Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Talladega

April 21, 2024

GEICO 500 - Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, AL. - April 21, 2024



RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang team appeared to be primed for a strong finish in Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway after launching from the front row, winning Stage 1 and scoring a runner-up finish in Stage 2 until a last-lap crash relegated him to a 23rd-place finish. As the field went three-wide just after the drop of the green flag on Lap 4, Cindric took charge of the middle lane, but as the momentum fluctuated, he slipped back to 10th. As pit strategies played out, Cindric toured pit road under green on Lap 44 with less than 20 laps to go in Stage 1 for a rapid fuel-only stop. With the laps clicking away, Cindric found himself leading the third lane with multiple Ford Performance teammates in tow as he went on to register his fourth career Stage win. After leading the field to the green-and-white checkered flag, the 25-year-old driver notified the Menards/Richmond crew that he needed more security on entry, center and exit. Crew chief Brian Wilson called him to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Cindric fired off from the fourth position when the field went green and settled into the 10th position in the bottom lane a few laps in. He dived down to pit road with nine laps to go in Stage 2 for a speedy fuel stop before cruising to a second-place result in the segment, collecting valuable points. Fairly happy with the car, Cindric received fresh tires and fuel under the break and lined up inside the top five for the restart on Lap 127. As the field was placed under the yellow flag in the final Stage on two separate occasions, The No. 2 Ford Mustang headed to pit road under each caution to top-off on fuel for the dash to the checkered flag. As the running order shuffled late in the race, Cindric was eyeing a top-10 finish until he was collected in a multi-car accident on the final lap, leaving him with a 23rd-place finish. 

CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "I wish we could've gotten up to the front at the end with our Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang. Obviously, we had a super-fast car and the way the fuel save, pit cycle and caution came out in Stage 3 lost our track position. Decent points day and we'll move on to Dover."


START: 21ST    
STAGE TWO: 34TH     
FINISH: 20TH    

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Wabash Ford Mustang came away with a 20th-place finish in Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway. After taking the green flag from 21st, Blaney dropped to the tail of the field as the lead pack formed three-wide ahead prior to the start of the green flag pit cycle. Blaney was called to pit road on lap 43 for fuel only and cycled to fourth in the running order with 12 laps to go in Stage 1. He attempted to make a charge to the front as three lanes formed on the final lap of the stage, but Blaney's momentum was stalled out resulting in a fourth-place finish. Following a four-tire stop prior to the start of Stage 2, Blaney restarted from the inside of row one and was at the front of the field for the opening laps of the run before fading out of the lead pack. All three Team Penske Fords were the last to hit pit road during the green flag cycle, making stops for a splash of fuel with nine to go in the second segment. However, Blaney was penalized for speeding on pit entry and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty, resulting in a 34th-place finish in Stage 2. As differing fuel strategies throughout the field came into play over the course of the final run, Blaney worked his way back up to 12th in the running order with 35 laps to go. The entire pack remained double-file as the field crossed the line with 10 laps remaining, prompting Blaney to move up and form a third lane with the hope of building enough momentum to take the group to the front. The top lane built enough energy to get to row four with three laps to go, but the run dissipated when a couple of the leaders moved up to block the run, forcing Blaney to fall in line in the middle lane. Blaney was able to avoid the multi-car incident in the tri-oval coming to the checkered flag and was scored 20th. 

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "The Wabash Ford Mustang was fast, just didn't have enough momentum going in that third lane at the end there to get it to the front. I felt like that was our only shot of racing for a win at the end and we weren't going to do that staying in line like we were during that final run. Proud of the effort and we'll keep moving forward."


START: 7TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano picked up his first stage win of the 2024 season and led six times for 22 laps in a 19th-place finish for the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. After starting from the inside of row four, Logano worked his way throughout all three lanes during the opening run to get a feel for the balance before fading to the back half of the field prior to the green flag pit cycle. Logano was one of the last cars to hit pit road on lap 44 for fuel only but was penalized for speeding while exiting pit road and forced to serve a pass-through penalty, resulting in a 32nd-place finish in Stage 1. Following a four-tire stop and a round of adjustments at the stage break, Logano raced his way back into the top 15 with a wave of momentum in the top lane as green flag stops loomed. As the pace picked up with the laps winding down in Stage 2, Logano cycled to the lead on lap 102 before all three Team Penske Fords were called to pit road for fuel only with nine laps to go in the stage. Despite settling into third in the running order with six laps left in the segment, Logano was able to power back to the front with a push from teammate Austin Cindric, resulting in a Stage 2 win. The No. 22 team won the race off pit road following a four-tire stop at the stage break as Logano lined up to lead the field to green from the inside of row one. Logano continued to battle with the leaders during the opening run of the final stage before a caution with 33 laps remaining brought the field down pit road for one last splash of fuel. He settled into the top lane for the final green flag run of the afternoon but was unable to build a run with the field racing double file in the closing laps. Logano maintained his position on the white flag lap before a multi-car incident unraveled in the tri-oval when the No. 22 was clipped in the left rear and sent sliding across the start-finish line to take the checkered flag in the 19th position. 

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "Not the end result our Shell-Pennzoil team was hoping for with the speed we showed throughout the day. Battling our way back to the front to get the Stage 2 win was big for us but we weren't able to make a run at it late and ended up stuck in line during that final stretch. It's still a decent points day for us and we'll continue to build on it."

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover Motor Speedway for Round 11 of the 2024 season on Sunday, April 28. Live coverage of the Wurth 400 begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.