Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Recap - Talladega

October 2, 2022

Track:  Talladega Superspeedway
Race:   YellaWood 500
Date:   October 2, 2022

No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Start: 17th
Race Finish: 4th
Stage 1 Finish: 29th
Stage 2 Finish: 9th
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 9th (-34)
Race Rundown: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Discount Tire team escaped the usually hectic Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon with a ninth-place finish, as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Round of 12 finale at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL next weekend. Cindric rolled off the grid in 17th, but incurred a speeding penalty early in Stage 1. The freshman NASCAR Cup Series driver rallied back from the penalty to finish the stage in the fourth position, collecting a handful of stage points. Under the first break, the Discount Tire team had to replace the right-side window due to a latch issue, forcing the former NASCAR Xfinity Series champion to lose significant track position. Cindric spent much of the second segment working to regain the lost track position, but ultimately finished the segment 29th. The team assessed the nose of the No. 2 Ford Mustang and performed some slight repairs under the stage-ending caution. The Team Penske driver utilized the power of his Mustang to muscle forward over the span of Stage 3, making his final trip to pit road on Lap 161 for a two-tire stop. When the checkered flag flew, the 24-year-old driver crossed the finish line ninth.
Cindric's Thoughts: "It's very important to be decisive and I was able to make some good moves and be able to be in some lanes that moved.  Call it 50 \ percent decisiveness and 50 percent luck, but, overall, it certainly puts us in a good spot to race for a spot in the Round of 8 at the Roval, so we'll put our best foot forward and have some fun next week."

No. 12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 19th
Race Finish: 2nd
Stage 1 Finish: 1st
Stage 2 Finish: 17th
Laps Led: 31
Point Standings: 2nd (-2)
Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney started 19th and finished second in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the No. 12 Menards/Dutch Boy collected a valuable playoff point by winning the first stage during the afternoon Blaney would move forward from the start and narrowly avoided a multi-car crash on lap 25. After making up valuable track position, Blaney made some nifty moves with teammate Joey Logano to win stage 1. Blaney continued to lead at the start of stage 2, but some aggressive pushes prompted Blaney to bail out of the lead pack during the stage. He would eventually finish stage 2 in the 17th position. Solid pit work by the No. 12 team would get Blaney up front, where he would lead the majority of the remaining laps. After a green-white-checkered, Blaney with help from Michael McDowell, would get pushed to the lead.  Unfortunately, Chase Elliott got by him on the last lap and Blaney finished second at the line.
Blaney's Thoughts: "I was fine lining up bottom or top, honestly, working with Ross there for a while.  I knew he pushed good and I knew obviously Michael could push really good, too.  So, I didn't really care where we were gonna be lining up.  I got a good push there and was able to get too good of a push on the restart and got the 9 clear and then he was able to lead the top lane.  I had a couple chances to move up to the top and cover it and I was just getting nervous about getting hung in the middle with the 9, the 43 and the 1 lined up.  I just didn't feel comfortable going up there and trusting, I trust Chase, but not that much to where he wouldn't have hung me out for the greater good of his group, so just chose to stay on the bottom with Michael.  We had a great chance at winning the thing, but we got disconnected in the middle of three and four.  I don't know if the 11 laid off of him, but we disconnected and let the 9 and 43 get a big run.  Mine was just kind of a little bit too late.  I'll look at it probably pick at a few things I probably should have done different, wish I would have done different, but it's easy to say that now.  Overall, it was a decent day.  It just stinks to be that close to our first win of the season."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 11th
Race Finish: 27th
Stage 1 Finish: 5th
Stage 2 Finish: 16th
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 5th (-16)
Race Rundown: Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang started 11th and finished 27th at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. Logano wasted little time driving into the top-10 early in the race. He would narrowly avoid disaster during a lap 25 multi-car incident, however the damage to the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang was minimal and the former champion was able to soldier on. Working with teammate Ryan Blaney, Logano would bring home valuable stage points at the end of Stage 1. From that point, Logano would go into conservation mode with the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang, bracing for  "the big one." Unfortunately the big crash never happened, and he would come in the in 27th position at the end of the day.

Logano's Thoughts: "We just wreck all the time so we thought, ‘Boy, we've got a big points lead, let's just be smart and don't wreck and we'll be able to get out of here with a top 10 assuming they would wreck because they always do.  That was the only time I've ever stayed in the back, ever, was today and they didn't wreck.  We gave up a bunch of our points lead.  We're still plus-18, which is a decent spot to be, but, the goal was to race for stage points and then drop to the back and wait for the crash.  I hate racing that way.  I've gotten beat many times from people that do that then I tried it and it didn't work."