June 10th, 2018
Team Penske owner Roger Penske lives pretty close to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) and the track is often said to be "in Ford's backyard." Detroit is known as the Motor City for a reason. After a two hour weather delay, the NASCAR account tweeted drivers were called to their cars at 4:13pm that evening.
There was a competition caution set for lap twenty-five.
MIS is Brad Keselowski's home track, he was born is Rochester Hills. Today, Keselowski began the race on the front row in 2nd, he settled into 3rd not ready to go after Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch who were really fighting for the lead. The outside line got a run and Keselowski's inside line slowed slightly.
At the competition caution Keselowski was in 3rd place. Keselowki bolted into 2nd place on the restart. Before the 2nd restart spotter Joey Meier told Keselowski that they should be good on weather until after stage two. Keselowski finished stage one in 6th. Lap seventy-four Keselowski was battling with Kasey Kahne and teammate Blaney as he battled for 3rd place. Keselowski finished the second stage in 7th. On lap one-thirty Keselowski was in 6th.
Joey Logano's first race win with Team Penske came in Michigan in 2013. Logano was lined up in 5th but the 18 (Kyle Busch) got sent to the back of the field, so he started in 4th - directly behind his teammate Keselowski. Logano fell from behind Kesleowski but was backed up by Blaney before settling into 5th. Logano hit 219 mph on lap nine, this truly is NASCAR's fastest track. Logano was pressured by Clint Bowyer from behind on lap sixteen.
At the competition caution on lap thirty Logano was in 6th. Logano was in 3rd when the race went green once more, Blaney took 4th from Logano with 28 to go in stage one. Logano fought on his restart. After the second caution he went three wide with eighteen to go. Logano finished stage one in 9th. Logano took four tires and an air pressure adjustment, he needed more grip and reported being tighter on the previous run. Logano fell back on the restart before the caution came back out. Logano shot out and around a couple of drivers all in the outside lane and took 5th. Logano finished stage two in 14th. On lap one-thirty Logano was in 7th.
Ryan Blaney qualified in 9th but was lucky enough to start in 8th due to the 18 (Ky Busch) being sent to the back of the field. Blaney quickly jumped up behind Logano before falling back to 7th. He set out to go after Bowyer. Blaney was saying he was loose in and loose off the corners around lap twenty-one.
At the competition caution Blaney was in 7th. Blaney was in 5th place lap thirty. 28 to go Blaney passed Logano. On the restart after the second caution Blaney shot out to 2nd place, hunting down the 41 (Ku Busch). Blaney was catching the 41 in turns but losing him on straightaways. Blaney eventually took away the lead. Blaney finished the stage in first.
"I think our Dex Imaging Ford is pretty good... so far, so good," Blaney said of the first stage during the stage interview. Initially, Blaney fell back on the restart but began hunting down Kevin Harvick. On the next restart Blaney fell back to 5th. Blaney was in 6th when the second stage finished. On lap one-thirty Blaney was in 8th place.
At this point the race went red for rain and only a few minutes later the race was called with Bowyer as the winner. Keselowski finished in 6th, Logano in 7th, and Blaney in 8th.
1 Competition Caution lap twenty-five
2 43 (Bubba Wallace) and 38 (David Ragan) twenty-four to go in first stage
3 Matt Kenseth three to go in first stage. (A quickie yellow was decided)
4 Stage one
5 Daniel Suarez - sixty-seven
6 Kyle Larson - thirty-five
7 Stage two
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. one-twenty-nine - the race stayed yellow for rain and cars were brought down pit road
Team Penske Quick Fact: No Michigan born driver has ever won at MIS in the Cup Series.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
Shop here now for new NASCAR gear!
June 3rd, 2018
The stages of the 2018 Pocono 400 were 50, 50, 60. The fuel window was about thirty laps, so green flag pit stops were inevitable.
Ryan Blaney started on the front row in 1st, Joey Logano qualified in 7th, and Brad Keselowski in 17th.
Blaney picked the outside lane, and told his crew to be safe in the pits today. Blaney shot out into the lead, but into one of the turns the cars fanned out behind him. Blaney was able to hold them off. Back in 7th, Logano was battling with Kurt Busch, and eventually took 6th.
Kevin Harvick took the lead during commercial break and Blaney radioed in about being too free as he fell to 4th. He hit pit road on lap seventeen and wouldn't lose a lap. Logano hit pit road a lap later.
Keselowski took his green flag stop on lap thirty-four. In 8th place Logano battled with Chase Elliott, before Elliott took the spot. A few laps later Keselowski passed two cars with twelve to go, moving into 15th.
Logano had to hit pit road on the last lap of stage one while it was closed because he was out of fuel. The tank didn't get full the first time around.
The first stage finished with Blaney in 4th and Keselowski in 10th. Logano couldn't take the wave around because he was the penalty car.
Keselowski restarted on the front row with only two new tires, Harvick took over the lead and Blaney lead the inside lane up to Keselowski. Blaney's lane slowed behind Keselowski's and he faded into the outside groove.
Keselowski pitted from third place on lap sixty-seven, the 2 car got four tires and a can of fuel.
Blaney hit pit road on lap seventy-seven. He left pit road in 15th, Logano was in 29th and Keselowski in 19th.
With fourteen to go in stage two Keselowski was up to 4th, Blaney was in 9th and Logano was in 27th. Clint Bowyer challenged Keselowski for 3rd place and took it with ten to go. Later that same lap Logano hit pit road.
The stage ended with Keselowski in 7th, Blaney in 8th and Logano back in 29th.
Keselowski was in 11th ten laps into the final stage, with Austin Dillon pressuring from behind.
With thirty-six to go in the Pocono 400 Derrike Cope spun bringing out the first caution of the day that wasn't for a stage. All three of the Penske drivers hit pit road.
The commentators picked drivers to win the race as they do every Sunday, and Michael Waltrip picked Blaney.
Blaney restarted closest of the Penskes, to the front of the pack in 4th, Keselowski was in 10th and Logano had fought back up to 20th. Logano was part of a group of cars that fanned out and he gained several positions.
Keselowski battled with Jimmie Johnson and Elliott for 7th place. Keselowski would get by Johnson. Blaney was in 5th place hunting down 4th, Denny Hamlin.
The caution came out again with twenty-one laps to go for a giant piece of metal that bounced off at least four of the driver's windshields.
With fifteen to go Logano was in 19th, Keselowski 7th and Blaney in 6th. A lap later Hamlin and Alex Bowman both collided pulling out the caution again.
Logano had a run, pushed Jones on the restart too hard and Erik Jones spun.
Blaney and Keselowski were right in the top five area, Logano back in 10th. Keselowski drafted with Johnson, and moved into 6th.
The race ended with Keselowski finishing highest of the Penske's in 5th, Blaney in 6th and Logano with a big comeback in 9th place.
Team Penske Quick Fact: Ryan Blaney got his first Cup win in Pocono last spring.
Next weekend NASCAR moves to Michigan International Speedway, Brad Keselowski's home track!
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
Shop here now for new NASCAR gear!
May 27th, 2018
It's the Coca-Cola 600, which means it's officially the longest night in the NASCAR season. Team Penske only has one win in the crown jewel event. The race was set to have four stages, each a hundred laps long. The fuel window was fifty-four laps.
Joey Logano started the race on the front row in 2nd, Brad Keselowski began in 5th, and Ryan Blaney qualified in 8th place. Keselowski's spotter Joey Meier was out of town because his son graduated basic training.
On the initial start Logano battled with Kyle Busch before shooting out to take the lead. Keseloski battled to hold off Ryan Newman, lost a spot, and Blaney was right behind him. Busch stole the lead from Logano on lap six, after a short battle. Erik Jones began to run down Logano, lap seven and battled him. Jones did not complete his first attempt at a pass.
Jones continued to pressure Logano before taking the position on lap eleven. During commercials, Logano was passed by Denny Hamlin and Keselowski was passed by Kyle Larson. Logano did his best to hold off Newman and Blaney who were attempting to pass him. The handling on the 22 car was not good, the car was getting more and more free as time passed.
Logano dropped out of the top ten on lap thirty-five. The caution came out two laps later on lap thirty-seven when Austin Dillon lost a tire. Logano would get his chance to make adjustments. Blaney and Keselowski opted to pit as well.
Lap fifty-seven, the highest running Penske was Blaney in 4th, Keselowski was in 12th with Logano trailing in 14th.
Kevin Harvick pulled out the second caution of the day lap eighty-three when a right front went down. Keselowski missed his box and fell back immensely. He was, unfortunately, the example of why fresh tires are important on restarts.
Blaney finished the stage highest of the Penske fold, in 2nd. Logano was next in 13th, and Keselowski rounded up the group in 26th. It was Blaney's turn to get a start on the front row alongside Ky Busch.
The caution was called on lap one-seventeen for William Byron hitting the wall.
The next caution was just after the restart when Hamlin hooked Jimmie Johnson. Jones couldn't slow down in time and bumped Logano.
Logano got his rear quarter panel fixed and he left the pits.
Blaney restarted in the second row, and settled into 4th. Keselowski had successfuly moved into 18th by lap one-thirty, and Logano was still recovering from the clip in 24th.
Blaney was running in 4th and Hamlin shoved Blaney out of his way.
WIth green flag pit stops underway the first of the Penske's to pit was Blaney. Logano inherited 4th place due to not having to pit yet.
Keselowski was a lap down in 25th. Logano took over the lead when Hamlin took his stop.
With twenty-five to go, Logano cycled into 3rd place, Blaney in 6th and Keselowski in 21st.
Larson surged forward taking 3rd from Logano.
When Logano finally pitted with eight to go in stage two, he came out a lap down. Blaney had red on the dash, and asked if he should keep running, he was told, "Yes, keep running 'till it blows."
At the end of stage two, Blaney was the only Penske on the lead lap, he was in 14th. Keselowski finished in 17th and Logano finished in 26th.
Logano stayed out for the wave around, and after the restart was in 17th.
Blaney was at the end of the lead lap in 18th place pressuring his teammate Logano.
On lap two-twenty-six Gray Gaulding spun, bringing out the caution.
Lap two-fifty-two Keselowski was running in 13th, Logano in 16th, and Blaney in 20th. Chris Buescher spun lap two-fifty-eight bringing out the caution again.
The next caution was from Larson with twenty-seven to go in stage three. Keselowski got a huge run and passed a lot of cars. Blaney brought out the next caution when his 12 car literally went down in flames (he got out on his own).
Keselowski had moved up into 4th with nine to go in the stage, Logano was in 3rd, and Blaney was in the garage. Keselowski finished the stage in 3rd, Logano in 13th.
Keselowski restarted on the front row next to Ky Busch. He settled into 2nd place behind the 18, until lap three-thirty when Martin Truex Jr. took the spot.
Logano began the cycle of green flag pit stops with fifty-nine laps left. Keselowski was in 3rd and pitted with fifty-three to go.
Logano battled to stay on the lead lap but Ky Busch passed him on lap three-seventy-seven.
The final positions for the Penske drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 is as follows: Brad Keselowski 4th place, Joey Logano in 22nd and Ryan Blaney in 36th.
Team Penske Quick Fact: The Coke 600 was Blaney's 3rd DNF of the season.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
May 23rd, 2018
The official inductee list into the NASCAR Hall of Fame was announced this evening. 'Captain' Roger Penske was on the list. Team Penske has been around and winning races since 1958. Their most recent NASCAR Cup win came earlier this year with Joey Logano in Talladega.
Penske is competing in many different series including NASCAR Cup, NASCAR Xfinity, IndyCar, IMSA, and VASC. Mr. Penske has many achievements including but not limited to 107 Cup wins and 5 NASCAR Championships.
The other members inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the 2019 class are Jeff Gordon, Jack Roush, Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki.
Congrats to all of the new members, and here's to many more victories for Mr. Penske!
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
May 19th, 2018
I had the absolute pleasure of attending the All-Star race live - thanks for doing the driving Dad! We stayed in Concord for three days in a hotel across the street from a Hendrick car dealership. I've never been to an All-Star race before so this was a brand new experience for me. The best part, however, was that all three Team Penske cars made the cut for the race.
I wasn't taking notes since I was in attendance but here are the parts that stick out to me the most: Joey Logano running up front most of the race, Brad Keselowski wrecking halfway through and coming to a stop near pit road before being towed away. Logano at one point was bumped by Kyle Larson into the wall and the next thing I knew, Larson was flying across the front stretch in front of me.
As for Ryan Blaney, he had at least one pit stop for damages that night. (I had no sound and only saw him pit out of sequence during a green flag run.) I did, however, have my scanner set to Logano's radio and I can proudly say he was laughing most of the race, having a great time and even, at one point, said he wished they had more races where they raced without points on the line because he was having so much fun.
This was my first time listening to TJ Majors as Logano's spotter and, I must say, he does a wonderful job. It was very fun and interesting to listen to.
Logano finished the race in 3rd, Blaney in 15th and Keselowski in 20th.
There was a new aero package being tested Saturday night and I very much enjoyed watching from the stands. I hope to see the package more often. What did you guys think of the package? Of the race itself? Let me know and send me a Tweet.
Team Penske Quick Fact: Logano, Blaney and Keselowski were all qualified for the All-Star race before the Open.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
May 12th, 2018
That's right it's another night race! This time at Kansas Speedway. During Michael Waltrip's pre-race Grid Walk, he gave out a handful of flowers to several of the driver's wives that have children.
Ryan Blaney qualified highest of the Team Penske bunch, on the front row in 2nd. Teammate Brad Keselowski was a few rows behind in 5th and Joey Logano rounded out the Penskes in 9th.
The green flag flew for the first time Saturday night at 8:12 pm. Blaney held on to 2nd on the first lap trying to hold off Kyle Busch, Keselowski was able to move up a spot, Logano moved up two.
Aric Almirola took 4th from Keselowski and Logano was lined up behind Keselowski in 6th place.
The competition caution was called on lap thirty-one. All three Penskes pitted. Keselowski was loose on entry and exit. Blaney got four tires, gas and an air pressure adjustment during his stop.On the restart Blaney was on the front row with Keselowski starting behind him in 3rd, and Logano was close behind.
Almirola was on Logano's bumper lap sixty-one threatening to pass but Logano held him off. On the last lap of the stage Blaney got loose fighting for the stage win against Kevin Harvick. His efforts paid off with Blaney taking the stage win. Keselowski finished the stage in 3rd and Logano in 4th.
During his stage interview driving around under caution, Blaney was motioning with his hands as he talked inside the car.
Blaney restarted on the front row in 2nd, Keselowski in 3rd, and Logano in 5th. On the restart Harvick pulled away, Keselowski flew into 2nd, lining up Penske 2-3-4, with Blaney and Logano rounding it out. Blaney battled with Keselowski for second and took the spot, with Logano catching up. Logano battled with Keselowski and took the 3rd place spot from his teammate, and Keselowski set to work trying to hold off Larson. Keselowski faded back and Larson nabbed 4th place.
Keselowski reported that the car was really tight and basically wouldn't turn. Todd Gordon, Logano's crew chief spoke with Larry McReynolds and said the three Penskes usually had similar setups. They wanted to be able to compete with Stewart-Haas Racing cars, so they were committed to trying something different than his teammates and McReynolds pointed at their Talladega win sticker indicating that he thought it was a good choice.
Kyle Larson battled with Logano for many laps, pressuring Logano into trying several different lines. Larson dove down the track lap one-o-two and Jeff Gordon called it a "slide job" (a dirt track term) and Logano sped up and took his spot back.
When Larson tried it again he made the pass, and Logano got on his bumper but Larson held him off. Two laps later Blaney reported that the 12 was more loose this run than it was the previous one. Keselowski believed he had a loose wheel and Paul Wolfe told him if he needed to pit they could afford it, he did and was correct about the wheel, lap one-twelve he was in one-twenty-three.
We were under commercial when Logano was passed for 5th. Blaney inherited the lead when Harvick pitted on lap one-twenty-five and Blaney hit pit road a lap later, smoking his tires on the way in after hitting the apron too hard. Logano followed suit on one-twenty-six.
Blaney came back off pit road in 4th, and Logano in 8th, he took 7th a few laps later after taking a wide pass around Almirola. Logano took 5th place on one-forty-three, Blaney was in 3rd and Keselowski was in 24th.
The second stage ended with Blaney in 3rd, Logano in 5th and Keslowski in 24th. Blaney restarted in the second row in 3rd, Logano in 5th and Keselowski in 27th. Larson shot out to take the lead, so Blaney battled with Harvick for 2nd.
When the commentators picked winners, Mike Joy picked Blaney to win.
With fifty-five to go in the KC Masterpiece 400 Blaney was in 2nd, Logano in 3rd, and Keselowski in 24th. Logano pitted with fifty-three to go, a few laps after Blaney.
The caution came out one lap two-thirty-six to go when Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez collided. Both lead lap Penskes pitted, Blaney restarted in 3rd, Logano in 4th and Keselowski in 23rd.
Blaney got loose going down one of the straightaways and Logano took the opportunity of the leaders fighting to sneak into 2nd. Then he went on his mission to hunt down Harvick in 1st. Keselowski was up a spot in 22nd on lap two-forty-five.
Blaney pushed past Larson with twenty laps left in the race and the two collided half a lap later pulling the caution. Blaney went straight to the garage. The first six cars on the track stayed out, including Logano, who was on the front row in 1st next to Martin Truex Jr. after Harvick pitted.
Three wide for the lead on the restart, Truex took the lead, Logano drafted with him and took 2nd. The race went red after a wreck between William Byron, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Ryan Newman, Ty Dillon, Matt Kenseth, and Jamie McMurray that had Byron in the air - everyone was able to climb out on their own.
The red flag lasted thirteen minutes before going yellow again. The race went green again with nine laps left in the race with Logano in 2nd place, Keselowski in 14th. Truex shot out to take the lead, and Logano went down the track and fought with Denny Hamlin for 2nd.
Then it was a fight for 3rd as Harvick zoomed back into 2nd. Logano held onto 3rd and pulled away from Hamlin.
Logano finished in 3rd place, Keselowski in 14th and Blaney in 37th.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
April 29th, 2018
Talladega is such a big track that little groups of cars need to stick together to find speed and, typically, it’s by manufacturer.
Team Penske Quick Fact: In case you missed it, Saturday was the 2nd annual Drivers Only broadcast. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Blaney were all a part of the program. Logano was in the booth with Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer. Keselowski was in the Hollywood Hotel alongside Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Blaney was in the pits with Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and Erik Jones. Click here to view some of the best moments.
It’s been thirty-six races since Joey Logano has been to Victory Lane. Logano finally broke this streak on Sunday when he conquered Talladega. Logano began the GEICO 500 highest of the Team Penske teammates in 9th. Brad Keselowski was directly behind him in 10th and newest team member Ryan Blaney started in the back in 23rd.
The race went green and Logano sailed into 4th place almost immediately, Blaney moved up into 17th and Keselowski fell into 11th.
Keselowski was the highest car on the track to have already pitted by lap twenty-three in 17th. The only problem was that he had debris on the nose of the 2. He was told by the team he needed to move up the track and try to knock it off. Logano was glued to Keselowski’s bumper and, if Harvick could catch up, their little group would have more speed.
With only twelve laps left in the first stage, the Chevy group pitted, pushing the Ford and Toyota mixed pack back up front. Keselowski assumed the lead, Logano directly behind him and Blaney in 8th.
As the laps continued to wind down, Keselowski was warned to keep his engine temps down, and the 2 team kept them down enough to win the first stage. Logano finished the stage in 2nd, and Blaney in 7th.
The GEICO 500 went green once more and Keselowski surged ahead to keep his lead. Logano started to fade back in the outside line, but Paul Menard and Blaney were behind him to keep him from falling too far back. While Logano worked to play catch up with his other teammates, Keselowski was preoccupied keeping his lead away from William Byron. After a bit of battling, Byron took the lead, but Keselowski wouldn’t let that stop him. The 2 and 22 pushed forward, with Keselowski resuming his position as race leader, and Blaney continued to fade back into 10th.
On lap sixty-three a large portion of Fords -including Logano and Keselowski- made the decision to pit. Blaney took the next pitting opportunity with the Chevy group. Darrell Waltrip had said earlier in the race if drivers "...pit by themselves they won't have the benefit of the draft and will fade back." So it was better for Blaney to pit with the Chevy drivers than to pit by himself.
Keselowski was caught speeding on pit road during his stop and had to serve a penalty. Thankfully, two other cars also had penalties so Keselowski didn’t get stuck by himself. While serving his penalty, Keselowski asked his team to “Tell Joey I didn’t get into the pits very well last time, tell him I’m gonna be a little more conservative next time, not overly, just a little."
As the race wore on, Matt DiBenedetto got a chance to take over the lead. He was almost thirty seconds ahead of Logano due to pit stops.
The first wreck induced caution was thrown on lap seventy-two. Jones, Martin Truex Jr., Trevor Bayne, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray were all involved. The wreck wasn’t the notorious "Big One". That would come closer to the end of the race.
DiBenedetto pitted, handing the lead over to Logano and, on the restart, Logano defended his lead. Jimmie Johnson led a second line and was trying to make a pass for the lead and Keselowski was only a few cars behind. Logano did a valiant job holding onto the lead until about fourteen to go in the stage when Denny Hamlin claimed the lead.
It was this time when Keselowski got super loose and went almost sideways into the turn. He saved it, however, and continued on. Alliance member Menard battled with Hamlin for the lead with Logano and Blaney right behind for support. Menard’s outside line pulled ahead, but Keselowski started falling back, in desperate need of new tires.
Menard held on for his first ever stage win with Logano and Blaney behind him, in 2nd and 3rd. Logano stuck his hand out the driver window of the 22 to give Menard a thumbs up in congratulations.
Blaney restarted on the front row, would try to hold off Byron and eventually settle into 2nd place. Logano wasn’t far behind in 5th and Keselowski was trailing behind them in 6th. While Logano worked on 4th place, Keselowski was scooting into 10th.
As the commentators picked drivers to win, D. Waltrip announced he was picking Logano to win, and Mike Joy chose Menard, the only Penske associated drivers chosen. The caution came soon after these picks, for debris this time, and it went green with fifty-five laps left in the race. The Penske group was bunched up with Logano in 5th, Keselowski in 6th and Blaney in 7th.
The race went three wide for the lead, with Logano a part of the spectacle. Hamlin took over the lead with Kasey Kahne behind him, Logano and Blaney were close on their bumpers. A lap later, Keselowski caught up to his other two Penske teammates.
Logano took over the lead once more with fifty-laps left and Keselowski maneuvered into 2nd. The teammates fought with each other over the lead and Blaney crept closer as the seconds ticked by. The three Penskes jumped into line, the inside line, as Daniel Suarez led the outside line toward them. Logano and Suarez went back and forth before Hamlin (with the middle line in tow) surged forward, becoming Logano’s newest challenge.
Logano pulled ahead of both lines and the outside and middle line fought with each other to keep up. Aric Almirola (newly appointed Ford driver as of this season) took his shot for the lead and Logano dove in front of him to block.
Then all of Logano Nation’s hearts skipped a beat as Logano reported a vibration that had slowly been getting worse and was now moving into the steering wheel. Timmy Hill brought out the caution with thirty-four to go in the race. Despite the vibration, the 22 team made the call to stay out.
After some position swapping, Logano pulled away in the lead and there were several rows behind him going four wide. As we know, that never works out and the "Big One" happened with less than twenty-three laps left. Both Keselowski and Blaney were involved. Keselowski was done for the day, Blaney was back in 22nd.
The race restarted for the final time with Logano in the lead and he pulled ahead to stay in the lead. Logano held onto his lead, going on to take his 19th career win. 2018 has now become his seventh consecutive year with at least one win.
This was Penske’s seventh win out of the last thirteen Talladega races. One of the first things Logano said was that he was relieved and that he wouldn’t wait this long for the second.
For the first time ever, Logano was able to celebrate in Victory Lane with his son Hudson Logano who was born earlier this year in January. The only drivers to have repeat wins so far this season have won three in a row. Is it Logano's turn for three in a row? Tune in to FOX Sunday, May 5th and Saturday, May 12th to find out!
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
April 21st, 2018
Team Penske's Joey Logano was the defending champion of the Spring RIchmond race heading into the weekend. It has been one year to the day that Logano has won a race, and that race was encumbered meaning he did not receive playoff benefits from the win. Logano went on to miss the playoffs last year and had an average finish of 15.2.
So far this season Logano's average finish has been 7.3, a big improvement. Last season Logano only had 17 top 10s in the entire season. Since then the 22 team has been working to make changes to improve the team. Logano qualified 3rd for Saturday night's race and won both Stage one and Stage two in the Toyota Owners 400 before ending the race in 4th, the highest of the Penske's finishes on Saturday.
Brad Keselowski was behind Logano with the second highest finishing position, in 8th. Keselowski started furthest back of the Penske group in 28th. He spent the first stage working toward the front of the pack and eventually broke into the top 10. During a wreck on lap 355, Keselowski narrowly avoided Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the wreck.
Ryan Blaney finished the race in 22nd, after getting involved in a wreck halfway through the Toyota Owners 400. Blaney started the day in 13th. He rode around near the 15th position for most of the race, until the crash. Blaney was sporting the Dex Imaging paint scheme during the Richmond race - the red paint scheme will be showing up for a small number of races this season.
This was the second race Blaney had the 12 scheme with Dex as his primary sponsor. It probably made you look twice if you've ever watched a K&N race because, ironically, Harrison Burton drives a very similar Dex scheme for a 12 car, only for a Toyota and not for a Ford.
Next weekend's race is in Talladega, we all know how those races end- tons of cautions and lots of clean up!
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
April 15th-16th, 2018
Bristol Motor Speedway is personally one of my favorite tracks. I love short track racing quite a bit. One thing I don’t love though, is rain. And boy did it rain this past weekend.
I woke up Sunday to read the race was moved from two o’clock to one o’clock, and so I hunkered down in front of the television set for a long day of rain delays. Turns out I got to sit in front of my TV for two days of rain delays. (Not that I’m complaining, I got two days of great racing and great interviews.)
The bad luck continued, however, at the end of stage one. I was happily watching Ryan Blaney’s 12 car make it’s way around the circuit in the lead when some lapped cars spun and Blaney got caught up in it with eight laps to the stage end. There were several red flags for wrecks and rain this weekend and this wasn’t the first or the last.
Brad Keselowski got the next dose of bad luck. He’d called his front left tire going down and laps later he lost it, sparks everywhere as he navigated to pit road. Joey Logano didn’t catch a break either, with around twelve laps left in the race he had tire rub, and at one point the tire was even smoking. Logano managed to still snag a top-ten finishing position by handling the car well.
It was rainy, sleety, and even snowy at the track this weekend. As much as I hate rain delays there's something that’s kind of fun about them. I love being able to hear the drivers talk and goof around just for the fun of it. The commentators and TV reporters all do a great job keeping us entertained at home. But as much fun as it was, let’s not do this again next weekend.
What are your thoughts on rain delays? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Don’t mind ‘em? Let me know I’m curious about YOUR thoughts.
Despite the bad luck, Penske drivers continued to have fun both during and after the race:
In other news, last year the Pocono Xfinity race was covered by Cup drivers, and it was so fun to watch. This season they get another chance but it's at Talladega. All three Penske teammates are included in the mix of drivers picked.
The best part of the broadcast last year was that Keselowski won the Xfinity race and Blaney interviewed him and then Blaney won the Cup race and Jamie Little handed over the mic to Keselowski for a legendary interview.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
April 8th, 2018
Ryan Blaney started Sunday's O'Reilly 500 in 4th place, coming off an Xfinity win the day before. When Blaney wins he gives the checkered flag to a kid in the stands through the fence. That's true heroism if you ask me.
The race was off to a yellow-y start. The first caution hit the track on lap three when Alex Bowman went spinning up the track, taking Daniel Suarez and a few other guys with him. Blaney was up to 3rd when the caution hit and that was just the start of a back and forth day.
Blaney moved up to 2nd a while after the race went green and took his first green flag stop of the day in lap forty-four. He had an uncontrolled tire in the pit box and had to serve a penalty, putting him a lap down. As the stops cycled through Blaney was down two laps and when the last car finally pitted he'd worked his laps back. He was in 16th when the caution flew again, this time claiming Martin Truex Jr., Blaney finished the stage in 16th.
The 12 car was (ironically) in 12th when the race went green and Blaney worked his way back into the top ten with a 9th place spot. Kyle Larson was the next to bring out the yellow, because of a loose wheel, same reason as Truex. Blaney wasn't safe from the standardized pit gun's terror either, he had to pit for a loose wheel with thirty laps left in the second stage. He would finish the stage in 16th.
The raced went red on lap one-seventy-eight. Eventual race winner Kyle Busch had been fading backward, cars were darting around him. Denny Hamlin bumped into Aric Almirola sending them both sideways. Austin Dillon, Blaney's teammate Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Trevor Bayne and David Ragan were all involved in this racing incident.
Blaney was sailing in 10th on lap one-eighty-five, and when there were only ninety-nine laps left in the race Paul Menard hit the wall. The caution would come out again when Ryan Newman hit the wall with twenty-nine laps left in the O'Reilly 500. Blaney would continue working toward the front of the pack and take a 5th place finish.
After a crazy day at Texas filled with loose tires, the mandated standardized pit guns got some pretty harsh backlash from a couple of drivers. I'm curious, what do you lovely readers think about the pit gun troubles?
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
March 26th, 2018
The last time a Cup race was snowed out was in 1993 at Atlanta, and for Xfinity it was 2006 in Bristol. This past weekend however both Martinsville Cup race and Truck were snowed out. The Cup race didn't go green until Monday afternoon after 2 o'clock.
Joey Logano began the race in 3rd, Brad Keselowski in 4th and Ryan Blaney in 6th. Stage one was one-thirty laps. On the start of the race Darrel Waltrip from the booth said "Boogity Boogity Boogity lets go racing hotdogs!" Martinsville is also famous for their chili dogs. Logano, Keselowksi and Blaney all worked together on the start. Blaney "locked up his left front tire getting into the corner" and held off Denny Hamlin. Hamlin got a run off turn two and took the spot from Blaney.
Hamlin had his bumper on Logano but moved him to take 3rd. The commentators talked about how the drivers don't look at the speed at Martinsville they listen to the engine and when it reaches a certain point, the drivers back off. Blaney took 5th from Keselowski, but Keselowski was getting up the track in the corners.
There was a competition caution scheduled for lap fifty. Lap thirty Logano passed Martin Truex Jr. for 3rd place. All three Penske car drivers like their car set up a little bit different, even though they had been running so close together.
Cars began getting lapped on lap thirty-five. Logano glued his car to Kyle Busch's bumper as they navigated through the traffic.
Lap forty-four Keselowski started to pressure teammate Logano for 3rd place. Keselowski would take the position on lap forty-seven.
The caution flag waved on lap fifty for the competition caution as planned.
Blaney fell back from 3rd to 4th on the restart. Keselowski moved up to 3rd and Logano was back in 7th after a slow pit stop. Truex stole 4th from Blaney on lap sixty-one.
Kevin Harvick took 7th from Logano.
Keselowski battled Ky Busch for 2nd and took it lap eighty-seven. Blaney then went after Ky Busch as well, and he would also take the spot. With fifteen laps left in stage one Logano tried to hold onto 10th place for the final stage point.
Keselowski had Hamlin on the inside but couldn't complete the pass. Blaney however, was on Keselowski's bumper and was preparing to make a pass.
Logano passed Truex for 9th with six to go in the stage, leaving Truex to fend off Jimmie Johnson for the final stage point.
Keselowski finished the stage in 2nd, Blaney in 3rd and Logano in 9th.
Blaney restarted on the front row with Keselowski right behind him. Hamlin took the lead, but Blaney put up a fight for it. Keselowski battled with Ky Busch for 3rd, and Logano was locked in a battle for 8th.
Blaney continued to fight with Hamlin for the lead, and took it on lap one-forty-six.
Keselowski took 2nd from Hamlin lap thirty two of the stage two segment.
Logano battled with Harvick wanting to take his 8th place position.
Blaney continued to lead on lap sixty-four of stage two. Keselowski was in 2nd, almost two seconds behind with Logano in 8th.
Eventual race winner, Clint Bowyer took 2nd from Keselowski and tried going after Blaney.
Blaney continued to lap cars, and Keselowski fought to hold off Ky Busch. Busch took the 3rd place spot from Keselowski. With seventeen to go in stage two Blaney was doing his best to hold off Bowyer, he'd been leading for a hundred and five laps at that point and didn't want to give it up.
Keselowski in 4th, was still holding off Hamlin. Logano was in 9th and trying to catch up to AJ Allmendinger who was in 8th. Hamlin moved Keselowski with ten to go, but Keselowski wouldn't have it. He passed Hamlin and took his spot back, then continued to battle with him for the position.
Blaney got stuck behind a lapped car and Bowyer caught up to his bumper. Blaney jumped to the top line and managed to avoid losing his spot, he went on to win the stage a turn later.
Blaney finished the 2nd stage in first, Keselowski finished in 4th and Logano finished in 9th.
On the way to pit road Blaney accidentally made contact with Erik Jones.
Blaney restarted on the top line and beat Ky Busch for the lead.
Matt DiBennedetto hit the wall and got a flat and hit pit road before the race could go yellow.
Bowyer made a move and passed Blaney, and Keselowski fell back to 7th. Logano was stuck in 9th place and trying to hold off Johnson. Johnson was really pressuring Logano for the spot.
Johnson took 10th from Logano on lap two-nintey-four. Blaney was fading back, the 12 car was tight.
Three-fifteen Logano started pressuring Johnson for his 10th place spot back. Three-twenty-four the battle continued but Aric Almirola pressured Logano from behind. Logano loosened Johnson up and Almirola flew past the both of them taking advantage of their battle.
Jamie McMurray hit the wall three-eighty-five, pulling the caution.
On the restart, Blaney was in 4th, Logano was back in 8th, right behind Keselowski. Blaney fought with Kurt Busch to hold the spot. Allmendinger let Logano pass for 9th, on lap four-hundred.
Logano nudged Ku Busch, and worked on getting around him. Ku Busch got loose and Logano moved into 7th, just behind Keselowski.
Logano took 6th from Keselowski with forty laps left in the race. Blaney was still in 3rd.
Alex Bowman fought with Keselowski for 7th, he'd take the spot.
Allmendinger bumped Keselowski hard to steal his spot but Keselowski bumped him back. Keselowski fought with Chase Elliott for 9th place.
Blaney finished in 3rd, Logano in 6th and Keselowski in 10th.
Team Penske Quick Fact: Martinsville is the shortest track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
March 18th, 2018
Joey Logano started the Fontana race in 6th, Ryan Blaney in 8th and Brad Keselowski in 11th. Logano won the Xfinity race the day before and was looking to sweep the weekend. Logano moved up to 4th, Blaney to 7th and Keselowski was in 10th after the initial start.
Keselowski chased down Ryan Newman for 8th on lap three, and Logano was hunting down Erik Jones for 2nd. Harvick was closing in on Keselowski lap six, Harvick takes the spot. Keselowski fighting to catch back up. Keselowski said the 2 was driving really well and the exit was fantastic. Lap twelve Larson took 4th from Logano, then Harvick took 5th from him.
Keselowski was up to 7th by lap twenty-five. Logano pitted lap twenty-six, his strategy to split the stage in half. Older tires are not your friend in Fontana. Blaney pitted lap twenty-eight, Keselowski pitted a lap later.
Logano was in 3rd after pit stops, Keselowski in 7th and Blaney in 9th.
Logano was back in 5th, and Keselowski 6th on lap thirty-five.
Kevin Harvick went sideways on lap twenty-three after contact with Kyle Larson. Logano and Keselowski both pitted. Logano restarted in 3rd behind teammate Keselowski, and Blaney was in 6th.
With fourteen laps left in stage one Keselowski was running down Kyle Busch who was in 2nd place. Logano was in 3rd and Keselowski tried taking it back. Keselowski took it back just as Blaney got tight and kissed the wall. Blaney had to pit to fix the damage. Blaney was in 32nd, the first car down a lap.
Logano finished stage one in 3rd, Keselowski right behind him in 4th and Blaney was in 32nd still. Blaney got a penalty for having too many men over the wall. Logano shot out to keep his lead, Keselowski trying to catch up. Keselowski held onto 4th place, Blaney was in 30th, down one lap after his penalty.
Martin Truex Jr. was hunting down Logano on lap seventy-seven, on seventy-nine he took the spot. Logano wouldn't give up though, he'd continue to go after Truex. Ky Busch took 2nd from Logano and Logano chased him down.
Logano pitted lap eighty-eight, Keselowski pitted lap ninety-one. Logano was back up to 5th as pits cycled through, down a lap. He also had the fastest pit stop of the day with 13.7 seconds. The booth talked about it with twenty-two laps left in stage two.
Keselowski got a run and moved up to 5th passing Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones.
Trevor Bayne brought out the caution with eleven laps to go. Logano pitted and was saying he was still struggling on corner entry.
The race went green with seven to go in the stage.
Keselowski took it 3 wide and made a pass for 2nd, and Logano took it four wide a few car lengths back. Keselowski finished the second stage (ironically) in 2nd, Logano finished in 6th, and Blaney in 19th.
After a crazy restart wth three wides, four wides and even a momentary six wide, Keselowski was in 3rd, Logano was in 4th. The race went yellow almost instantly, David Ragan had a flat and couldn't make it to pit road.
Logano shot up to take 3rd, but Keselowski got a run and snuck past him. Logano and Truex made contact twice after taking turns being tight.
With fifty-one laps left in the race, Keselowski was in 3rd, Logano in 5th and Blaney was in 15th. Matt DiBenedetto hit the wall, but the race stayed green.
Keselowski hit pit road for the suspected final time with thirty-seven laps left in the race. Keselowski fought with Kyle Larson with thirty-three to go.
With twenty-two laps left in the race Blaney broke back into the top 10. Keselowski was in 4th and Logano in 5th. With fourteen laps left in the race Logano was running faster lap times than Keselowski right in front of him.
Blaney was battling with William Byron and Jimmie Johnson for 8th, he'd hold off Byron and take it. Darrell Waltrip commented with five laps left saying both Keselowski and Logano were having good runs.
Logano and Keselowski were fighting for 4th place - Keselowski holding it, Logano wanting it.
Keselowski would hold onto it and finish in 4th, Logano in 5th, and Blaney in 8th.
Team Penske Quick Fact: Every Penske had a special scheme today. Keselowski had Wurth, Logano had Auto Club and Blaney had PPG.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
March 11th, 2018
NASCAR went West last week in Las Vegas, this week NASCAR Nation was in Phoenix. Now named ISM Raceway, ISM will be undergoing lots of construction before the fall race. There will be more grandstand seats and the start/finish line is moving along with some other adjustments.
In Sunday's Ticket Guardian 500 Team Penske came home with a 15th place finish from Brad Keselowski, a 16th place finish from Ryan Blaney and an 18th place finish from Joey Logano. There was a competition caution scheduled for lap thirty-six.
Logano qualified highest of the group in 5th, Blaney qualified 12th and Keselowski was starting back in 25th. The race kicked off and Logano settled into 7th place after the green flag, Keselowski fell back to 32nd and on lap five Blaney battled William Byron for 11th place which he eventually took.
On lap nine Jamie McMurray stole 7th from Logano, and two laps later (eventual race winner) Kevin Harvick took 8th. On that same lap Keselowski had successfully advanced to 28th place. Erik Jones passed Logano for 9th on lap twenty, Daniel Suarez taking 10th on twenty-three.
Keselowski was in 23rd on lap twenty-one and showing no signs of slowing his roll towards the front of the pack. After contact with AJ Allmendinger on lap twenty-four Blaney fell back to 20th.
Logano radioed in saying that the #22 was 'out of control on corner entry'. He was very loose. Logano would receive adjustments sooner than expected because Corie LaJoie brought out the day's first caution on lap twenty-five, and NASCAR announced it would serve as the competition caution and that drivers could get fuel if they chose to do so. Todd Gordon, Logano's crew chief called for air pressure adjustments, fuel and four tires. Penske said on Twitter that it was an incredibly fast stop.
Keselowski also capitalized on the caution to make some much needed adjustments and took two tires. The gamble sent him up to 6th place for the restart. He battled Logano on the restart and the two made unintentional contact.
On lap thirty-nine, Logano held off McMurray, who was trying to make a pass. On fourty-three Blaney was up to 17th place. Around this time Chase Elliott swerved around Logano and took 7th place, and would take 6th from Keselowski as well. Kurt Busch took 8th from Logano with seven laps left in the stage after the two had battled it out for several laps.
Keselowski finished stage one in 7th, Logano finished the stage 9th and Blaney in 19th. All three of them would pit.
Blaney reported having the same issues this run as he did in the first. Denny Hamlin was sandwiched between Logano (5th) and Keselowski (7th). Logano reported the car being much better than it had been the previous run.
Blaney took 19th from Austin Dillon and a few laps later Dillon practically turned Blaney sideways, sending him backward in the field. Lap forty-seven of stage two Kyle Larson got loose and spun bringing out the caution. All three Penske's would pit. Logano would lose six spots.
Keselowski, however, restarted in the lead and kept it for a few laps before Ku Busch took over. Logano fell back to 12th, Larson and Blaney made contact, and Keselowski was back to 6th on lap sixty-one of stage two. Chris Buescher pulled out the caution with four to go until the end of the stage. Keselowski was in 2nd, Blaney 14th and Logano 16th.
In the last run Blaney reported having no turn off the corners, he was in 10th. Around lap one-seventeen Paul Menard brought out yet another caution.
Toward the middle of the run, Keselowski shot out and passed a lot of the cars, even Logano. With sixty-five left Logano was in 20th and Blaney in 17th. With fifty-five to go Blaney pits, fifty-two Logano follows for green flag pit stops. Keselowski didn't pit until there was twenty-seven laps in the race left, and by this point half the field was down a lap.
With sixteen laps left in the race, Logano was the first car down a lap, he wouldn't get it back before the race ended. Logano took home an 18th place finish behind teammates Blaney in 16th and Keselowski who finished 15th.
Team Penske Quick Fact: Brad Keselowski won the Xfinity race the day before.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
March 4th, 2018
Ryan Blaney started the race on the pole position, Brad Keselowski started in 8th and Joey Logano in 10th. Blaney immediately shot out to take the lead on the initial start of the race and would lead the first lap.
Kevin Harvick lived up to his "Closer" nickname and took the lead from Blaney a lap later. Logano fought to hold off Erik Jones and keep his 4th place spot, but fell back towards 11th as the race progressed. Logano held off Kyle Busch for the position while Keselowski was in 8th.
Logano reported the 22 car was a little tight during the run, and at lap thirty-eight Logano started the green flag pit stop. He received new tires and his teammates followed him down pit road. Logano was back up to 8th by lap forty-eight, Blaney was in 5th and Keselowski was right behind him in 6th. With eight to go in stage 1, Penske was 4-5-6 Blaney, Keselowski, Logano. They would finish the stage in that order and all would pit.
Logano restarted in 3rd, Blaney 4th, Keselowski 7th. Blaney took 2nd immediately. On lap fourteen of stage two, Keselowski passed Ky Busch. On lap forty-one of the second stage Logano hit pit road. Keselowski followed on lap forty-two and the next lap Blaney came in too.
WIth twenty-eight to go in stage 2 Logano was in 3rd. The 2nd stage was pretty tame from what I can tell (had to drive home during the middle). The stage ended with Blaney in 2nd, Logano in 4th and Keselowski in 6th.
All three of the boys pitted on lap ninety-one when Jamie McMurray hit the wall and brought out the caution. Logano restarted on the outside line in 2nd place. During the caution he only took two tires. The leader Martin Truex Jr. took no tires and the rest of the field took four. Logano fought with Truex for the lead for half a lap but ultimately took the lead for a lap.
Eighty-four to go and Kurt Busch spun sideways taking Chase Elliott out with him. The commentators picked their winners for the race. Jeff Gordon picked Blaney and Larry MacReynolds took Logano.
Logano restarted in 1st but fell in 2nd, and Blaney took 2nd from him before he moved back to 3rd because of his older tires. With forty-nine laps left in the race Keselowski reported being too free.
Six laps later Logano and Blaney pitted. Keselowski was in 2nd place with twenty-two laps left in the race, Logano was in 7th and Blaney was in 4th. Two laps later Ky Busch took 2nd from Keselowski.
Blaney and Keselowski start battling for 3rd place with seventeen laps to go. With eight to go Keselowski had tires that were ten laps older than the other drivers.
Ryan Blaney finished the race in 5th, Brad Keselowski in 6th and Joey Logano in 7th.
Team Penske Quick Fact: This is the first race since expanding to a three car team where all three Penskes finished in the top 10.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
February 25th, 2018
The second track on the Cup schedule is Atlanta Motor Speedway. Atlanta is a mile and a half track and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is 325 laps. The first rain delay of the year hit and the race didn't get started until 3:30pm ET.
Brad Keselowski started the race in 5th. Joey Logano started the race in 16th and Ryan Blaney in 26th. The race went green and the cars dispersed into the first turn, Keselowski was in 4th place on lap five, Logano was in 16th.
There was a competition caution scheduled for lap thirty because of the rain delay. Lap eleven and Blaney was in 11th. Blaney's car had a new paint scheme for the weekend courtesy of Dex Imaging. His car is the 12 this season, and with the Dex scheme it's easy to think "Harrison Burton" when they both drive the 12 Dex Imaging car. Burton is the 2017 K&N East Champion, it's weird seeing the car in Cup as well.
Keselowski fell back into 6th as two cars flew by on lap fourteen. Logano was in 13th on twenty-one, Keselowski hadn't moved and Blaney was right behind Logano in 14th. Lap twenty-six Logano was in 11th, Keselowski back two more spots in 8th, and Blaney in13th.
Logano's spotter TJ Majors told Logano he was, "doing well staying in the bottom lane." Logano reported that the 22 was a little tight. The competition caution came out and all the Team Penske boys, along with the rest of the field, pitted. Blaney got four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment and the same thing for his teammate Logano.
Logano restarted in 4th and made a big pass around Martin Truex Jr. and went after Ryan Newman. Keselowski found a bit of speed himself and moved up to 6th, and tried to pass Kurt Busch on lap thirty-eight. Blaney was in 14th and fighting to make moves on lap fourty-two.
Lap fourty-seven Logano fought off Ku Busch, but both Busch brothers passed him. Clint Bowyer sailed by him on lap fifty-five, Keselowski was right behind Logano in 8th. Blaney was in fifteenth.
Keselowski passed Logano and on lap fifty-eight Logano fought for his 7th place spot and tried to hold off Aric Almirola. Newman tried to pass Logano on the high line lap sixty-one, but Logano manuevered around a lapped car to hold on. It worked for the time being. Almirola passed Joey on lap sixty-three. Keselowski's 2 team compared their car to Kevin Harvick's. They were comparing where in the turns Harvick was getting out of the gas and trying to mimic his moves to get more speed.
Logano was back in 9th with eleven to go in the stage, Keselowski was in 5th and Blaney was in 14th. Logano thought he had a right front going down, but he decided it might be a brake problem. He then reported his brakes were vibrating. Logano liked to run the yellow line, but the front of the car was tearing a little on the apron. He was making up ground and getting downforce but the left front of the splitter was a little damaged.
The 31 bumped the wall. The caution didn't come out but Newman hit pit road for repairs. Keselowski held off Truex with four to go in stage one, fighting for his 3rd place spot. Logano was back in 10th on the last two laps of the stage, he had the Coca-Cola onboard camera and Fox was using it a lot. We were getting to see lots of Joey in this race. Keselowski finished the first stage in 3rd getting seven points, Logano in 10th getting one. Blaney was out of the top ten, in 13th.
Keselowski, Logano and Blaney all pitted. Keselowski was the first off pit road, Logano in 9th. Both of them would restart in the previously mentioned positions, Blaney would restart in 15th. Logano got four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment on his stop. Blaney just took tires and fuel.
On the restart, Keselowski shot out to keep his lead. Logano passed into 8th, Blaney fell to 18th. Logano was back in 9th but caught up to the two cars in front of him, Denny Hamlin and Almirola, and tried to fight to take Almirola's spot. Keselowski ran his personal best lap of the race on lap ninety-nine. Toward the end of stage one Keselowski had been running close to the 2nd fastest laps on the track.
Logano took 8th from Almirola finally a couple of laps later. Keselowski fought to hold onto his lead, but Ku Busch ultimately took the lead from him.
Keselowski was three wide but Ku Busch kept the lead, and Harvick passed Keselowski too, putting Brad in 3rd. Logano hit pit road on lap one-twenty-seven with Blaney close behind. Green flag pit stops had begun. Keselowski followed Harvick down pit road two laps later. Blaney got a penalty for having too many pit crew guys over the wall.
Once stops had cycled through, Keselowski was back up to 3rd, Logano back in 9th and Blaney in 17th. They were down a lap until Kyle Busch hit pit road on lap one-thirty-one. Everyone behind 10th place was down a lap, including Blaney in 17th.
Blaney was back on the lead lap after a few more green flag pit stops. With twenty-eight to go in stage two, Keselowski was in 2nd, Logano in 9th and Blaney in 15th.
The caution came out on lap one-fifty-nine, Jimmie Johnson spun, not very long after commentator Mike Joy mentioned the wreck being incident free. The commentators teased each other about Joy taking over for Larry Mac, after the same thing happened a few times to him last season. All three Penske's hit pit road.
Keselowski shot out on the restart, Logano passed Harvick for 4th and tried to hold off Harvick, and Blaney was in 14th. Blaney made a pass on two cars and took 12th.
At the second stage finish Keselowski was in 1st and Logano in 4th. Blaney finished in 12th place. Once more, all Penske's hit pit road. Logano came off pit road in 2nd place and Keselowski in 3rd. Jeff Gordon in the booth dialed into Keselowski's radio and talked to him about his win. Once connected Brad said, "Hey man, whats up?" "Man, just watching someone other than Kevin Harvick lead some laps," Gordon replied.
Logano restarted on the front row, Keselowski in 4th and Blaney in 10th. Joey and Keselowski battled side by side for the 2nd place position as Ku Busch took the lead. Keselowski fell back behind the other Busch brother but took 3rd place back before the first lap back green. Blaney took to 9th place and had to hold off Chase Elliott.
Keselowski passed Logano on lap one-eighty-one. Logano kept 3rd and Keselowski went after Busch brother #41. Harvick passed Logano without much effort since his car's been going like ten miles an hour faster than everyone else's the whole race.
Larry Mac picked Keselowski to win the race while Joy picked Logano to win. Clint Bowyer passed Logano for 6th and Harvick was closing in on Keselowski. Keselowski went after Ku Busch for the lead and started to fight for it while Harvick caught up to both from behind. Keselowski took the lead and left Busch for Harvick to deal with.
The rain started to fall but not hard enough to stop yet. Blaney bumped Suarez a little to move him out of the way, trying to go for 9th. Harvick passed Ku Busch and tried to hunt down Keselowski, but he was running lap times a tenth quicker. Keselowski caught up to lapped cars and Harvick pushed on.
Logano was in 7th place with one-sixteen to go, Blaney in 11th. Keselowski navigated through traffic holding off Harvick. Blaney hit pit road lap one-thirteen and Keselowski did so one lap later.
Logano took over 2nd while waiting to pit. Logano had a better long run car hoping to wait on pit stops, if he can, pulling the typical Penske pit stop strategy of cutting out a stop. Everyone 7th and behind was down a lap including teammate Blaney who was in 12th.
Logano pitted with nintey-nine to go. He moved down to 16th, the first car down a lap.
Logano was running faster laps than Harvick (the leader) but was back thirty-two seconds in 11th. Blaney hit pit road again with seventy-three to go. All day long the 12 was loose, or tight, and they wanted to get it as better as possible. Logano was back up to 5th and Keselowski was down pit road again.
Logano was up to 4th, down only five seconds and then he was in 2nd, with the same gap. Keselowski was in 5th after the stop, Blaney in 13th.
With sixty-five to go Keselowski was in 4th. Harvick passed Logano pushing him to 3rd, and Blaney was still in 13th. Keselowski took 3rd from Logano eight laps later. Blaney who was down a lap passed Logano, trying to catch Harvick who was back in the lead. Logano hit pit road with fifty-one laps left in the race.
Keselowski was in 2nd, Blaney was in 10th down a lap, and Logano was in 13th down one lap. With forty to go, Blaney pitted while Logano moved up to 9th and Keselowski was still in 2nd. Keselowksi pitted with thirty-seven laps left. Hamlin took the lead and as the drivers on pit road lost time, Logano was headed straight for 3rd. Harvick had enough time to at least hold onto 2nd.
AJ Almindinger had a tire go down but the caution didn't go out. Keselowski was fighting for Logano's 3rd place spot, and took it. With twenty-eight to go in the race, the caution came out for Trevor Bayne's 6 car smoking. Bubba Wallace and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact in the smoke. As with every caution, the guys in the booth said, "This changes everything."
Keselowski, and Logano both pitted. Keselowski off 2nd, Logano off in 4th and that is where they would restart with Blaney, who didn't pit, in 13th.
Keselowski and Logano were lined up with each other in the outside lane. Before the race went green Logano and spotter Majors agreed that he wouldn't push Keselowski. Keselowski kept up with Harvick when he shot out on the restart. Logano fell back to 8th. Blaney held onto his 13th place spot.
Logano was in 6th with eighteen to go holding off Kyle Larson. With ten to go, Keselowski was in 2nd, trying to trail down Harvick for the lead, Logano was in 6th and Blaney was in 12th.
Brad Keselowski finished the race in 2nd place, Joey Logano in 6th and Ryan Blaney in 12th, in Atlanta. Next week, NASCAR is going to Las Vegas.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
February 18th, 2018
The time is finally here! The Daytona 500 is a crown jewel NASCAR race. When you win you get your name on the Harley J. Earl Trophy. The only one of the three Penske boys to win the 500 is Joey Logano. He is the youngest to have won the race and took the checkered flag at 25 years old in 2015. Logano is starting 6th place today, Ryan Blaney in 2nd and Brad Keslowski in 31st after wrecking out in the Clash the previous Thursday.
Keselowski honored Bruce Halle on Sunday's Daytona car, Halle was the owner of Discount Tire but unfortunately passed away recently. Keselowski said, "If it wasn't for Bruce... I don't know where I would be." You can read Keselowski's blog post on Halle here.
The race was sold out, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the grand marshal. I should have seen that coming. He did a great job. You can check it out here.
Just before the green flag Blaney thanked his guys for their work, over the radio.
Blaney and Logano pull ahead into 2nd and 3rd, the teammates duck down to the inside lane and Bubba Wallace pulls up ahead. Keselowski broke the 20th place mark on lap four. Logano and Blaney switched spots around in 4th-6th with the cars next to them pulling forward and behind every few seconds. Logano was four wide as he fell back to 10th place.
The caution came out lap nine for Corey LaJoie who had engine issues. All three Penske boys dived down to pit road, Logano restarted in 8th, Keselowski in 13th and Blaney in 15th. Blaney took fuel only. Logano only took fuel as well, but said the car was "tight on the splitter but gets slightly loose under compression when another car is tucked up behind." - Team Penske Twitter.
Logano fell to 11th in the middle of the pack, Blaney was in 10th, Keselowski in 14th. Logano fought back up to 9th place and was up to 4th by lap twenty-two. Blaney was in 10th place at the time. Logano was in 3rd place on lap twenty-nine and Keselowski was in 10th. Blaney was in 6th.
Logano was in 2nd lap thirty-five, Keselowski was in 6th and Blaney was behind him in 7th. Blaney was behind Clint Bowyer and bumped him while Bowyer was slowing down into the turn.
Logano was in 2nd when Chase Elliott bumped him to the side into 3rd behind Elliott and Logano helped push him to the lead to pass Ricky Stenhouse Jr. into 2nd. Logano took the lead from Elliott and fought with him for the spot. Elliott door-slammed Logano, so Logano bumped him out of the way for the lead. Elliott would try again to take the lead but Logano wouldn't give up so easily.
Caution came out on lap fifty when Kyle Busch spun around the bumper of his car ripping it off. Logano and Blaney jumped down pit road. Logano got four tires and a wedge adjustment. Keselowski had a longer pit stop while the crew checked out the splitter. Logano restarted in 12th, with Blaney in 5th.
Logano went three wide and followed Michael McDowell through the middle to move up to 10th. Logano was in the inside when Kyle Larson went sideways and loose-bumped Logano, but neither wrecked. Logano hit pit road before it closed. Blaney pushed up to 3rd and there was a wreck involving Daniel Suarez, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Ty Dillion and Stenhouse.
Ryan Blaney restarted on the front row, Keselowski was back in 6th. Blaney ultimately took the lead while Logano was in 30th, stuck one lap down.
Keselowski took 4th on lap seventy-nine, Blaney holding onto his lead, Logano still stuck in 30th, but he is the first driver a lap down so if he sticks there he should receive the next lucky dog.
Keselowski moved up to 3rd on lap eighty. The caution came out on lap ninety-three when Byron got a flat. Blaney and Keselowski both pitted. A car was lapped just before the yellow flag so Logano didn't get his lap back. Blaney took left side tires on his stop. Logano took four tires and a wedge adjustment on his.
Keselowski and Blaney fought for 2nd place on the restart, Blaney took the lead back, and Keselowski fell into 3rd behind Kevin Harvick. Keselowski passed Harvick and began drafting with Blaney to keep them out front. Harvick got a good run in the bottom lane and was closing in on Keselowski.
Blaney was leading at halfway, lap one hundred. Martin Truex Jr. pushed Keselowski forward, Elliott tried to block but Elliott went sideways. Danica Patrick, Harvick, Keselowski, David Ragan and a few others were included. Logano stopped for a quick repair under caution.
Blaney asked the team after the wreck if it was his fault, since he'd blocked Elliott. He was told it was not. Blaney shot out on the restart keeping his lead. Logano finally had his lap back and moved up to 16th.
Brad Keselowski was out of the 500.
Lap one-fourteen, Logano took 10th place back while Blaney was holding off Paul Menard. Logano moved up to 6th and then made a move up to 4th. Blaney finished the second stage in first!
Logano fishtailed out of his pit box and almost hooked Blaney. Thankfully, they avoided each other. Both of them restarted on the front row, Blaney diving in front of Joey, and their Wood Brothers ally, Menard, behind them. Logano and Blaney duck up to the top line.
The 22 radio line was quiet for a couple lines when crew chief Todd Gordon asked spotter Tj Majors, "Did you take an ice cream break up there?" Majors responded with, "No, just enjoying the sunset!"
Jeff Gordon picked Blaney to win, Darrell Waltrip picked Logano to win the race.
With forty-four laps left in the race, green flag pit stops began to take place. Team Penske waited to pit, however. With thirty-one to go Blaney leads the field up and around a group of lapped cars, Joey on his tail. With twenty-nine to go both down pit road. Logano was speeding going onto pit road and had to serve a penalty. Blaney was quick to get back to the front.
Logano was in 15th with twenty-two to go on the lead lap. He was lapped with fourteen to go. Blaney continued to lead the race.
The caution came out again with ten to go for Byron and Logano who was back on the lead lap. The race went green again with seven laps left in the Daytona 500. Blaney shot out on the start keeping his lead and holding off Kurt Busch. Blaney blocks Denny Hamlin, but is taken three wide by Hamlin and Busch. He falls back a few spots but he fought back to 2nd place.
Blaney got a good run and was backed by the 2nd line. He was then blocked by Busch but wouldn't give up. Logano fought from the back pushing up to the middle, and Blaney fought to take 2nd. Blaney took the lead back again with four to go, Hamlin pushed the 12 and they passed Kurt Busch. Hamlin got Blaney loose but Blaney held on. Hamlin tried to make the pass again. Blaney fell back to 3rd when one of the cars went sideways through the field taking half the cars out. Logano makes it through, just barely.
The race went into overtime due to the huge wreck (you can view below). On the restart, cars feathered out and Logano moved up to 6th with Blaney behind him. Aric Almirola spun and then Austin Dillon won the race. Logano came in 4th and Blaney in 7th. Keselowski is scored in 32nd.
Team Penske Quick Fact: The race was completely sold out.
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
February 15th, 2018
The Can-Am Duels at Daytona both have sixty laps and the first duel sets the evens of the Daytona 500.
As far as covering the duels go, I got lucky! All the Team Penske boys are in the first Duel, so I get to cover a race and relax and watch a race on the same night!
Joey Logano began the duel in 6th, Ryan Blaney in 8th, Brad Keselowski in 10th. Jeff Gordon picked Keselowski to win and Larry McReynolds picked Logano to win before the duel got started.
On the start Logano, Blaney and Keselowski were lined up, Logano lead the first lap with Blaney in 2nd place and Keselowski in 5th. Keselowski moved through the middle to take 3rd, right behind Blaney.
A Penske 1-2-3! on lap three.
"Tonight is all about points and a trophy" Logano said before the race.
The first caution came out when Jimmie Johnson spun, taking out Daniel Suarez, Aric Almirola and David Ragan.
All three Penske's hit pit road for a splash of gas. Logano was off first, Blaney 2nd, and Keselowski in 4th.
Almirola dumped oil on the track and that meant there was a lot of speedy dry as well. The race went green once more on lap fifteen. Logano took the bottom groove and on the start Logano went straight to the lead, the Penske cars still lined up. But due to the bottom line forming, Brad switched back and forther with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.. Keselowski radioed in and said of the 2 car, 'It's loose on the straight away and darty in turn one.'
Lap thirty-nine the next caution came out for William Byron spinning though it didn't look like he had much damage. The Penske boys were still in 1-2-3 at the time of the caution. All three stayed out.
Logano once again took the top line, but Blaney and Kese got passed by Jaimie McMurray and Ryan Newman, breaking up the Penske boys. A few laps later the Penkse bosyw ere back oyt front fending off the Chevy's. All three dumped back up top.
David Gilliland spun lap fourty-eight, after being sucked into Stenhouse's draft, same as Byron a few laps before.
At Disney land over the weekend Ryan had fast passes for one of the rides and as he passed Clint Bowyer in line reached out, shook his hand and said, "Hey Clint Bowyer! Big fan!"
Logano, and Blaney pull away, Keselowski gets a push from Newman and the Penske 1-2-3 pulled forward!
Keselowski spins with two to go when McMurray and the 2 made contact. Brad calls the wreck, "One of those deals," And apologizes to his team.
The race went into overtime, giving the race an extra three green laps.
For the restart: Logano in 2nd, Blaney in first, Keselowski out.
Blaney took the lead, backed up by best friend Bubba Wallace. Blaney blocked Logano, and Logano battled Bubba for 2nd.
As Blaney took the checkered Logano snuck up and took 2nd from Wallace. But not before Darrell Waltrip could say, "The Best friends 150."
In Logano's interview he said of Wallace and Blaney with big smile, "Yeah, the best friends... They might as well be teammates!"
Joey Logano lead fifty-six (56) laps, the most lead in a duel ever.
Team Penske Quick Fact: No more overtime line! Over time is now judged by the start finish line!
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
February 11th, 2018
This season is the first season Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have Ryan Blaney as a Cup teammate and not an ally. Paul Menard took over the 21 with Wood Brothers Racing, and is now the ally to Penske.
The Clash takes place every year at Daytona International Speedway, and was set to have seventy-five laps. Pit road speed was fifty-five. A competition caution was set for lap twenty-five. Don't forget - the Clash is a no points race! Teams can work on cars during red flag for the Clash.
There was an invert draw by the crew chiefs to determine starting positions. Logano got 3rd, Keselowski got 17th and Blaney got 15th in his Clash debut.
Before the race Keselowski tweeted saying he would win, he only had one direction to go in the pack, which was forward!
On the start, Logano moved back to 5th, Keselowski up to 14th, but Blaney fell back into 17th. Lap four Blaney was up to 11th, Logano went to 7th, and Keselowski into 13th.
The cars used in the Clash today are not the same cars entered in the Daytona 500, teams don't want to risk damaging their 500 car.
Lap six Blaney and Logano started drafting together. Keselowski wasn't far behind them. Kyle Larson got really loose, went up the track, Logano slammed his brakes, Blaney almost nailed him, but they made it by safely. After this, Keselowski and Logano raced for 7th and 8th place, Blaney back to 11th.
Chase Elliott got the bottom line rolling, Logano two cars behind him in 6th place. Keselowski and Blaney behind Logano, Team Penske working together.
Elliott took the lead and Austin Dillon took to the bottom line in front of Penske. Logano took to the top line, Keselowski and Blaney stayed on the bottom. Keselowski bump drafted with Austin Dillon at the front of the bottom line.
ON LAP SIXTEEN Logano and Keselowski battled side-by-side for 3rd and 4th place. Blaney and Denny Hamlin fought for 5th and 6th, trading back and forth.
Elliott took the lead back on the bottom line, making Logano the leader of the top. Blaney took 3rd while Logano and Keselowski battled for 4th. Lap twenty-one, Logano started working on Blaney for 3rd, Keselowski behind him in the middle, and Blaney on the bottom.
Logano took 2nd lap twenty-two, and Blaney was fighting to keep 4th. Jeff Gordon in the booth said Keselowski manages to get his car where no one else can, and Darrell Waltrip joked saying he didn't know if he would want to be where Kese could get his car.
Logano attempted to take the lead on twenty-three, but Elliott side drafts keeping the position. Martin Truex Jr. came up to take a spot, Elliott moved up, and Logano jumped to the top line to block Hamlin. Logano took the lead on lap twenty-four.
All three Penske boys dumped onto pit road before the caution could fly on lap twenty six. The advantage to pitting before the caution is that you cycle out to the front again when everyone else pits.
Keselowski would restart in 1st, Blaney in 3rd and Logano in 4th. Blaney pushed Keselowski out front, and held onto 2nd, Logano took to 5th. Keselowski blocked Elliott from making a pass, and held off teammate Blaney, lap thirty-one.
Blaney battled with Erik Jones for 4th place, and Logano made a move for 2nd. He took 3rd, Keselowski kept his lead and Blaney side-by-side with Logano for 3rd. Blaney moved back to 8th. Jamie McMurray brought out the second caution of the day lap thirty-five.
Keselowski and Blaney took two tires during the caution, Logano took four. Logano talking to new spotter TJ Majors (Tab Boyd is spotting the 24 for William Byron this season) about where runs were building on the track, where cars were and strategizing for the end of the Clash.
Brad Keselowski restarted on the front row, Ryan Blaney in 6th and Joey Logano in 7th. Keselowski flew away from the field when the race went green again. He kept the top line, and Blaney came up to steal 2nd, blocking Truex. Logano fought to keep 7th place, the top line moving fast enough to push him into 5th, Elliott falling back.
Truex tried to steal the lead, Blaney back to 3rd, but Logano was right behind the 12. Kyle Busch was side-by-side with Blaney trying to take 3rd. Truex took the lead, "not for long," all three commentators agreed. Keselowski took it back and Blaney and Logano took 2nd, and 3rd, making it one-two-three Penske on lap forty-four.
WITH SIXTEEN TO GO in the Daytona Clash, it was still the Penske boys leading the race, but Johnson was looking to make moves. Mike Joy in the booth said he was curious what Blaney and Keselowski's tires would look like in twelve laps since they only took two tires on the previous stop.
Mike Joy said he picked Keselowski for the win, DW took Blaney and Jeff Gordon picked Logano to win. DW said he heard the drivers and crews say, "We just wanna have fun this year," a lot.
DW said Blaney and Logano have to be careful if they go to make a move on Keselowski towards the end because if they aren't careful, all three of them will get passed and none of them could end up with the lead and they could be, "Sitting ducks".
Keselowski had debris on the 2's nose with seven to go. The commentators joked around saying they would be glad to have the trash to make the car faster. Then DW said that seriously they needed to watch the water temps.
Keselowski was told the debris on the grill shouldn't be a problem, but Keselowski was keeping an eye on it anyways as the temps began to climb.
WITH ONLY FOUR LAPS LEFT, Jimmie Johnson was looking to start making moves on the Penske trio.
No team has ever finished the clash one, two, three. Blaney fell back after his attempt to pass Keselowski failed. Logano took 2nd, but Johnson hit the wall taking a few out with him. (Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Truex all involved)
As Keselowski took the checkered Jeff Gordon says, "He said he was gonna win!" Brad Keselowski thanks his guys. It's his first Speedweeks win, and the day before his birthday too! What a present!
The finishing order for the Penske boys - Brad in 1st, Joey in 2nd, and Ryan in 4th.
Team Penske Quick Fact: No team has ever finished the Clash with cars in all top three spots.
Do you guys like the Clash as a night race or a day race better?
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller