AUSTIN CINDRIC No. 2 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD MUSTANG
START: 10TH STAGE ONE: 17TH STAGE TWO: 25TH FINISH: 15TH POINTS: 20TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric survived a dramatic Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway, overcoming various setbacks and a plethora of late-race cautions to register a 15th-place finish. He fired off from the 10th position and made his first visit to pit road on Lap 38 for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to aid the stability of the car. The Discount Tire Ford Mustang finished Stage 1 in the 17th position and returned to pit road for service. Cindric restarted 20th when the second segment got underway on Lap 98, and just 18 laps in, Cindric informed his team that the handling had improved across the center and on exit. On Lap 136, inclement weather moved in, bringing out the red flag for well over an hour. Once the race resumed, Cindric was forced to restart at the tail of the field due to a penalty. Despite the loss of track position, the former NASCAR Xfinity Series champion climbed back to 25th by the conclusion of Stage 2. Following a four-tire stop, Cindric lined up 23rd for the restart on Lap 193. The Team Penske driver was slowly but steadily moving forward until contact from the No. 71 caused Cindric to fall deep in the field. Fortunately, the Discount Tire Ford was able to withstand a series of late-race cautions to rally to a 15th-place finish.

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “Yeah, a bit of a frustrating day. We had to go to the back, lost a lot of spots early in the race, and passed a lot of cars today. I thought we had a decent Discount Tire Ford Mustang, we just never held on to any track position that we ever had, whether if it was execution errors or just getting run over there at the end of the race. So, yeah, I’m happy we came home with a decent finish and really happy for everyone on the 22 car — those guys have had a tough go and certainly deserve a win and to be in the playoffs. I’m proud that all three of us will be fighting for a championship later this season.”

RYAN BLANEY No. 12 MENARDS/IDEAL DOOR GARAGE DOORS FORD MUSTANG
START: 18TH STAGE ONE: 14TH STAGE TWO: 8TH FINISH: 6TH POINTS: 8TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney rallied for a sixth-place finish Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway, marking his third top-10 result in the last four races. The 12-team worked to dial in the balance over the course of the opening 90-lap stage as Blaney battled his way towards the top-10 in the early going before ultimately settling for a 14th-place finish in Stage 1. Following a four tire stop and a round of adjustments at the stage break, Blaney charged to 11th in the running order before the race was red flagged on lap 135 for heavy rainfall in the area. After drivers returned to their cars once track drying was complete, the field took the green with 46 laps remaining in Stage 2 when Blaney raced into the top-10 early in the run. Despite a loose-handling condition that set in late in the run, Blaney managed to come away with an eighth-place result in the second segment. The 12 team gained a pair of positions on pit road under yellow, allowing Blaney to take the green for the final stage from the inside of row three. Blaney powered his way to fourth on the opening lap of the restart before a caution on lap 218 saw varying pit strategies with the fuel window closing in. The 12-team opted to keep Blaney on the track under yellow and assume the lead as he was one of five lead lap cars to stay out with the field lining up to take the green with 75 laps to go. A pair of cautions shortly after forced Blaney to stay out in order to avoid falling to the back of the field, resulting in a scheduled green flag stop on lap 268 that trapped him a lap down. A caution with two laps to go awarded Blaney the free pass to rejoin the lead lap before a Cup Series record five overtime restarts followed – the second of which had Blaney involved in a multi-car incident on the backstretch where he avoided damage despite sliding through the grass. By the time of the fifth and final restart, Blaney lined up 12th to take the green and continued to power forward before ultimately taking the checkered flag sixth.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “Really proud of this 12-team for staying with it all day. The strategy we had lined up didn’t fall the way we hoped but this turned into a race where if you can be there at the end, you’ll have a shot and fortunately we were able to gain back a lot of the track position we lost with all the restarts at the end. Happy for all the guys on the 22-team and proud of the effort to get all three Penske cars locked in to run for a championship.”

JOEY LOGANO No. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD MUSTANG
START: 26TH STAGE ONE: 21ST STAGE TWO: 21ST FINISH: 1ST POINTS: 14TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano prevailed to take the checkered flag Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway after a Cup Series-record five overtime restarts, marking his 33rd-career victory and 20th different track he’s won at on the Cup Series circuit. With the win, Logano has now won at least one Cup Series race in 13-consecutive seasons while also snapping a 49-race winless streak to clinch a playoff spot for the 11th time in the last 16 seasons. Despite finishes of 21st in the opening two stages and a lengthy rain delay in the middle of Stage 2, Logano and the 22-team altered their strategy when the caution flag flew on lap 205 as the fuel window began to close in as crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for right sides tires and fuel to vault to eighth in the running order for the ensuing restart. Logano raced his way into the top-five before a caution on lap 227 brought the field back together but on the following restart, he was shoved up the track in turn one and ultimately settled into 14th as the laps ticked off. The yellow came out once again with two laps to go and Logano stayed out, allowing him to move up to eighth for the first overtime restart as several of the leaders had concerns about having enough fuel to make it to the end. Logano evaded a pair of multi-car wrecks before the caution on the third overtime saw a few of the leaders make the trip to pit road for fuel, allowing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford to assume the lead for the fourth overtime restart. Logano was able to clear the No. 14 as he was coming to take the white flag, but the yellow was displayed just before he crossed the line to set up a fifth – and ultimately final – overtime restart as the 22-team was committed to stretching the fuel run as far as it would go. From the inside of row one, Logano was able to clear the field coming out of turn two as the No. 45 closed in to challenge for the win coming to the checkered and successfully blocked the run to the high side in turns three and four before edging out the No. 71 at the line to come away with the win in the fuel mileage thriller.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “It’s been a hard season and being on that cut line, I tell you it sucks. It’s just not fun. It’s hard and you just want a little bit of relief of the pressure and with seven weeks to go until the playoffs it gives us a chance to breathe for a second and start just kind of working on our car a little bit differently and just sleep better, to be honest with you. I’m proud of this team and proud to be here in Victory Lane, for sure. You have to give a lot of credit to our fueler, Nick Hensley, our engine department with Roush Yates building obviously some engines that could also manage fuel really well, and some guts – a lot of cajones made it happen.”

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to the streets of Chicago for the second-ever street race on Sunday, July 7. Coverage of the Grant Park 165 begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Team Penske PR