Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Kansas I

May 8, 2023

Track: Kansas Speedway
Race: AdventHealth 400
Date: May 7, 2023

Austin Cindric | No. 2 Freightliner Ford Mustang

Start: 15th
Stage 1: 20th
Stage 2: 34th
Finish: 31st

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric finished 31st in Sunday afternoon’s AdventHealth 400 after losing a right-front wheel early in Stage 2, altering the remainder of the race for the No. 2 Freightliner team. The Team Penske driver took the green flag 15th in the lineup, firing off with a tight-handling Ford Mustang. The car began to get aggressively loose and Cindric went a lap down on Lap 75. The sophomore NASCAR Cup Series driver was in the free-pass position when he finished 20th in Stage 1 and was fortunately able to rejoin the lead lap. Following a trip down pit road for a round of adjustments and a four-tire service, Cindric rejoined the field for the onset of Stage 2. On Lap 109, the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion got into the wall, reporting he felt a tire going down. Shortly after making contact with the wall, the right-front wheel detached from the car and the No. 2 team was instantly issued a two-lap penalty as a result. The Freightliner Ford Mustang lost additional laps due to the damage and ultimately finished 31st when the checkered flag flew.

Cindric's Thoughts: "Yeah, we were in a decent spot today most of the day. We fought with the balance and kind of got on both sides of it. We kept ourselves on the lead lap for the start of Stage 2 and got a good restart, but unfortunately had an issue with the right-front. I’m not sure if we had a tire failure or a wheel coming off, not quite sure of the sequence of events there. I got in the wall on the front straightaway and went several laps down trying to fix damage from that incident. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of what we could salvage with the day in our Freightliner Ford Mustang. I felt like we had a ways to go to still work on the car and get us to our maximum, but we didn’t get that opportunity and had to kind of limp around for the rest of the day."

Cindric is currently 21st in the NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings.

Ryan Blaney | No. 12 Menards / Moen / BODYARMOR Ford Mustang

Start: 10th
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 15th
Finish: 16th

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney had top-10 pace from the onset of Sunday's AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway despite a tight-handling condition that began to creep in during the first long, green flag run of the day. Following a scheduled green flag stop on lap 40 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments, Blaney wheeled his way to an eighth-place finish in Stage 1. At the end of the opening stage, the No. 12 team picked up two spots on pit road with another four-tire stop as Blaney inched his way closer to the top-five of the running order. The No. 12 Ford Mustang fired off tight on the ensuing restart, but another round of adjustments during a trip to pit road under caution brought the balance back to where Blaney needed it to work his way back into the top-10. As the field took the green with 12 laps to go in Stage 2, Blaney went three-wide on the frontstretch to clear the No. 1 and No. 9 and vault him to sixth on the leaderboard. A caution right before the stage end saw the No. 12 team bring Blaney to pit road in place of a stop at the stage break, resulting in a 15th-place finish in Stage 2. The strategy call saw Blaney restart sixth to begin the final stage and he climbed as high as fourth in the running order, but the No. 12 Ford Mustang suffered from a loose-handling condition over the course of the final green flag run, resulting in a 16th-place finish.

Blaney's Thoughts: "We worked at it all day and the end result doesn't show the kind of pace we had at times. This is the kind of place where the track changes so much over the course of 400 miles and you're moving around to find what works and what doesn't. That last run kind of boxed us in on where we were able to run in the corners - I think if we had one more chance to make an adjustment at the end it's a different outcome for us. Fortunately, we were able to pick up some stage points early. We're proud of the speed we've shown the last few weeks and we'll get back after it in Darlington."

Blaney is currently 7th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings.

Joey Logano | No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford Mustang

Start: 6th
Stage 1: 16th
Stage 2: 1st
Finish: 6th

Race Rundown: Joey Logano's No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang fired off tight from the sixth starting position as he struggled with corner exit during the opening run of Sunday's AdventHealth 400, relegating him outside of the top-10 in the running order in the first 20 laps. Following a scheduled green flag stop on lap 37 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments, Logano continued to fight the balance en route to a 16th-place finish in Stage 1. At the start of Stage 2, Logano experienced issues with the handling in dirty air, but the handling started to improve in the later stages of the run as he was able to reenter the top-10 by lap 147. While running ninth in the closing laps of Stage 2, the No. 22 opted to stay out under caution to assume the lead with four laps left in the stage. Logano fended off those behind him on fresher tires and maintained the lead before the caution flag flew on lap 162 to end the stage, marking his second stage win of the season (Atlanta I). Following a trip to pit road during the stage break, Logano restarted 20th but made his way back towards the top-10 by lap 190. After staying out during the next caution, Logano lined up third for the restart but was shuffled out of the top-10 shortly after as fresher tires prevailed. The No. 22 team brought Logan to road under caution on lap 205 for four tires and a final round of adjustments, allowing him to drive from 15th to seventh in the laps following the restart before making his way into the top-five by lap 214. Logano battled to stay ahead of the No. 9 over the course of the final green flag run to come away with a sixth-place finish - marking his sixth top-10 finish of the season. 

Logano's Thoughts: "Well, if we had the right tires on, it’s pretty good. Seems like it's an inconsistency in tires. We’ve been fighting that the last few weeks. So we got to get to the bottom of that to understand it a little better. Overall, the stage points were big. Getting a stage win was a big one – decent points with the 10 points as well. Probably with a better restart, I could have finished top-two or three. But, oh well. We just need more horsepower – all of us."

Logano is currently 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings.

What's Next: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 14. Coverage of the event will be carried on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 3:00 p.m. ET.