Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - New Hampshire

July 23, 2018

Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race: Foxwoods Resort Casino 300
Date: July 22, 2018
No. 2 Autotrader Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
: 6th
Stage 1: 12th   
Stage 2: 11th
Finish: 32nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 292/301
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-209)

  • Brad Keselowski’s chances for a solid finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway were derailed by brake problems. The driver of the Autotrader Ford Fusion was running ninth when he reported on lap 203 that he was experiencing mechanical problems. He nursed his car through the remainder of the run until he made a scheduled pit stop on lap 250 for four tires and repairs.  He returned to the track ad ran competitive laps times over the final 51 laps but the damage had been done. Keselowski was credited with a 32nd-place finish and is seventh MENCS driver standings, 209 points behind the leader.

  • Keselowski started sixth in the Foxwoods Resort and Casino 301. The first stage of the Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301 was slowed by four cautions, including a competition yellow on lap 35. Keselowski started sixth finished 11th in the 75-lap segment after being loose on corner entry and struggling to turn in the corners. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 78 for four tires and adjustments and restated 11th when the race went green on lap 82.

  • Stage 2 ran caution free and caution free and Keselowski held down 11th position through the segment. The driver of the Autotrader Ford Fusion said he was too loose on corner exit.  He pitted during the stage caution on lap 154 for four tires and adjustments. Good work by the Autotrader team moved Keselowski up to ninth position for the restart on lap 158.

  • Keselowski moved up to eighth-place on lap 162 but was ninth by lap 187 when his car got too loose. On lap 203 he radioed crew chief Paul Wolfe that he was experiencing brake issues. Keselowski pitted for repairs on lap 250 and returned to the track with a bit more pedal to work with, but the 47-lap sequence cost him eight laps to the leaders and ruined any chance for a respectable finish.

"We had a disappointing day for sure. I don’t know if I used too much brake trying to keep up or what. We’ll go on to Pocono and try to get a win there next week."
No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
: 5th
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 9th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-260)

  • Ryan Blaney started from fifth position in Sunday afternoon’s 301-lap race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  • After being delayed by weather for over three hours, Blaney wasted no time moving toward the front, moving up to second position before the competition caution on lap 35. He reported the balance of his Menards/Sylvania Ford Fusion was loose in and tight off of the corners. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for right side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the stage caution on lap 37. Those adjustments helped the loose condition, but made the car tighter as the run went along. Near the stage conclusion, Blaney and Kyle Busch made slight contact off Turn 4, pushing in the left-rear fender over the tire. Despite the damage, Blaney brought home a fifth-place finish in Stage 1.

  • During the stage caution, Bullins called Blaney to pit road for a four-tire stop on lap 77 plus fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The left-rear body damage slowed down the pit stop, which shuffled Blaney back to 19th position for the restart on lap 82.

  • Stage 2 began with Blaney slicing his way through traffic and driving back into the top-10. He reported his Ford started off tight and began to build on the loose side. He finished Stage 2 in the ninth-place, a net-gain of 10 positions from when the segment began. During the stage caution, the team took four tires, fuel and an additional air pressure adjustment for entry security.

  • The third and final stage began on lap 258 with Blaney restarting outside the top-five. He quickly worked his way back to the front as the event neared its conclusion. Late in the race he had a miscue on pit road with Kurt Busch leading to a long pit stop and losing track position. Blaney recovered and scored a seventh-place finish, his best effort in five starts at New Hampshire. The driver of the Menards/Sylvania Ford claimed his 10th top-10 of the 2018 season and moved up to ninth in the MENCS driver standings, a gain of one position.

"It was a challenging day for our Menards/Sylvania Ford Fusion team. We had good speed early, but needed to make sure adjustments to have a chance at the win. We had two things not go our way on pit road, but we fought back for a solid finish."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
:  19th
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 10th          
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-165)   

  • Joey Logano started 19th in Sunday’s rain-delayed Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Throughout practice, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford had showed decent race pace, giving Logano confidence he’d be able to work his way forward in the race.

  • Logano moved forward three positions before the first caution at lap 14. During the caution, he reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was a little tight on center turn, but had good entry security. The No. 22 team elected to pit and make an air pressure adjustment during the competition caution at lap 35, but the change made Logano too free on corner entry and in the center of the corners.

  • With the deterioration in handling conditions, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to pit Logano under the fourth caution on lap 53 for four tires and a left-side air pressure adjustment. Logano restarted 27th but with fresh tires, he charged forward, claiming ninth position at the end of Stage 1 on lap 75.

  • Logano battled a tight Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion throughout Stage 2, ultimately finishing 10th. Gordon called his driver to pit road on lap 154 during the stage caution for an air pressure adjustment to attempt to give Logano center turn longer into the run.

  • As the race progressed, Logano continued to battle an overall lack of grip, despite a wedge adjustment on the fifth stop of the race. Under caution on lap 257, Logano pitted again, making an air pressure adjustment and adding tape to the nose of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. He restarted in 12th position with 40 laps remaining.

  • The late adjustments proved beneficial. Logano was able to power forward on the restart, moving up to seventh position. From there, however, Logano would be hampered by an ill-handling car for the remaining laps of the event, forcing him to settle for a ninth place finish.

"We struggled today. We had okay fire-off speed but overall, our Shell-Pennzoil Ford just fell off too early in the run. I fought loose most of the day with a car tucked in behind me on corner entry and at times it was too tight in the center. We got a couple of stage points and a top-10 finish, but we need to get faster now that we’re closing in on the playoffs."