Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Recap - Kansas

September 11, 2022

Track:  Kansas Speedway
Race:   Hollywood Casino 400
Date:   September 11, 2022

No. 2 Snap-on Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Start: 8th
Race Finish: 12th
Stage 1 Finish: 15th
Stage 2 Finish: 11th
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 12th (-56)
Race Rundown: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Snap-on team registered a 12th-place finish in Sunday afternoon's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Cindric set sail from the eighth position and hovered around that spot before slotting in 15th as the flags waved to indicate the conclusion of Stage 1. Cindric restarted 15th for the onset of Stage 2 and found himself in a tight three-wide battle on lap 128 with Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson for sixth, as all three cars made brief contact, but were able to keep going. The 24-year-old NASCAR Cup Series rookie narrowly missed the top-10 at the end of Stage 2, slotting in 11th on the leaderboard. The red and black Snap-on Ford Mustang restarted 10th in the lineup as the final stage got underway and the intensity picked up. Cindric made his final trip to pit road for service on lap 217 to put up a charge to the checkers. Ultimately, the Team Penske driver finished 12th. He heads to Bristol 12th in the playoff standings as he looks to etch his place in the Round of 12.
Cindric's Thoughts:
 "I felt like we made the car better all day and we just got hosed at one point on a restart, the final restart there. We lost all the spots that I had gained and we never got those back. I just drove the car too hard trying to make it up and got too loose by the end of the race. Overall, like I said, we didn't beat ourselves. We check that box the last two weeks. Bristol will be a big unknown and big challenge. We can't take points for granted. I feel like we gave a few away today."

No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 17th
Race Finish: 9th
Stage 1 Finish: 2nd
Stage 2 Finish: 9th
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings: 5th (-22)
Race Rundown: 
Ryan Blaney and the No 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang finished ninth on Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. After starting in the 17th position, Blaney wasted little time moving to the front and cracked the top-10 just prior to the competition caution on lap 25. On the ensuring restart, Blaney powered to the front and was battling for the lead by lap 49, taking the top spot on lap 65. He would finish Stage 1 in the second position, but had to come to the pits twice during the stage break for a loose wheel.  That would cost him all of his track position and he would restart Stage 2 in the 32nd position. Blaney would slowly and methodically work his way back to the top-10 throughout the second stage, running as high as sixth before finishing ninth in the stage. The Menards/Richmond Mustang was a handful for the rest of the race, with handling characteristics swinging from very loose to very tight lap to lap. A long green-flag run would see pit stops that allowed Crew Chief Jonathan Hassler to make several changes to Blaney's Ford.  As the race wound down, he would get to ninth but stall out there, grabbing another top-10 finish and jumping to fifth in the points. 
Blaney's Thoughts: "We were okay. We drove up through the field pretty decent there starting off and finished second in the first stage. I was proud of the progress we made. I had to come down pit road there after the first stage and had to kind of reset in the back. From there we just weren't quite good enough to get back up into the top-five. I was chasing it and adjusting the car after that. Overall, not a bad day. It was a good points day and we are looking pretty decent going into Bristol. We will have to just go there and have a good day."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano

Start: 2nd
Race Finish: 17th
Stage 1 Finish: 9th
Stage 2 Finish: 8th
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings: 4th (-18)
Race Rundown: Joey Logano struggled at the end of Sunday afternoon's race at Kansas Speedway and finished 17th behind the wheel of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang. On the initial start of the race, Logano grabbed the top spot and led the first couple of laps before slipping back to third. The No. 22 was very tight and he could manage no more than a 10th-place finish at the end of the first stage. Crew Chief Paul Wolfe made several adjustments and got the Shell-Pennzoil much better, and Logano was back to competing in the top-five during the second stage, running as high as second through a number of mid-race cautions. Late in the run, Logano lost his handle once again and brought the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang home in the eighth position at the end of Stage 2. The final stint of the race saw Logano continue to struggle with handling, with a car that would switch between both tight and loose depending on traffic. Wolfe had Logano stay out on the track as other pitted leading into his final stop, which briefly got Logano the lead, but ultimately dropped him off the lead lap, resulting in a 17th-place finish.

Logano's Thoughts: "Not a great day for us. We were hanging in there in the beginning for a little bit and it looked like at one point, in the middle of the race, that we were the fastest car on the track. We were up to second and running down the leader and it was good. Caution came out and we put scuffs on and we lost a little bit of track position. We put new tires on and it just was not good. The balance was off without changing anything. Beats me."