stage, Keselowski was able to drive from 14th up to fourth to pick up more stage points.
  • Unfortunately, as the track continued to tighten up, so did the Discount Tire Ford Fusion. Climbing through the field during the remaining 60 laps was not as easy for Keselowski, who continued to complain of a tight racecar that wouldn't turn in the corners.  
  • After coming out of the pits in the 21st position following his final pit stop on lap 82, Keselowski was able to drive up to 13th, where he would finish out the day. The 13th-place effort kept him in the fourth position in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings. 

"We started out the race strong with the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion. We did what we wanted to do and score some stage points in the first two stages. But I made a couple of mistakes out there and used up my tires and it just hurt our chances for a better finish. This will be a learning experience for all of us."
No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
: 11th
Stage 1: 30th
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 34th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 104/110
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 11th (-230)

  • Ryan Blaney started his No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion from 11th position in Sunday's 110-lap event at Sonoma Raceway.
  • Teams competed in cooler temperatures compared to practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday. Blaney reported early he lacked grip in the rear, especially in turn 10. He fell back four spots from his 11th starting position to 15th.
  • Blaney's crew decided to forego a chance at stage 1 points, coming to pit road on lap 22 for multiple adjustments including track bar, wedge and air pressure. When he returned to the track crew chief Jeremy Bullins instructed the young driver to take care of his tires as they would not be coming in for service at the stage 1 conclusion on lap 25. Blaney crossed the line in 30th position in stage 1.
  • Blaney would restart stage 2 inside the top-10 through the cycle of pit stops. He maintained his position for the entirety the of stage, but still needed additional adjustments to dial-in the PPG Ford Fusion. On Lap 34, he reported to the crew he needed help especially in the right hand turns.
  • As was the case for stage 1, teams began making pit stops near the stage 2 conclusion on lap 50 to set themselves up with track position to begin stage 3. Blaney's team elected to remain on track and brought home a fifth-place finish in stage 2. On the lap 50 pit stop, the crew elected to make an air pressure adjustment along with four tires and fuel.
  • Blaney restarted outside the top-20 for the beginning of stage 3. Shortly after the restart, Blaney reported a steering issue in the PPG Ford Fusion. On the next pit stop the crew put the hood up, but issue could not be fixed without going to the garage. Blaney soldiered on through stage 3 without power steering and brought the PPG Ford Fusion home 34th. He now sits 11th in the Cup Series standings.

"It was obviously a tough day for our PPG Ford Fusion team. The handling just wasn't where it needed to be in stage 1 or 2 and we had mechanical problem. I managed to finish the race for my team, but it stinks we didn't have shot to get a good finish. We'll move on to Chicago next week."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
Start:  12th
Stage 1: 24th
Stage 2: 26th         
Finish: 19th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 110/110
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-112)   

  • Joey Logano started 12th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Logano worked forward from the 12th position in the opening five laps, reaching the tenth position. He reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was on the edge of wheel-hop throughout the run and was mostly free around the circuit.
  • As the Shell-Pennzoil Ford began to get tight as the opening run went on, Logano dropped to the 12th position. Outside of a points position for the stage end, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to pit Logano with three laps remaining in the opening stage. The move would cycle Logano to the fifth position for the restart to begin the second stage.
  • Logano reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford began the second stage loose all around, but the condition was amplified in turns 2 and 3. Throughout the second stage, Logano battled a tight condition and an intensified sensation of wheel hopping. Crew chief Todd Gordon elected to pit Logano again prior to the stage end, making a major wedge adjustment and adding a spring rubber to the right rear of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford.
  • Through the opening run of the final stage, Logano continued to struggle with the handling of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. On the third stop of the afternoon, Gordon called for air pressure and wedge adjustments, looking to give Logano the handling he needed for the run to the finish.
  • The major adjustments made on the final pit stop did help the handling of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. Unfortunately, the race ran under green flag conditions to its conclusion, relegating the No. 22 Ford to the 19th position.

"We really struggled for most of the race. The last pit stop we were able to make some really positive adjustments but at that point our bed was made without a caution flag. I think we know the direction we need to go from here, certainly some things were learned and that should carry over. We'll regroup as a team and be ready for Chicagoland Speedway next week."