I originally didn’t expect much out of the Team Penske trio for this weekend’s Food City 500 at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. In the two race practices on Saturday morning, they were seventh (Joey Logano), 20th (Ryan Blaney) and 28th (Brad Keselowski) in the first session, followed by 16th (Blaney), 20th (Keselowski) and 21st (Logano) in final practice.
But, in the race itself, they were all three actually very strong.
Ryan Blaney first took the lead on Lap 17. In fact, Blaney would lead 100 of the first 117 laps of the race. Unfortunately, while leading the race on Lap 117, a couple of lapped cars crashed in front of Blaney’s No. 12 Ford. He couldn’t get out of the way quick enough and was involved in the incident. He’d finish 35th.
But, Keselowski picked up the pieces in his No. 2 Ford. Combined, the trio led 114 of the first 130 laps of the race overall. In fact, Keselowski won both stages and really looked like a car to beat for majority of the race. But, bad luck struck him too. Late in the race, Keselowski had a tire and suspension problem. He’d finally see it give way and he’d get into the SAFER barrier on Lap 469. As a result, Keselowski would finish in 23rd, five laps off the pace. He was 33rd last weekend in Texas.
Then there’s Logano.
He was involved in an early accident on Lap 60. He had some damage but would just hang around all day. Logano, would bring his No. 22 Ford home ninth, for the best finishing Penske car. He now has seven top 10 finishes in the first eight races to the year.
Overall, it wasn’t the race in which it looked like it would be for Penske.