Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Recap - Duels

February 18, 2022

Track:  Daytona International Speedway
Race:   Bluegreen Vacation Duels
Date:   February 17, 2022

No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Race Stats (Duel #1): 
Start: 11th
Finish: 2nd
Laps Led: 0 

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric started 11th and finished runner-up in Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday night. Cindric moved his way to the front early in the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. The rookie was seventh by lap 13 and sixth at the halfway of the 60-lap race. Efficient pit work by the Ford Performance drivers gave them an advantage after pit stops on lap 36, putting them well out front of the field. Cindric would mix it up with Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney and fellow Ford Performance teammates Brad Keselowski and Chase Briscoe near the end. Some nifty moves by Cindric on the final lap would give the Cup Series rookie a second-place finish. Cindric will start his second Daytona 500 from the fifth starting position. 
Cindric's Thoughts: "It was certainly a lot learned, I mean learning how the runs are generated.  In some respect, having that single file line is actually really good to learn – small details and an easier to follow quantity, so for me I thought it was somewhat useful.  I do think we'll end up single file at some point in the race as we usually do in the 500.  I am a bit frustrated with myself.  I guess I can use the excuse of never having a teammate on a speedway, but two versus two I think we should have had a Penske winning that Duel.  I talked it out with Ryan, understanding what I did wrong there.  I had instant regret when I generated the run at the wrong time, but, overall, I'd rather screw that up today than on Sunday, so definitely some good notes to look over.  I think the second Duel will be good to watch as well and learn from and I think we've got a fast Ford Mustang.  I was never really afraid of losing the pack.  Obviously, we did a great job as a group of Fords with only four of us organizing the pit road stops and executing that.  We had a fuel scare throughout the race that were unexpected that I think we can clean up on our part, but, overall, a good place to start for the 500.”

No. 12 Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Race Stats (Duel #2): 
Start: 7th
Finish: 3rd
Laps Led: 22

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney started seventh and finished third in the first of two Bluegreen Vacation Duel races on Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Daytona 500. Blaney hit pit road at lap 36 with the No. 12 Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK Ford Mustang with the other Ford Performance cars, giving them a significant advantage over the rest of the field. The four Fords, led by Blaney, leap frogged the leaders and checked out to over a four second lead. Blaney spent 22 laps in the front, before ultimately finishing third after being passed by teammate Austin Cindric at the end.  He will start seventh in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.  

Blaney's Thoughts: "I thought we learned a lot.  I learned a little bit there the first half of the race and kind of had a little bit bigger pack and kind of how your car handled.  The whole race got split up there after green flag stops and we kind of had our own little battle.  Brad surprised me where he made his move.  It was early and I was like, ‘Maybe I'll get back to second here and I'll do the same to Brad,' and just could never get the right run.  But I think we learned a good bit without tearing up your race car, so that's good.  We've got some things to work on for Sunday and we'll see what happens.”

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Race Stats (Duel #2): 
Start: 6th
Finish: 9th
Laps Led: 33
Race Rundown: Joey Logano started sixth and led 33 laps before a last-lap incident resulted in a ninth-place finish and forced the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team to a backup car for Sunday's Daytona 500. Logano and Wood Brothers Racing driver Harrison Burton worked together early in the event, building runs and positioning themselves at the head of the field after green flag pit stops. From there, Logano led the field lap-after-lap until the final lap when he made contact with the No. 17 Ford and ended up in the outside wall and relegated to the ninth finishing position.

Logano's Thoughts: "Driver screwed up.  That's really all there is to it.  I thought I was still clear and the run came a lot quicker than I thought it would.  I tried to block it a little bit and just got a tag in the left-rear and off it went.  It's my fault.  It stinks because it tore up our car and kind of puts us in a spot as a race team.  It's just a dumb mistake.”