NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Richmond

April 3, 2023

RACE: TOYOTA OWNERS 400          
DATE: APRIL 2, 2023

START: 6TH     
STAGE ONE: 15TH     
STAGE TWO: 28TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric started sixth and finished 28th in Sunday afternoon’s 400-lap event at Richmond Raceway after an apparent engine issue hindered his performance. The first laps of the weekend for NASCAR Cup Series drivers came with the drop of the green flag after inclement weather washed away practice and qualifying Saturday, lining Cindric up in the sixth position after the starting order was set per the series rulebook. Cindric reported early on under the competition caution that the car was loose, and he pitted for service. Cindric returned to the track and finished Stage 1 in the 15th position, revisiting pit road for wedge and air pressure adjustments to further aid the loose condition. Cindric restarted 16th and on Lap 94 began to experience an engine issue that ultimately forced the Discount Tire Ford to pit lane for the crew to further investigate under the hood. Cindric returned to the track and finished Stage 2 in the 28th position. The 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion continued to fight a loose condition and later relayed that the temperatures and pressures remained steady. The Team Penske driver was scored 28th when the checkered flag flew.

Cindric currently sits 14th in the point standings.

CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "Yeah, unfortunately felt like we lost a good bit of power early in the race…before the end of Stage 1. It made it really hard to race, hard to keep up lap times, especially on new tires. Just a shame, I would say we don’t know what the issue is quite yet, but pretty uncharacteristic. Unfortunate to have it happen, but I thought we were able to make some progress on our Discount Tire Ford Mustang in the middle of the race. Even at a disadvantage, we were still fighting for a top-20 finish. It’s unfortunate to not to be able to take away much from the weekend without practice or qualifying and then the issue."

START: 17TH     
STAGE ONE: 11TH     
STAGE TWO: 26TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: With no on-track time leading into Sunday afternoon’s race at Richmond Raceway, Ryan Blaney battled minor handling issues during the first run of the day before entering the top-10 following the competition caution on lap 30. Blaney ultimately wheeled the No. 12 Ford Mustang to an 11th-place finish in Stage 1, but a speeding penalty on pit road relegated Blaney to the back of the field to begin Stage 2. Blaney fought his way back into the top-15 by lap 135 before scheduled green-flag stops began to cycle, and he brought his Ford Mustang to pit road on lap 163 for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. However, Blaney had to serve another pit road penalty for equipment leaving the pit stall, forcing him to two laps down. The No. 12 team continued to go to work on the handling throughout the last two stages while making a few strategy calls along the way in an effort to get back on the lead lap, resulting in a 26th-place finish Sunday.

Blaney currently sits 11th in the point standings.

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "Certainly not the way we wanted our day to end with the Menards/Moen Mustang. We had a good car early but unfortunately had a few issues on pit road and lost a lot of track position. We’ll regroup as a team and head to Bristol where we can hopefully have a good weekend."

START: 18TH     
STAGE TWO: 15TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: With rain washing out Saturday's qualifying, Joey Logano lined up 18th to start Sunday afternoon at Richmond Raceway. Logano made his way into the top-10 following a four-tire stop with a round of adjustments during the competition caution on lap 30. Logano continued to charge forward on the ensuing run, making his way into the top-five by lap 44 and crossing the line fifth in Stage 1. During another four-tire stop under caution on lap 95, Logano had to make an additional stop on pit road for a loose right-rear wheel and was scored 34th to begin Stage 2. Long green-flag runs allowed him to make his way back through the field en route to a 15th-place finish in Stage 2. Logano fought through a tight-handing condition in the center of the corner and a loose condition on the entry and exit to start Stage 3, although he was able to hold his position through the run. As the No. 22 team continued to make adjustments on pit road, Logano made his way forward again, entering the top-10 again on Lap 324. He made the most of the success of the outside line on the final restart, working his way up to an eventual seventh-place finish, marking his fourth top-10 of the season.

Logano currently sits seventh in the point standings.

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "We had a really good car. Our Mustang was fast, maybe definitely could have won. It felt pretty good. That loose wheel set us back, but it was so early in the race we thought we could recover. We started to recover and did recover, and then we were trying to split it halfway and get the track position, but we had two untimely cautions that just didn’t work out for us. Typical Richmond it does work out, but more cautions today than typical."

WHAT'S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City Dirt Race on Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).