Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Kansas

October 25, 2021

Track:   Kansas Speedway
Race:    Hollywood Casino 400
Date:    October 24, 2021

No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 3rd
Stage 1: 30th
Stage 2: 27th
Finish: 17th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-113)

  • On a day filled with pitfalls and points robbing sour luck, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Discount Tire team overcame misfortune to keep his NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 playoff hopes alive. Keselowski finished 17th but leaves Kansas Speedway just six points below the fourth-place cutoff position in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings entering next week's event at Martinsville Speedway.  
  • Stage 1 couldn't have gone worse for Keselowski, as the former Champion was running ninth when he brushed against the outside wall on lap 32 and pitted under green six laps later due to a cut tire, dropping him two laps down. Keselowski would go on to finish the stage in the 30th position, after which he would pit for four tires plus damage repair.
  • Keselowski didn't make up significant ground during Stage 2, but the balance on the Discount Tire Ford Mustang greatly improved thanks to the overcast weather conditions and adjustments by crew chief Jeremy Bullins. He was credited with a 27th-place finish when the segment ended on lap 160. Bullins and Keselowski made the call to pass on the opportunity to pit during the stage caution and take the wave around. Keselowski restarted 22nd one lap down on lap 167.  
  • The third and final stage was anything but boring for the Discount Tire team. Keselowski twice worked his way into the free pass position as the first car one lap down, but a timely yellow flag never waved. On a positive note, the Discount Tire Ford received damage from contact with a lapped car to begin the stage, but the team was able to quickly make repairs and continue. As the race entered its closing laps, Keselowski was once again in the free pass position, but the race remained green until the end, leaving the driver of the Discount Tire Ford with a 17th-place finish. 

Quote: "That was a heck of a race. We are all just fighting too hard. I am bummed I didn't get more out of it. I had a heck of an opportunity to score a lot of points and make next week easy. We still aren't in a bad spot but not as good as spot as we could be. The Discount Tire Ford was really good in the cooler air and the sun came out and it affected our pace. We got damage and we still had decent speed when the sun was behind the clouds, but we couldn't get it to stay there."

No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 2nd
Stage 1: 27th
Stage 2: 13th
Finish: 37th
Status: Accident 
Laps Completed: 224/267
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-108)

  • Ryan Blaney started second and finished 37th after a late-race incident in the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang on Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. Blaney ran inside the top-10 for a majority of the race while battling a loose handling race car and was on his way to another solid points day when the aforementioned disaster struck.
  • Blaney ran inside the top-five for the first 72 laps of the opening stage before cutting a right rear tire and having to pit, dropping the Menards Ford one lap down before the stage ending caution. The team elected to pit for four tires and take the wave around to begin the second stage.
  • For the first run of the second stage, Blaney battled dirty air while trying to recover from the flat tire. The team pitted at lap 123 on the green flag cycle for four tires an air pressure adjustment and added a significant amount of grill tape with the cooler temperatures. Blaney finished the stage in the 13th position, then pitted for a wedge adjustment to the left and right side of the Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang.
  • In the final stage, Blaney started making forward progress with the adjustments consistently improving the handling of the No. 12 Mustang. On lap 220, Blaney would hit pit road for potentially the final stop of the race, getting an air pressure adjustment to continue working on the loose condition.
  • Unfortunately, Blaney was collected in a lap 224 collision with another competitor, sending the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Mustang into the wall and out of the race. Blaney was credited with a 37th-place finish, a disappointing result after a promising top-10 run.

Quote:  "Yeah, we got run into from two lanes below me. I have no idea. Obviously it hurts. Finishing 37th is not prime. We didn't have a great day but we did a good job of fighting back and getting back into the top-10 but then just got wiped out when we had plenty of room. That sucks. It is very unfortunate."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 8th
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 11th
Finish:  9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 22
Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-133)

  • Joey Logano had another solid run at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon, but a ninth-place finish behind the wheel of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang wasn't enough to vault him up in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.  He enters next week's race at Martinsville Speedway having to make up over 20 points to try and make the Championship 4.
  • In the opening stage, Logano battled an extremely loose Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, reporting that he was too free to run the wall where the race leaders were making quicker lap times. Logano finished the opening stage in the 11th position, with the team preparing to make wholesale changes to the No. 22 Ford Mustang to help the loose handling in the windy conditions.
  • In the second stage, the Shell-Pennzoil crew elected to run long on the green flag cycle, leading the race for 22 laps prior to pitting under green at lap 146. Logano was able top rejoin the field and stay on the lead lap, finishing Stage 2 in the 11th position.
  • Logano began racing inside the top-10 in the final stage as the temperatures fell and the adjustments made by the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil crew continued to improve the handling of the car. All the teams would hit pit road at lap 220, allowing them to run the distance to the completion of the race.
  • Logano battled on until the conclusion of the race with the adjustments on the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang aiding the handling and allowing the driver to remain inside the top-10.

Quote:  "Yeah, we made decent restarts and our pit crew was good today and got us some spots. We were able to get the restarts and get up to the top four or so and then from lap two to 10 I just couldn't stay with them. I went to the bottom they would pass me on the top, if I went to the top they would pass me on the bottom. I just couldn't hold them off. From lap 10 on, we were as good as the top three or four cars, we just had last the track position at that point. We were too far back to be able to do much and try to strategize ourselves to the lead somehow. We tried the long run there in the first stage. We just didn't really get the opportunity to do much. On to Martinsville. One more shot to do it. It is crazy watching this thing. They are trying to give it away it seems like. I have never seen so many issues in this round. Yeah, it seems like survival was the key in this round so far."