Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Pocono

June 2, 2019

Track:                Pocono Raceway
Race:                 Pocono 400 
Date:                 June 2, 2019
No. 2 Wabash National Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 5th
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 4th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 4
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-59)
  • Brad Keselowski scored a second-place finish in the Pocono 400 Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Wabash National Ford Mustang grabbed his sixth top-five finish of the 2019 season. Keselowski claimed his 10th top-10 in 19-career Pocono starts, racking up seven top-five finishes in the last eight races at the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania speedway. He also moved up one position in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings to fourth, 59 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
  • Keselowski started fifth in the 160-lap, 400-mile event and discovered early in the race that passing was going to be a challenge. He was running seventh at the time of the competition caution on lap 20. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called for right-side tires when Keselowski pitted on lap 22 and restarted second on lap 24. He held his own during the remainder of Stage 1 and collected a third-place finish when the segment ended on lap 50. Keselowski stayed out during the stage caution while the other leaders pitted and restarted in the lead on lap 55.
  • Keselowski was running in second position when the fourth caution on lap 58 gave him a chance to pit. He made a four-tire stop under the yellow and rejoined the field in 23rd position. Three cautions slowed the pace in the second stage. Keselowski steered clear of the incidents and picked off positions on each restart to climb his way through the field. As Stage 2 drew to a close, several of the leaders chose to pit. Keselowski stayed on the track and finished fourth when the stage ended on lap 100. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 102 for four tires and restarted 13th when the race went green on lap 105.
  • Keselowski had just climbed into the top-10 when he made a green flag pit stops on lap 119 for right-side tires. When the cycle of stops was complete among the leaders, Keselowski was up to fourth-place. He was running there when the eighth and final caution slowed the pace on lap 148. The race went green on lap 151 and Keselowski passed two of his rivals to move up to second-place behind leader Kyle Busch. By the time the duo had cleared traffic, Busch had pulled away from Keselowski. Try as he might, the driver of the No. 2 Wabash National Ford couldn't find a way around his rival, crossing the finish line two seconds behind Busch.  
Quotes: "I think we had a pretty good Wabash Ford. I am proud of the team effort to make a lot of stage points and get a solid finish out of the day. It was a good all-around effort, just not the playoff bonus points and win and all of that that we were looking for but I'm still very proud of everyone on the Wabash team. He (Busch) was strong. Not only was he one of the fastest cars but if you were a 20th-place car and got into the lead today you were going to drive away. It's just the way the rules were."  
No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 17th
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 24th
Finish: 12th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-162)
  • A quiet day for Ryan Blaney resulted in a 12th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the Menards/Libman Ford Mustang battled back late in the 160-lap, 400-mile race at the "Tricky Triangle" and remains ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.
  • Blaney started 17th and struggled early, falling outside the top-25. As the laps ticked off he began picking off positions one by one and reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins the balance of the No. 12 Mustang was tight, especially in Turn 3. Blaney pitted during the competition caution on lap 20 for right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment.
  • Once racing resumed on lap 24, Blaney reported no change in the handling of his Ford Mustang with the two tires. Several leaders chose to pit before the end of Stage 1 and Blaney benefitted, steadily moving up through the running order. He scored a sixth-place finish when the first segment of the race concluded on lap 50.
  • Under the stage caution, Bullins called for four tires and multiple adjustments to the Menards/Libman Ford including wedge, air pressure and a piece of tape on the nose. Racing resumed on lap 55, but the pace slowed once again on lap 58, thanks to the fourth caution. Blaney pitted for a splash of fuel and stayed on the track during the next yellow on lap 62. In a race that proved to be challenging to pass and with Blaney outside the top-10, the Menards crew called the High Point, N.C. native to pit road on lap 94 for four tires and fuel along with an air pressure adjustment – six laps from the conclusion of the segment. Blaney returned to the track and collected a 24th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 100. He didn't pit during the stage caution and restarted ninth on lap 105.
  • A chaotic restart shuffled Blaney back to 17th when the race went green. The driver of the Menards/Libman Ford slowly began to pick off positions, moving up to 15th by lap 115. Blaney reported his car's balance switched from the tight to loose side. He would make his penultimate pit stop on 120, where the team changed right-side tires and made a wedge adjustment. The final caution of the race flew on lap 148 and Blaney made his final pit stop of the day for right-side tires. He restarted 14th with nine laps to go and gain two positions over the final miles, claiming a 12th-place finish at the checkered flag.
Quote: "I thought we had a pretty good Menards/Libman Ford today. Passing was difficult so track position basically meant everything. Several of the restarts I was stuck on the bottom lane that made it difficult to get going. We'll now focus on Michigan next week and we'll try to bring home a strong run."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start:  16th
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 2nd                          
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 160/160
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind first): 2nd (-4)
  • Joey Logano started 16th in Sunday afternoon's Pocono 400 in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang at Pocono Raceway. Logano moved inside the top-10 by lap 3, reporting that his Ford Mustang was hampered by dirty air when he was behind other cars.
  • During the competition caution on lap 20, Logano pitted from the 10th position for a two-tire stop with an air pressure adjustment to work on the tight handling condition he was battling. At lap 30 when the race was slowed by its second caution, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was looser overall during the run but he still maintained the fifth position.
  • Logano finished eighth when Stage 1 ended on lap 50. The Shell-Pennzoil team made an air pressure adjustment to help Logano on corner exit when he pitted during the stage caution. He gained two spots on pit road but restarted 14th thanks to a variety of pit strategies among the leaders. Logano continued to battle a slightly tight Ford Mustang in Stage 2, but still ran inside the top-10.  While other leaders began to pit, Logano stretched his fuel mileage to the end of the segment and was rewarded with a second-place finish at the end of Stage 2.
  • As the third and final stage began, Logano reported that his No. 22 Ford Mustang was as tight as it had been all day while running in the 10th position. When Logano pitted, the team made air pressure and track bar adjustments to improve the handling. The changes yielded mix results: Logano reported that the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was freer, but still fighting tight on corner exit.
  • With 12 laps to go, the eighth and final caution flag was displayed, bringing Logano to pit road for two right-side tires and tape on the nose. The race went green with nine laps to go and Logano used the adjustments to power to the seventh position on the restart. Try as he might, Logano could get no closer to the front and was credited with the seventh-place finish.
Quote: "It was brutal to pass, really hard in dirty air. It was all about strategy and restarts and you saw some chaotic restarts. The last restart was insane. I was in the middle of it and we were four or five-wide down into one and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be. You hope it all sorts out and somehow it did. That is where the race is at, trying to get a good restart and then figure out a way to get ahead of everyone on strategy."