NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Nashville Superspeedway

June 26, 2023

RACE: ALLY 400          
DATE: JUNE 25, 2023

START: 24TH    
POINTS: 22ND (-274)
RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric finished 27th in what was a warm evening at Nashville Superspeedway. Cindric started 24th in his second NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1.33-mile track and reported early on that the No. 2 Snap-on Ford was loose to fire off. He finished Stage 1 27th on the charts and returned to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Early in the run after the restart, the sophomore Cup Series driver relayed to his team that he needed more stability on exit to run higher. In the midst of green-flag pit stops, A timely caution on lap 137 allowed the driver to come down pit road for a service stop. As soon as the field took the green flag for the restart on lap 145, the yellow flag was quickly displayed for a crash. The No. 2 received slight contact on the right-side door, and as a precautionary measure, Crew Chief Jeremy Bullins called the Snap-on Ford to pit lane for a new set of tires. Cindric began to gain ground in the latter part of the Stage, being scored 20th when the flags flew to signal the end of the second segment. Cindric paid another visit to the No. 2 pit crew under the break, but unfortunately collected a speeding penalty along the way. Losing significant track position, Cindric worked to manage the remainder of the race, ultimately crossing the line 27th when checkered flag waved. 

CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "Bit of a missed opportunity. This is one of those where I feel like we’ve had our share of issues over the last couple months, and having a gear indicator go out causing us to speed on pit road after we get track position I think is the one that is the most frustrating so far. The guys did a great job all night getting our Snap-on Ford Mustang better. I thought we were good enough to fight inside the top-15 by the end of the race, but that speeding penalty put us behind pretty late in the game and we had to settle with a result that we're probably not happy with. There’s light at the end of the tunnel – we’ll keep chipping away.”

START: 13TH     
STAGE ONE: 13TH     
STAGE TWO: 36TH     
FINISH: 36TH    
POINTS: 8TH (-74) 

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney raced his way into the top-10 of the running order within the first 30 laps Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway despite battling a loose-handling Ford Mustang on the opening run. As green flag pit stops cycled around the halfway point of Stage 1, Blaney brought the No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford to pit road on lap 42 for a four-tire stop and a round of adjustments but began the ensuing run on the tight side resulting in a 13th-place finish in the opening stage. Crew chief Jonathan Hassler dialed in another round of adjustments on the second trip to pit road on the night during the stage break, allowing Blaney to make his way back into the top-10 in the first few laps of Stage 2. With the balance starting to settle in over the course of a long, green-flag run to begin the stage, Blaney was called to pit road on lap 135 for a scheduled four-tire stop but the caution flag flew after making his way off pit road, trapping him a lap down. Blaney took the wave around to rejoin the lead lap but restarted in the middle of the pack behind a host of cars a lap down. On the ensuing restart on lap 147, the front of the field stacked up and Blaney was sent sliding through the infield grass and head-on into the inside wall, bringing an abrupt end to the No. 12 team’s night.

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "It's a shame, ending our night early. I thought we finally got decent air at the start of the second stage. I don't really know what happened. Someone checked up on the restart, I guess. I kind of checked up, got hit from behind. I didn't know if they were wrecking, and I just couldn't get it straightened out. When I got out of the grass, I thought I was going to come back around, and that I'd be ok. Just never got back right. Happy to be all right, but I hate it for the Menards/Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Stinks to go home early."

START: 4TH     
STAGE ONE: 14TH     
POINTS: 10TH (-114)

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano started Sunday night’s Ally 400 from the outside of row two and made his way up to third on the leaderboard in the opening laps at Nashville Superspeedway, but a loose-handling condition during the first run of the night saw the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang fall out of the top-five before green flag stops began to cycle. Crew chief Paul Wolfe took a big swing on adjustments during the first pit stop on lap 43 but Logano’s struggles on corner exit continued through the end of the first stage, resulting in a 14th-place finish. Following another four-tire stop and a round of adjustments under caution, Logano maintained his track position during the first green-flag run of Stage 2 before pitting on lap 135 during the green flag pit cycle. The caution flag flew shortly after Logano made his way off pit road but was able to take the wave around to rejoin the lead lap prior to the ensuing restart. After crossing the line 17th in Stage 2, Logano battled his way back into the top-10 on lap 194 as the balance began to improve. The No. 22 team opted to pit later in the green-flag cycle during the final stage as Logano made his way up to fourth in the running order before being called to pit road on lap 244 for the final stop of the night, but the race stayed green the rest of the way as the Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang settled for a 19th-place finish.

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "The end result wasn't the way that we wanted to come out of the off-week, but this No. 22 Shell Pennzoil team battled all night - whether it was going to work on the balance or going with strategy calls to get us some sort of track position. Our struggles in the corners hurt us on the longer runs and, unfortunately, that's how this one played out for us. We had no choice but to take big swings on adjustments with the few chances we did have to work on our Ford Mustang and it didn't fall our way."

WHAT'S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Chicago for the Grant Park 220 - the series' first-ever street course race - on Sunday, July 2. Coverage begins at 5:30 pm E.T. on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.