Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report

August 19, 2018

Track:                Bristol Motor Speedway 
Race:                 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Date:                 August 18, 2018
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
: 4th
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 19th
Finish: 16th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 499/500
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 8th (-273)

  • Brad Keselowski scored a 16th-place finish on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway and officially clinched a spot in the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs.
  • Keselowski started 11th in the 500-lap race and was running in 10th position at the time of the competition caution on lap 62.  He told crew chief Paul Wolfe that the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was tight from the center of the corners to the exit. Keselowski restarted seventh when the race went green on lap 66. He faded to 13th-place over the remaining laps of the 125-lap opening segment because he was struggling to turn in the center of the corners and was loose off. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 131 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment and restarted 13th when the race went green on lap 136.
  • In Stage 2, Keselowski's handling woes grew worse. His No. 2 Ford was loose on entry and very tight in the center. He pitted during the fourth caution on lap 200 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Unfortunately, those changes didn't help. On lap 227 Keselowski got loose at the entrance to Turn 1 and bounced off the outside wall. He kept going and was credited with 19th-place position finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 252. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution and restarted 17th when the race went green on lap 261.
  • Keselowski continued to struggle with handling issues during the final segment of the race and seesawed back and forth on the lead lap, twice receiving the free pass (on laps 351 and 441) but he couldn't stay there. On lap 473 he spun off Turn 2, bringing out the eighth caution of the race. He quickly recovered and was credited with a 16th-place finish.  

"I got loose on entry and just got into the wall.  It was a tough night for our Miller Lite team but we'll try to rebound at Darlington."  

No. 12 REV Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
: 10th
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 121 (race-high)
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-270)

  • Ryan Blaney qualified the No. 12 REV Ford Fusion in 10th position for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • From the drop of the green flag, Blaney was on the move toward the front. He quickly moved the REV Ford to the lead on lap 17 and held the top spot until a competition caution on lap 62. On his first pit stop, Blaney took four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustment to aid a car that was tight on the bottom and loose on the top.
  • Blaney restarted second on lap 63 and grabbed the lead one lap later. In extremely heavy lap traffic, he held off Kevin Harvick by less than a nose to win Stage 1. His next scheduled pit stop came during the stage caution on lap 129. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the REV crew made larger adjustments including wedge and air pressure to help the REV Ford with turn on corner entry.
  • Blaney wrestled with the handling of his Ford early in Stage 2. He rode inside the top-five until lap 192, when he grabbed the lead from Chase Elliott. Blaney led until a caution came out on lap 199. Under the caution, Blaney received another air pressure adjustment to help with his car firing-off too loose. He scored a fifth-place finish in Stage 2.
  • The driver of the No. 12 REV Ford maintained a spot inside the top-five early in the final stage, but he lacked forward drive. He pitted on lap 355 for more air pressure adjustments. Unfortunately a loose wheel forced Blaney to make a second stop, costing him valuable track position.
  • But Blaney rebounded, working his way his way back through the field. He lined up fifth for the final restart of the race on lap 487 and held on down the stretch for a sixth-place finish. Blaney also officially clinched a spot in the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs with his 12th top-10 of 2018 and best-ever Cup series finish at Bristol.

"We just struggled as the track got colder and rubbered-in. I was really happy with our REV Ford in the first stage, but we just kind of lost it from there. It was a decent comeback for us. We were going to restart sixth and the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) pitted and that kind of hurt us. It was a decent night."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano
:  19th
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 1st – (Third Stage Win of 2018)               
Finish:  4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 95
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-235)


  • Joey Logano started 19th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race 500 Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Logano worked his way into the top-10 following a stellar pit stop under the competition caution at lap 62.
  • At the end of the first stage, Logano reported he needed additional entry security and forward drive off the corners. Crew chief Todd Gordon called for four tires, air pressure and wedge adjustments on the second stop of the evening.
  • Logano won the segment on lap 250 in thrilling fashion over Chase Elliott, edging his rival to the finish line by mere inches. The stage win was Logano's third of the season.
  • The driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion began Stage 3 with the lead and held it until lap 302. Spotter TJ Majors reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford looked to be struggling at the exit of Turn 4. Eight laps later Logano reported that he'd lost all his front turn. Gordon made the call to go back on the majority of the adjustments made on the previous stop.
  • Following the adjustments, Logano ran within the top-five until lap 400 when he reported that once again he lost the front turn on his No. 22 Ford. He continued to struggle with front turn, but adjustments made at lap 432 improved the handling of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. Gordon called Logano to pit road during a caution on lap 472 for another air pressure adjustment, hoping to give the driver some of the fire-off speed back but still maintain the front turn over the final 28 laps.
  • Logano restarted in 10th position on the restart. He utilized the high lane and drove through traffic to claim a fourth-place finish. Logano led 95 laps on the night, and overcame numerous restarts on the inside line to claim his top-five finish.