NASCAR Cup Series Race Recap - Texas

September 26, 2022

Track:  Texas Motor Speedway
Race:   AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Date:   September 25, 2022

No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Start: 11th
Race Finish: 15th
Stage 1 Finish: 9th
Stage 2 Finish: 7th
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 10th (-37)

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Discount Tire team posted a 15th-place finish after an eventful evening in the Lone Star State at Texas Motor Speedway. Cindric earned an 11th-place starting position but suffered an intense vibration midway through the opening segment. The NASCAR Cup Series rookie dropped as far back as 28th, but utilized multiple cautions to gain track position, ultimately scoring points at the end of Stage 1 with a ninth-place finish. Cindric restarted deep in the field for the beginning of Stage 2 but utilized the speed of his Ford Mustang to muscle through various cautions to again collect points at the conclusion of Stage 2 by finishing seventh. Happy with the handling of the Discount Tire machine, the 24-year-old Team Penske driver came to the attention of his crew under the stage break for four tires and fuel. After a nearly hour-long red flag for weather, Cindric restarted 21st for the run to the checkered flag. With 33 laps go, the No. 2 went for a spin to avoid contact with a spinning No. 47. Cindric was forced to pit road for a change of tires and rallied back to register a 15th-place finish when the checkered flag waved.
Cindric's Thoughts: "…I felt like we had a really fast Discount Tire Ford Mustang. We made the right changes throughout the day. I would say we didn't execute very well at the beginning of the race but passed a lot of cars throughout the day and then got caught up in somebody else's mistake that took us out of a top five or top three or even a shot at the win. I am very upset about it. Getting stage points has been our weakness as a race team. We were able to get that both stages today and really grind one out and show a lot of poise but have nothing to show for it so I am pretty upset about it."

No. 12 Menards/Tarkett Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 14th
Race Finish: 4th
Stage 1 Finish: 20th
Stage 2 Finish: 1st
Laps Led: 29
Point Standings: 5th (-15) 

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Tarkett Ford Mustang finished fourth on Sunday evening at Texas Motor Speedway. Blaney started the race in the 14th position and fought a loose condition early on the sweltering hot afternoon. Multiple cautions during the first stage saw the No. 12 team visit pit road several times, and Blaney would finish 20th. The 2022 Texas All-Star Race winner would shift his track position in Stage 2 and drive up to third while also trying to save fuel. Blaney would take the lead for the first time with just 25 laps to go in Stage 2 when leader Chase Elliott crashed. He would hold the lead for the remainder of the stage to capture his sixth stage win of the season. Following a lengthy weather delay, the final stage resumed under drastically different track conditions. The No. 12 Menards/Tarkett Mustang was tight as nighttime fell over the track, forcing even more chassis adjustments. When racing resumed with 50 laps to go, Blaney restarted 15th. Through great strategy and a fast Ford Mustang, Blaney raced his way into the top five and grabbed a fourth-place finish.

Blaney's Thoughts: "It was a long night for sure. It didn't start out very good at all. We got better and better through the night and throughout the day we were able to win a stage and claw our way back from pretty far back in the pack there that last run to get to fourth. I thought our Mustang was probably the best car at the end we just couldn't pass anybody. Overall, not a bad night. A pretty wild night. Luckily, we were able to put together a solid race."

No. 22 AAA Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 2nd
Race Finish: 2nd
Stage 1 Finish: 3rd
Stage 2 Finish: 8th
Laps Led: 15
Point Standings: 1st 

Race Rundown: Joey Logano drove the No. 22 AAA Ford Mustang to a second-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday in the second round of the NASCAR Playoffs. Logano raced side-by-side early with polesitter Brad Keselowski before falling back to second. Logano then took the lead just past lap 30 and led until the first round of pit stops. The former champion would stay a fixture in the top five through the first 100 laps to finish Stage 1 in the fifth position. Due to varying pit strategies, Logano would start the second stage deep in the field, but would make it into the top 15 before a wheel vibration caused him to lose several spots halfway through the stage. Once the AAA Mustang got a new set of tires, Logano raced his way back to the top 10 and grabbed valuable stage points by coming home eighth in Stage 2. A rain and lightning delay would come near the start of the final stage, changing track conditions as temperatures dropped and the track became shaded. Logano and crew chief Paul Wolfe used a nifty pit strategy to get Logano in the top 10 with 60 laps to go. Logano would methodically race his way toward the front, getting in second but lacking the speed to catch the race leader. The AAA Mustang would finish in the runner-up spot.

Logano's Thoughts: "Yeah, it was a successful day for points scored. We got stage points in both stages and we were able to get a bunch by finishing second there. Yeah, it was a sloppy race for everyone on the track. We were just able to position ourselves really good at the end. Paul did a good job calling the race and putting four tires on when we needed to and putting two tires on when we needed to cycle forward."