Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Phoenix

March 10, 2019

Track:                ISM Raceway 
Race:                 TicketGuardian 500
Date:                 March 10, 2019


No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start: 5th
Stage 1: 31st
Stage 2: 32nd
Finish: 19th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 311/312
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-44)


  • Brad Keselowski's rollercoaster of day in the TicketGuardian 500 ended with a 19th-place finish Sunday afternoon at ISM Raceway. The driver of the Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang is eighth in the MENCS driver standings, 44 points behind the leader.
  • Keselowski started fifth and ran solidly among the top-10 in the early laps of the 312-lap race. He was running ninth on lap 40 when he said the No. 2 Mustang wasn't turning in the corners and that his car acted like it had a flat tire. On lap 65, his words proved prophetic when the right-front tire went down in Turn 1, damaging the right-front sway bar mount and bringing out the second caution of the race. Keselowski pitted on lap 66 for repairs and was credited with a 31st-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 75. During the stage caution on lap 80, the No. 2 crew replaced the broken sway bar mount but lost a lap making the repairs.
  • Keselowski was unable to make up any of the lost distance in Stage 2. When the segment concluded on lap 150, he was credited with a 32nd-place finish, two laps behind the leaders. 
  • But the driver of the Alliance Truck Parts Ford rallied back onto the lead lap in Stage 3.  Keselowski took the wave around following the sixth caution on lap 195. A well-timed yellow flag on lap 220 gave him the chance to pit for four tires and adjustments. The race went green on lap 225 and two laps later Keselowski rejoined the lead lap when he missed the spinning car of Ryan Preece and received the free pass. Unfortunately, Keselowski did scrape the left-side of his Ford Mustang against the inside wall on the backstretch while avoiding Preece. He restarted 23rd on the lead lap when the race went green on lap 232. He made one more stop on lap 235 for four tires and repairs to the left-rear of the No. 2 Ford Mustang. Keselowski again restarted 23rd when the race went green on 238.
  • Over the final 74-lap run to the finish, Keselowski gained a handful of positions, but dropped a lap down with just eight laps remaining. He was credited with a 19th-place finish in the final rundown.   


"It was a tough day. I thought something was wrong on that restart because the car wouldn't turn. I should have pitted right away but we were trying to make it to the end of Stage 1. I'm really proud of all the guys on the Alliance Truck Parts team because they worked hard all day. We'll rebound next week in Fontana."

No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start: 1st
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 11th
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 94
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 12th (-64)


  • Ryan Blaney capped-off a strong weekend at ISM Raceway with a third-place finish in Sunday's TicketGuardian 500. Sporting the MoneyLion colors for the first time in the Cup Series, the High Point, N.C. native led a career-high 94 laps and claimed his best finish of the 2019 season.
  • Blaney led the field to the green flag on Sunday afternoon after collecting his sixth career Cup Series pole and second at ISM Raceway. He led the opening 35 laps before relinquishing the lead to Kyle Busch on lap 36. Blaney reported to the MoneyLion crew that the balance of his Ford Mustang was a little loose on entry in Turn 3 and tight in Turns 1 and 2.
  • During the first caution on lap 39, Blaney's team made a four-tire change plus an air pressure adjustment. He ran inside the top-five until the second caution came out shortly after on lap 65. The No. 12 team chose to stay out under the yellow flag while the majority of field came to pit road. He restarted in the lead when the race went green on lap 70 and five laps later held off Aric Almirola to collect his second stage win of the 2019 season.
  • During the caution following Stage 1, the MoneyLion crew made a track bar and air pressure adjustment to compensate for having to race in dirty air. Blaney restarted 16th but 10 laps later was back inside the top-10.
  • Racing in traffic proved to be a challenge for Blaney. His No. 12 Ford Mustang was very tight on entry and loose on corner exit. He lost two positions late in the segment and was credited with an 11th-place finish. Blaney pitted under caution on lap 153, taking four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment – all in an effort to loosen up the handling of his Ford Mustang.
  • Blaney continued his rally back to the front as the race entered the final stage. The adjustments brought his car back to life. His next visit to pit road came on lap 196 for four tires and continued fine-tuning the car with air pressure adjustments. Unfortunately Blaney had to make an extra pit stop a lap later for loose left-side lug nuts. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford Mustang restarted inside the top-20, but quickly made his way back into the top-10.
  • Blaney made his final stop on lap 222 during the seventh caution of the afternoon. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted for a two-tire pit stop in an effort to gain back track positon. Blaney restarted third and grabbed the lead away from Almirola again on lap 252.
  • As the laps ticked off, Blaney was racing both a fast-closing Kyle Busch and the challenge of having enough fuel to make it to the finish. Blaney did his best to manage the gap Busch, but unfortunately, Busch passed Blaney for the lead on lap 296. After losing the lead, Blaney went into full-fuel conservation mode. Martin Truex Jr. slipped by for second-place in the closing laps while Blaney coasted across the finish line in third position, his best his finish at ISM Raceway in six prior starts. 


"We were on two tires and I just held on. When it got to 30 or 25 to go, I got tight and I couldn't hit Turns 3 and 4 anymore. Then I ran up on lap traffic and it absolutely killed me. We were close on gas, so once I got passed I was in full fuel save mode. It was a good call to take two tires.  I don't think we would have got up to third on four tires because it was hard to pass.  I'm proud of this MoneyLion team. That's where we've been running all year, it just hasn't been where we've been finishing." 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano

Start: 12th                           
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 8th
Finish: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-6)


  • Joey Logano started 12th in Sunday‘s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway. The driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang initially reported he was battling a loose-handling car, except when he was tucked up tight to the car in front of him, when the handling would swing tight. At lap 13, Logano said the handling was coming to him, and he had really good turn around the speedway.
  • During the second run of the afternoon, Logano climbed the leaderboard, reaching the top-five when the second caution of the race was displayed on lap 65. Under the caution, Logano said his balance was better than the first run, especially with turn-in and drive-off. As the race neared the conclusion of Stage 1, crew chief Todd Gordon electing to leave Logano on the track to battle for the stage win. The driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang would ultimately finish third when the segment ended on lap 75.  
  • After restarting 15th to begin the second stage, Logano rallied forward, reaching the eighth position before the caution flag on lap 149 was displayed, bringing a premature end to the green flag racing to end the stage, which was to conclude on lap 150. Under caution, he told the team his car was really good in clean air, but fought being tight and keeping the front tires working in traffic on the long run. Gordon again called for an air pressure adjustment to continue working on the overall drivability in the No. 22 Ford Mustang.
  • During the opening laps of Stage 3, Logano would rallied back inside the top-five, using the low lane on two restarts to move up to fifth position. Unfortunately, a slow pit stop and a mix of pit strategies by his fellow competitors would drop Logano outside the top-15 for the first time.
  • The race would be concluded by a 74-lap green flag run to the finish. Logano steadily worked his way through traffic, methodically picking off positions. He ultimately brought the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang home in the 10th position, his third top-10 result in four races this season. 


"It was really hard to pass. You would start to catch a car and just stop. That big spoiler on the back just makes it really challenging to get to the car in front of you and make something happen, so restarts became everything.  If you can get through the first couple laps, you were fine.  It's just very challenging behind a car to keep up to speed. You're better off just getting there and riding and hopefully that car ahead of you falls off enough to where you can maybe get close enough to make a move or wait until there's a lapped car and try to make a pass."