Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Race Report - Talladega

April 29, 2019

Track:         Talladega Superspeedway
Race:          GEICO 500
Date:          April 28, 2019

No. 2 Snap-on Tools Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start: 4th
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 14th
Finish: 13th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 188/188
Laps Led: 10
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-93)


  • A miscue entering the pits late in the GEICO 500 cost Brad Keselowski a good finish Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. Keselowski, who was running in the second position at the time, spun sideways while entering his pit stall under green on lap 155 of the 188-lap race. The driver of the Snap-on Tools Ford Mustang used a late-race caution and five-lap dash to the finish to his advantage, claiming a 13th-place finish. He remains fifth in the MENCS driver standings, 93 points behind the leader. 
  • Keselowski kicked off his weekend by grabbing the fourth-place starting position on Saturday afternoon at Talladega. He wasted no time going to the front, grabbing the lead on the first lap of the race and leading the first seven laps. For much of Stage 1, Keselowski ran in second-place at the front of the field. Keselowski made a scheduled green flag stop for fuel only on lap 47 which dropped him back to 22nd position when the segment ended on lap 55. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 57 for four tires and restarted 10th when the race went green on lap 60. 
  • The driver of the Snap-on Tools Ford wasted little time getting back to the front. He grabbed the lead on lap 68 and was running second when he made a scheduled stop under green for fuel only on lap 91. But as Stage 2 drew to a close, Keselowski found himself outside the top-10 and finished 14th when the segment concluded on lap 110. He pitted for four tires during the stage caution on lap 113 and restarted 10th when the final stage began on lap 116. 
  • Keselowski stayed in the top-10 for 32 of the next 35 laps. During the fourth caution, he pitted for right-side tires on lap 133 and restarted fourth on lap 136. Keselowski briefly fell outside the top-10 but jumped from 22nd to sixth on lap 140.
  • He was running second behind teammate Joey Logano when he pitted under green on lap 155. Keselowski spun entering his pit stall, but quick thinking the No. 2 crew allowed them to make the scheduled stop for right-side tires remarkably fast, given circumstances. He was running 24th when the fifth caution on lap 183 gave him an opportunity to gain badly needed track position. He pitted for four tires and adjustments and restarted 22nd when the race went green on lap 184. Keselowski used the final restart and dash to the finish to his advantage, moving up to 13th when the race concluded on lap 188. 

"Erik Jones and I had an awesome run going on the top with three laps to go but it didn't work out. Major props to the 2 crew for adapting and overcoming when I slid into our pit stall."   


No. 12 Menards / Knauf Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start: 7th
Stage 1: 23rd
Stage 2: 4th
Finish: 15th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 188/188
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-124)


  • Ryan Blaney's up and down day in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway ended with a 15th-place finish on Sunday afternoon. The driver of the No. 12 Menards / Knauf Ford Mustang overcame a pit road speeding penalty during the first caution to be in contention late in the race, but a lack of drafting help at end ultimately cost him a shot at the victory.
  • Blaney rolled off from the seventh on the starting grid when the green flag dropped on Sunday afternoon. Within the first 10 laps of the 188-lap event, Blaney had moved into the runner-up position. Working with Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, Blaney eventually got himself to the lead on lap nine. He narrowly avoided disaster when a bump draft from Bubba Wallace went badly. The driver of the Menards / Knauf Ford was sideways and the entrance to Turn 1 on lap 12, but he kept control as a multi-car incident unfolded behind him.
  • The first round of pit stops came under caution on lap 14. The team opted for a fuel-only pit stop, but unfortunately Blaney was caught speeding on the exit of pit road. He subsequently returned to pit road a lap later to serve the penalty and crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted to change four tires. When racing resumed on lap 16 Blaney wasted no time driving back through the field getting himself back in the top 10 by lap 40. He pitted on lap 47 along with teammates   Keselowski, Logano for a fuel-only pit stop. Blaney finished 23rd when Stage 1 concluded on lap 55 and pitted during the stage caution for tires and fuel.
  • Blaney stayed up front throughout Stage 2 and took the lead from Logano on lap 74. The driver of the No. 12 Ford Mustang made another fuel-only pit stop under green on lap 91. He cycled his way back inside the top-five and scored a fourth-place finish when the segment ended on lap 110. Blaney pitted during the stage caution on lap 113 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
  • Blaney continued jockey for positon at the front of the field during Stage 3 thanks to drafting help from his Penske teammates. The final round of pit service came on lap 153 where the Menards / Knauf crew took right-side tires and fuel.
  • He made another masterful save in Turn 3 on lap 176 after a tremendous push from Martin Truex Jr. but dropped Blaney to back of the lead pack. But the determined young driver made one final charge to the front, thanks to drafting help from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Unfortunately what ground he gained was soon lost thanks to the seesaw effect of the racing in the lead pack. Blaney narrowly avoid two late-race incidents in the final six laps to score a 15th-place finish. He remains ninth in the MENCS driver standings.

"It was a tough race today for the Menards / Knauf team. The new package allowed us to make moves, but unfortunately we got shuffled out late and didn't have time to get back to the front."


No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Joey Logano

Start:  8th
Stage 1: 25th
Stage 2: 9th                                
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 188/188
Laps Led: 37
Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-15)


  • Joey Logano started eighth in Sunday's 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang. Logano battled with teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney at the front of the pack in the early laps of the race before taking the lead for the first time on lap 8 just before the first caution on lap 12. Under the yellow, crew chief Todd Gordon made the call for fuel-only with Logano immediately going to full-save under caution.
  • On lap 48, Logano and a host of Ford Performance teammates pitted for fuel to make it to the end of Stage 1 on lap 55. Gordon also called for a wedge adjustment, looking to give Logano security on corner entry and exit. Logano was credited with 25th position when the segment concluded.
  • Through the opening laps of the second stage, Logano hovered around the top-five. Despite occasionally being shuffled out of line, Logano flexed the muscle in the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang by driving back to the front. When the team pitted to split the stage, Gordon opted for two right-side tires and fuel. Logano reported that he was bouncing off the splitter some, and that he needed to fix snappy loose condition. He finished ninth when Stage 2 concluded on lap 110. Logano made a four-tire stop during the stage caution plus a small air pressure adjustment to help with additional stability. The stage break set the field up to be within one more pit stop of making it the rest of the distance. During the opening portion of the third stage, Logano reported the MoneyLion Mustang was now freer than it had been the entire race.
  • On lap 133, the driver of the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford pitted for two tires and fuel. The team made additional air pressure changes, looking to tighten up the No. 22 Mustang. Logano continued to charge forward, working with his Team Penske teammates to grab the lead prior to green flag pit stops began. He was able to cycle back to second.
  • Logano grabbed the lead on lap 167 and once out front, he masterfully worked multiple lanes, using guidance from spotter TJ Majors. A caution (and subsequent red flag for track cleanup) halted the race with six laps to go. During the delay, Logano, Majors and Gordon began discussing multiple things they'd observed from the other competitors throughout the long green flag run.
  • In the dash to the to the checkered flag, Logano briefly led before being squeezed out of line but was able to wrestle away fourth position from Daniel Hemric and Kurt Busch at the finish.

"At the end, Kurt Busch had a big run and I felt like I had to block that. When I blocked that, Chase Elliott got underneath me. If I chose the bottom and block Elliott, I had Alex Bowman there and they were going to go by me as soon as they formed a run. I was not in a very good spot. Once I got on the outside I thought that would be a better spot to be than the bottom but the teammates there didn't race each other to the end, which is good on their part because it made sure one of their cars won. If they had gotten side by side I think I could have made something happen but they were selfless toward each other. I really think even if it was green all the way to the end it would have looked exactly the same. There were no runs build and no momentum going. It is a tough spot to be in. You think you are in a good spot and anytime you can take the front row on a final restart you will take it, especially at Talladega. It's tough when the numbers are stacked against you a little bit. The team did a good job and our MoneyLion Mustang was really fast."