Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Phoenix Raceway

March 12, 2023

Track: Phoenix Raceway
Race: United Rentals Work United 500
Date: March 12, 2023

Austin Cindric | No. 2 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang

Start: 20th
Stage 1: 27th
Stage 2: 27th
Finish: 25th

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Menards/Richmond team wrapped up the third and final leg of NASCAR's "West Coast Swing" with a 25th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway. Cindric started 20th but lost position as the opening run went on, reporting that he needed to be tightened up as he crossed the line 27th at the end of Stage 1. Following a round of adjustments, the Team Penske driver began to gain ground in the early goings of Stage 2 until being issued a speeding penalty on Lap 120, positioning the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang deep in the field. Cindric pressed forward, racing up to 27th by the time the flags flew to signal the end of Stage 2. The No. 2 car revisited pit road for another service stop and lined up 26th for the Stage 3 restart. Cindric rallied through the final segment, making his final stop of the day under caution with just a handful of laps to go before ultimately finishing 25th. 

Cindric's Thoughts: "I feel bad about the result today. I definitely feel responsible for speeding on pit road under green. It really took us out of contention and trying to make the car better after the first stage. Overall, I learned a lot about the package. I just probably put ourselves in a worse spot than any other adjustment we could have made throughout the day. I'm looking forward to getting back at it next week." 

Ryan Blaney | No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang

Start: 8th
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 8th
Finish: 2nd

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 team had a solid Dent Wizard Ford Mustang throughout Sunday's United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway to come away with a second-place finish. After starting eighth, Blaney wheeled his way to a sixth-place finish in Stage 1 and ran in the top-10 for most of Stage 2 during a pair of lengthy green flag runs. The No. 12 team hit on its adjustments to alleviate Blaney's issues with center turn, resulting in an eighth-place finish in Stage 2. Following a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 243, Blaney cycled to eighth place and began to make a charge towards the top-five in the latter stages of the race. Crew Chief Jonathan Hassler brought Blaney to pit road following a caution on lap 302 for right side tires and fuel and came off pit road third as the field lined up to restart with under 10 laps to go. After choosing the bottom lane to restart on the inside of row two, Blaney battled with the leaders to take over the top spot, but ultimately had to settle for a second-place finish on the day.

Blaney's Thoughts: "The last restart I thought I got to the bottom of those guys into Turn 2 and that I was in a good spot for Turn 3. I think the No. 45 kind of helped the No. 24 – got him a push down the back and got him a good spot. He had an advantage going in there. Close, but I wasn't really close enough to the No. 24 going into Turn 3 to do anything. Overall, pretty good day. We got a lot better all day. We finished a little better than I thought we'd run. So, that was positive."

Joey Logano | No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang

Start: 16th
Stage 1: 24th
Stage 2: 18th
Finish: 11th

Race Rundown: Joey Logano battled a loose-handling Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang during the opening run of Sunday's United Rentals Work United 500 and found himself a lap down in 24th at the end of Stage 1. Logano was the recipient of the free pass to rejoin the lead lap at the conclusion of the stage as the No. 22 team made adjustments to address the handling issues during its scheduled stop at the stage break. Logano battled his way through traffic during Stage 2 as his Ford Mustang began to settle in following the team's adjustments, resulting in an 18th-place finish in Stage 2. Following another round of adjustments at the stage break under caution, Logano fought his way into the top-15 as long, green flag runs ensued. The No. 22 team brought Logano to pit road under caution on lap 304 for four tires and fuel and ultimately crossed the line 14th on the green-white-checkered attempt.

Logano's Thoughts: "It wasn't the day we were hoping for, but we came a long way from where we started out handling-wise and had our Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang in a decent spot at the end there. We'll continue to go to work with this new package and get it where we need to be."

What's Next: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Ambetter Health 400 on Sunday, March 19. Coverage of the event will be carried on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.