Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Las Vegas

March 5, 2023

Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway   
Race: Pennzoil 400
Date: March 5, 2023

Austin Cindric | No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang

Start: 9th
Stage 1: 17th
Stage 2: 22nd
Finish: 6th

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Discount Tire team rallied to a sixth-place finish on a cool, breezy afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Team Penske driver fired off from the ninth position but slipped back to 17th by the end of Stage 1, reporting a tight-handling Ford Mustang. After receiving service on pit road, Cindric restarted 18th for the beginning of Stage 2. Continuing to manage the handling of the car, the 24-year-old racer pushed through the second segment to finish 22nd, one lap down. Cindric rejoined the lead lap early in Stage 3 and gradually progressed up the leaderboard. The 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion came to pit road under caution with four laps to go for right-side tires and jetted off for the sprint to the checkered flag. A determined Cindric charged forward, securing an impressive sixth-place finish when the Discount Tire Ford crossed the finish line.

Cindric's Thoughts: "A bit of a team effort there, honestly. Definitely didn't have the strength early on in the race. The second stage we definitely fell back even a little bit further. Got the lucky dog, honestly thanks to the pit crew which was able to get us back out front. Caution comes out… just made the car better all day. Felt like we earned a top 15 from the depths of hell for a while, but going two tires on the restart, getting a good launch and being able to be in a position in the green-white-checkered. So, a little bit of strategy, a little bit of good pit-stops – some good restarts on my end and a good recovery. You've got to run up-front in these things to expect to win, but when we don't have it, it's good to know that we can get back." 

Ryan Blaney | No. 12 Menards/BlueDef/Peak Ford Mustang

Start: 3rd
Stage 1: 21st
Stage 2: 15th
Finish: 13th

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney fought a tight-handling No. 12 Ford Mustang from the onset of Sunday's Pennzoil 400 and was the first to make a scheduled green flag stop on lap 33 for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. Blaney continued to battle rear security issues on corner entry to the end of Stage 1, resulting in a 21st-place finish. The No. 12 team was able to hit on its adjustments as the race wore on, allowing Blaney to drive back up into the top-15 as his Ford Mustang began to settle in to pick up a 15th-place finish in Stage 2. After starting the final stage 14th, Blaney made his way back into the top-10 in the closing laps of the race - running as high as eighth - before a late caution brought the field back together for an overtime attempt. Blaney battled three-wide traffic on the final restart before ultimately crossing the line 13th.

Blaney's Thoughts: "We didn't start off very good. We struggled really bad the first two stages. Thought we got a little better there the last couple runs. I think we were about eighth before the last caution, started back racing and just went backwards. It's unfortunate. We worked hard all day to get faster. The last restart pit-stops didn't go our way."

Joey Logano | No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang

Start: 1st
Stage 1: 13th
Stage 2: 14th
Finish: 36th

Race Rundown: Joey Logano started Sunday's Pennzoil 400 from the pole - marking his 27th-career pole award - and led the first nine laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before his No. 22 Ford Mustang began to suffer from a tight-handling condition. Following a round of adjustments during a scheduled green flag stop on lap 35, Logano crossed the line 13th at the end of Stage 1. Crew chief Paul Wolfe's adjustments at the end of Stage 1 freed up Logano's Ford Mustang, but he continued to have handling issues in traffic as the long green flag runs wore on. Logano was scored 14th at the conclusion of Stage 2 and lined up 11th to restart the final stage after a quick four-tire stop at the stage break. On lap 183, Logano found himself three-wide entering turn three and made contact with Brad Keselowski on the exit of turn four, causing the No. 22 to make contact with the outside wall and spin through the infield. The No. 22 team worked to make repairs under caution, but a broken right rear toe link ultimately led to an early end to the afternoon. 

Logano's Thoughts: "Considering how we've been here in the past, you kind of expect it a little bit more performance today than what we had. Just off on overall speed. We had the balance somewhat close – just not fast. We have to go back to the drawing board for when we come back here."


What's Next: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix Raceway for the United Rentals 500 on Sunday, March 12. Coverage of the event will be carried on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.