Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Circuit of the Americas

EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix
Austin, Texas – March 24, 2024

AUSTIN CINDRIC No. 2 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD MUSTANG

START: 11TH STAGE ONE: 4TH STAGE TWO: 28TH FINISH: 18TH POINTS: 19TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, fought to an 18th-place finish in Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. Cindric showcased the speed of his car right from the start, powering to the seventh position after starting 11th. The Discount Tire machine sustained heavy nose damage in the opening laps but remained on track through the end of Stage 1 to finish fourth as other drivers pitted early. Under the caution period, crew chief Brian Wilson called Cindric to pit road for the team to assess the damage and make repairs to the grille and fenders. With heavy damage to the duct work, the Team Penske driver restarted 39th for the launch of Stage 2, gradually elevating a few positions to conclude the segment in the 28th position. After pitting just prior to the Stage-end, Cindric remained on track during the break and fired off 18th for the third and final chunk. Cindric’s drive never faltered as he battled through to notch an 18th-place result.

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “We made some progress at the start and then it all pretty much came to an end with a couple of guys getting spun off turn 11. I got a ton of damage and the guys had to pretty much take the air box out of it which makes the engine extremely inefficient and down on power. It was a fight from there, but we made some improvements in the car over the weekend and thought we had something to compete inside the top-10 today. It’s frustrating to not fully see our potential today.”

RYAN BLANEY No. 12 MENARDS/JACK LINK’S FORD MUSTANG

START: 28TH STAGE ONE: 23RD STAGE TWO: 2ND FINISH: 12TH POINTS: 3RD

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Jack Link’s Ford Mustang team fought their way to a 12th-place finish Sunday at Circuit of the Americas in the NASCAR Cup Series’ first road course event of the 2024 season. After starting 28th, Blaney gained seven spots in the first five laps before making his first trip to pit road under green with four laps remaining in the opening stage, resulting in a 23rd-place finish in Stage 1. The No. 12 team’s strategy call to flip the stage saw Blaney line up 15th for the start of Stage 2 as he battled his way towards the top-10. As green flag pit stops began in the latter stages of the second segment, Blaney was scored second with two to go and got within two car lengths of the leader but ultimately settled for a second-place finish in Stage 2. Following a four-tire stop at the stage break, Blaney worked his way up to 18th during the opening laps of the final stage before going for a spin in turn 11 that saw him drop out of the top-20 in the running order. Despite the setback, Blaney worked his way back through the field and made his final pit stop with 17 laps to go and made up 11 positions over the course of the final run to come away with a 12-place finish.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “We didn’t start great. We got some stage points in Stage 2 and then the start of Stage 3 we were really good and drove up to the low teens and I spun out passing somebody into [turn] 11. That set us back. Then we drove back through the field to finish 12th. I thought we had pretty decent at the end, we just didn’t start up front. Spinning out didn’t help. We probably could have run seventh or eighth, but we still have some work to do.”

JOEY LOGANO No. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD MUSTANG

START: 35TH STAGE ONE: 24TH STAGE TWO: 24TH FINISH: 11TH POINTS: 22ND

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang team rallied for an 11th-place finish after starting 35th at Circuit of the Americas Sunday afternoon in the Cup Series’ first of five road course races on the 2024 schedule. Logano made up nine spots in the first four laps before the No. 22 team opted to flip the opening stage by bringing the Shell-Pennzoil Ford to pit road on lap 11 for a four-tire stop, resulting in a 24th-place finish in Stage 1. The strategy call allowed Logano to restart Stage 2 from 17th as the No. 22 team planned to go the rest of the way on only two more stops, prompting Logano to hit pit road with five laps remaining in Stage 2 as Logano was scored 24th at the conclusion of the second, 15-lap segment. Logano lined up to take the green flag from 14th at the start of the final stage and fought his way up to ninth on the leaderboard before hitting pit road for the final time – along with a handful of the leaders – with 24 laps to go. As the race stayed green the rest of the way, Logano worked his way through traffic over the course of the final run to secure an 11th-place finish.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “We passed a few cars and then we always flipped the stages. We were trying to go for a finish. 11th, the way our season has gone so far. We will take that and start scratching and clawing our way up in the points. We probably left a few out there with the stages but, overall, we had decent pace at the end. Nothing to win with but something we can run with in the top-10 if we were up there. On to Richmond. I am looking forward to that one.”

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway for Round 7 of the 2024 season on Sunday, March 31 for the Toyota Owners 400. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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