Team Penske had little to show for their strong start at Michigan

The weekend and the race at Michigan International Speedway began well for Team Penske, but the finish not so much.

Team Penske had little to show for their strong start at Michigan
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, start
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford

Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano began the weekend by claiming the front row of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 – the first time the duo has qualified first and second this season.

The race began well for both as well with Keselowski leading 56 of 60 laps on his way to a victory in Stage 1 and Logano finishing sixth.

Keselowski continued his strong run in Stage 2, finishing second while Logano was 12th. Stage 3 proved the undoing for both.

Late cautions and a wild restart in overtime proved trouble for Keselowski’s No. 2 team and he slipped back to 17th.

“We executed in qualifying and all of those things, and we really made the most out of everything we had today, it just didn’t come out our way,” said Keselowski, who led a race-high 105 laps. “It just didn’t come together there at the end, but it was nice to lead a bunch of laps.

“I just didn’t have enough to really run with (Erik Jones) and (Martin Truex Jr.). We tried a little strategy to kind of get something out of it, but the way it all played out, I ended up getting the bottom lane on the restarts and getting absolutely swallowed up.

“I feel like this is probably the best race I’ve run as a driver here and it just wasn’t enough.”

Logano’s race ended even worse.

On Lap 183, the right-front tire went down on his No. 22 Ford, which also damaged his fender, and he fell two laps off the pace while pitting under green to make repairs. He ended his day in 28th.

“The speed wasn’t there. We were a little better and obviously in qualifying our cars are good, but we just couldn’t hang with the Toyotas up front there,” Logano said. “The Furniture Row cars – they’re just lights-out fast.

“The fastest car didn’t win the race, I can tell you that much for sure. We had a flat tire. I don’t know why we had a flat tire, but maybe we ran something over. I don’t know. On to the next one.”

With three races remaining in the regular season, Keselowski has clinched a spot in the playoffs thanks to his two wins. Logano, 13th in the series standings, is in danger of missing the playoffs and only a win in one of the three remaining races will likely get him in.

“Second place wasn’t going to get us through today,’ Logano said, “so we’re all or nothing.”

 

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