Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Atlanta

March 19, 2023

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race: Ambetter Health 400
Date: March 19, 2023

Austin Cindric | No. 2 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang

Start: 2nd
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 1st
Finish: 11th

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric started second and finished 11th in Sunday's Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang ran inside the top-five for the majority of the day and was ultimately in contention for the win in the final Stage. Cindric worked together with teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney to finish second in Stage 1 as the Team Penske Fords controlled the front of the field. Cindric again worked with Logano throughout the duration of Stage 2 and utilized some nifty moves in traffic on the final lap of the segment to record his first Stage win of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Despite losing track position in the opening of Stage 3, the 24-year-old driver maneuvered his way back inside the top-10 as the laps clicked off, ultimately finishing 11th in his fourth Cup Series start at the Georgia track.  

Cindric's Thoughts: "Certainly a really solid day, a great points day for our Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang. It's great to get a car in victory lane. I felt like we brought three of the best cars in Georgia and I think we showed it being able to string along the bottom line better than anyone else between myself and Ryan and Joey. It was just a perfect visual representation of teamwork all the way through the weekend, so congratulations to everyone at the shop and everyone on the 22 team, Autotrader. It's cool to get the win and try and come back here during the summer and do the same."

Ryan Blaney | No. 12 BODYARMOR SportWater Ford Mustang

Start: 3rd
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 32nd
Finish: 7th

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney rallied to a top-10 finish in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta after a speeding penalty in the second Stage set the No. 12 BODYARMOR SportWater Ford Mustang two laps down. Blaney started the 260-lap event from third, reporting that the car was free in the opening laps. He maintained his speed at the front of the pack for the race's first 60 laps to secure a fourth-place finish in Stage 1. Four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the Stage break helped Blaney's efforts towards the lead, although his next scheduled green-flag stop did not produce the same results; Blaney was clocked speeding at 50.07 mph off pit road, seven hundredths over the limit. The result was a drive-through penalty that relegated Blaney to a race low 33rd, two laps down. The driver of the No. 12 refused to let the speed of his Ford Mustang go to waste, and he slowly propelled himself to the lead-lap with enough time left in the final Stage to battle for position. Working together with his teammates and avoiding multiple multi-car wrecks, Blaney succeeded and was scored as high as third in the final Stage before a hard-fought battle in the finals laps forced him to settle for seventh. 

Blaney's Thoughts: "I sped in the second Stage which kind of put us behind the eight ball. I was happy we were able to get back up there to race toward the front. I really appreciate BODYARMOR SportWater for coming on, it was a cool looking car today. I wish we could have gotten it in victory lane. I'm happy we got a Mustang in victory lane. Decent finish for us too, especially after my mistake, so I'm happy for that." 

Joey Logano | No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang

Start: 1st
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 2nd
Finish: 1st

Race Rundown: Joey Logano secured his first win of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway, steering the No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang to victory after starting from the pole position. Logano dominated the onset of the 400-mile race, leading every lap in the opening segment to record his first Stage win of the season. Logano hit pit road under the break for service and lost multiple positions, but returned to the point on Lap 76. The Team Penske driver nearly won Stage 2, but finished second after teammate Austin Cindric charged to the lead on the final lap. The two-time Cup Series champion received four fresh tires, fuel and an adjustment under the caution in preparation for the final Stage. As the intensity picked up, Logano got shuffled back in the running order but remained resilient, rejoining the top-10 after a caution on Lap 208. The driver of the No. 22 powered back to the lead on the final lap, picking up the 32nd win of his Cup Series career after leading a race-high 140 laps. 

Logano's Thoughts: "We lost our track position there for a minute, but was able to just stay patient and work on it and this amazing fast race car allowed me to really make some great moves on the racetrack and getting the push there on the last lap to get to the outside of Brad. Just getting to break the plane of his back bumper was gonna be my only chance there and I was able to get him there and get the push from the 20 on the backstretch. Overall, just a really fast Ford Mustang is what it came down to. It's nice to win with Autotrader on the car. I don't think I've ever won a race without Shell on the car. It means a lot to get this one in Victory Lane. It's been a lot of years coming. Atlanta, this means so much to me to win here. So many memories of driving my Legends car right here where we're standing when I was 9 years old. This is a really special one and a dream come true."

What's Next: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Circuit of the Americas for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix on Sunday, March 26. Coverage of the event will be carried on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 3:30 p.m. ET.