Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

July 7, 2018

Track:                Daytona International Speedway
Race:                 Coke Zero Sugar 400
Date:                 July 7, 2018
No. 2 Stars, Stripes and Lites Ford Fusion  – Brad Keselowski
: 3rd
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 36th
Finish: 36th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 53/168
Laps Led: 9
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 5th (-153)

  • Brad Keselowski's night in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway ended way too early on Saturday evening. The driver of the Stars, Stripes and Lites Ford was jockeying for the lead on lap 54. He received a big push from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the entrance to Turn 3. Race leader William Byron threw a block, Keselowski backed off and got hit from behind, triggering a 24-car pileup and ending his night. Keselowski was credited with a 36th-place finish.   
  • Keselowski qualified third during time trials on Friday afternoon. When the race started, he stayed in the bottom lane which proved to be a disadvantage. The outside line had more movement but Keselowski was stuck in line on the bottom, shuffling him to mid-pack. But as Stage 1 neared its conclusion, Keselowski mounted a late rally to climb up to eighth position by the end of the 40-lap segment.
  • He pitted during the stage caution on lap 43 for right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment to aid a car that was loose on entry and tight on corner exit. The call by crew chief Paul Wolfe gave Keselowski the lead during the caution on lap 44 and he held it through the restart on lap 52. Unfortunately, his night ended just two laps later.
  • Keselowski is fifth in the MENCS driver standings, 153 points behind the leader. 

"Ricky (Stenhouse) was doing the best he could to give me a good push. I had a great run to take the lead and the car in front of me just threw a late, bad block.  I made the mistake of lifting instead of just driving through him and that's my fault. I know better than that. I've got to wreck more people and then they'll stop blocking me late and behind like that. That's my fault."

No. 12 BODYARMOR Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
: 12th
Stage 1: 14th
Stage 2: 40th
Finish: 40th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 53/168
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 11th (-253)

  • Ryan Blaney started from 12th position in Saturday night's 400-mile race at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Shortly after the drop of the green flag, Blaney settled into the top-five, clicking off laps in Stage 1. As the stage drew to a close, Blaney made a move to get closer to the front, but a lack of drafting help kept him pinned to the slower bottom lane, causing him to fall back in the lead pack. He recovered to finish 14th at the conclusion of Stage 1 on lap 40.
  • During the stage caution, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called Blaney to pit road on lap 43. The BODYARMOR crew took two right side tires and fuel. A miscue on the stop forced Blaney to pit again shortly thereafter because there was not enough fuel to make it to the end of Stage 2.
  • The second segment began on lap 46 Blaney went to work moving his way through traffic and back to the front of the field. On lap 54, Blaney was caught up in a massive 24-car pileup between Turns 3 and 4. The BODYARMOR Ford Fusion was badly damaged in the accident and Blaney's night at Daytona was over. He was credited with a 40th-place finish and is now 11th in the MENCS driver standings.

"I don't know what happened. By the time I looked up and started checking up I was already in it. It's just one of those deals. When you come here everyone is really close and racing hard and sometimes you're the bug as opposed to the windshield. That's just the way it goes sometimes. You hate it, but that's just the way sometimes this race goes. I thought our car was really fast.  We just had to kind of work our way back up through there, but we don't get the chance now. I hate it for BODYARMOR. It's their first primary race and we really wanted to show something for them and we'll never get the chance to do that."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
:  11th
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 39th          
Finish: 39th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 53/168
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first):  4th (-131)  

  • Joey Logano started 11th in Saturday evening's Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion raced their way inside the top-10 early in the first stage, but then fell back to 13th position before the segment concluded on lap 40.
  • Throughout the first run, Logano reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was on the front splitter, making the car difficult to turn, while also battling a loose on corner entry. Crew chief Todd Gordon made wedge and air pressure adjustments to aid the car's handling on the first stop of the race during the stage caution on lap 43.
  • Unfortunately, Logano was collected in a multi-vehicle accident in Turn 3 on lap 54, ending the night for the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. In a cruel twist of fate, Logano's two Team Penske teammates were also collected in the big pileup as well, ending the night for the organization in a single incident.

"It looks like they crashed a lot of cars. I was in the middle of it and I got hit from every corner really quick and it just seemed like they kept coming. It was just so hard to stop when you're going so fast out there, but it's part of the game here. Sometimes you're in the half of the field that finishes and sometimes you're in half of the field that doesn't and we were in the bad 50 percent this time. That's part of the game."