NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Richmond Raceway

September 23, 2018

Track:               Richmond Raceway  

Race:                 Federated Auto Parts 400   
Date:                 September 22, 2018

No. 2 Reese/DrawTite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 7th
Stage 1: 3rd   
Stage 2: 5th
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 67
Playoff Standings (behind first): 4th (-30)


  • Brad Keselowski entered Saturday night's 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway as the hottest driver in the series with three-consecutive wins to vault him and the No. 2 Reese/DrawTite team into serious title consideration.
  • After pacing the final practice session on Friday afternoon, Keselowski qualified his Ford in the seventh position, his best start at the .75-mile oval since the spring of 2016.
  • Over the course of the first, 100-lap stage, Keselowski flexed the muscle of his No. 2 machine, racing all the way up to the third position before the end of the stage, which ran completely under the green flag. The strength of his run was the forward drive he enjoyed off the Richmond Raceway corners.
  • Following a pit stop for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, Keselowski began the second, 100-lap stage from the eighth position. Despite radioing to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he had lost some of his forward drive, while gaining additional turn in the center, Keselowski was able to maneuver his way to the fifth position before the end of the stage.
  • After a second pit stop of tires, fuel and adjustments, Keselowski set sail from the fourth position for the final, 200-lap stage. He quickly moved into the lead for the first time at lap 215, but he still lacked the forward drive of earlier in the race.
  • With just under 100 laps to go, Keselowski and the No. 18 of Kyle Busch – the eventual race winner – engaged in one of their typical, hard-nosed battles as the two champions raced side-by-side for several laps. Unfortunately, Keselowski used his rear tires too much in the fight and dropped back to the ninth position at the end of the race.
  • Thanks to his win in the opening race of the NASCAR Playoffs, Keselowski is locked into the second round of the playoffs with one race remaining in the first round at the new Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Quote: "We had a lot of short run speed with the DrawTite Ford tonight and I knew that was our chance to win the race there. We ran it pretty hard and it didn't quite work out. We didn't quite catch the breaks we needed there. Burned off the rear tires. We ran well but we still have some things to work on."

No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney

Start: 4th
Stage 1: 23rd
Stage 2: 18th
Finish: 19th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 398/400
Laps Led: 0
Playoff Standings (behind first): 12th (-81)


  • Ryan Blaney qualified the No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Fusion in the fourth position at Richmond Raceway on Friday afternoon. This was the first time the Cup Series visited Richmond in the NASCAR Playoffs, as it had traditionally been the cut-off race to determine the playoff field.
  • Blaney settled into an early pace as he tried to the save the tires on his Menards/Richmond Ford. He reported to his crew on lap 27 that he was loose on entry and lacking forward drive. As the handling issues continued to mount, Blaney fell back to just inside the top-20, but remained on the lead lap when the checkered flag waived on stage 1. He would cross the line in the 23rd position.
  • Crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for major adjustments which included track bar, air pressure and a piece of tape on the nose to get the handling more to the 24 year-old drivers liking on the team's first round of service on lap 105.
  • Blaney was pleased with the handling when stage 2 began, but the car went back to the loose side during the mid-portion of the run. In an effort to stay on the lead lap, Blaney short-pitted on lap 156.
  • The race leaders ran the full 95-lap stage without pitting and Blaney passed then-leader Martin Truex Jr. with two laps left to remain on the lead lap. He would finish stage 2 in the 18th position.
  • Blaney came to pit road on lap 204 for service where the Menards/Richmond crew made additional air pressure adjustments for the loose condition. The adjustments made during the first two runs unfortunately didn't help as Blaney reported his car was loose like the first stage.
  • He made his final stop on lap 319, but was bit by a caution on lap 327. Blaney was forced to take the waive-around and ran the final 67 laps on the same set of tires.
  • When the checkered flag dropped, Blaney crossed the line in the 19th position. He's 12th in the Cup playoff standings with one race remaining in round 1 at the new Charlotte Roval

Quote: "It was a long night for our team. We just couldn't seem to find what we needed to be better at Richmond. We'll focus on Charlotte and trying to make it to two round."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start:  12th
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 10th                   
Finish: 14th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 399/400
Laps Led: 0
Playoff Standings (behind first): 5th (-60)    


  • Joey Logano started 12th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway. Logano entered the event with an average finish of 4.4 dating back to the spring event in 2014 at the three quarter mile Virginia short track. Through the opening stage, Logano maintained a top-10 position while battling a free in, tight center and loose off condition. Logano finished the first stage in the 10th position.
  • During the second stage, Logano continued to need more center turn and entry and exit security, leading crew chief Todd Gordon to bring the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford to pit road at lap 155 for a four tire stop with an air pressure adjustment.
  • Logano was able to utilize the adjustments and fresh tires from the second stop of the night to move forward, reaching the 10th position again before the conclusion of the second stage. Under the caution, Logano reported the team had made improvements on the center turn, and that he'd been able to push the car harder on that 45 lap run than he had the previous two. Under the caution, the team again elected to make air pressure adjustments to continue battling forward.
  • During the fourth run of the event, Logano reported he was still battling a loose entry and exit condition and was too tight to turn the center of the corner. The team elected to make a wedge adjustment in the right rear, hoping to give Logano the handling he needed. Unfortunately, on the fourth stop of the night, the team was assessed an uncontrolled tire penalty, resulting in a costly pass through on pit road.
  • Making only incremental gains with air pressure adjustments, on the fourth and fifth pit stops of the event, the team elected to make wedge adjustments in both sides of the car. On lap 355, Logano reported that the changes were in the right direction and he finally had both entry and exit security, while being able to rotate the center of the turns.
  • Logano would battle through the remainder of the race, but fall short of regaining the lead lap due to the lack of caution flags in the event.

Quote: "We just were a little bit too loose most of the race and then we had a mistake on pit road that cost us probably six or seven spots. That is just the things that you can't have during the playoffs but we will work through them. We are still in an okay spot. We are not in a good enough spot to not be concerned about next week totally but it does put us in a decent position."