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Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Race Report – Chicago Street Race

Grant Park 165: Chicago Street Course
Chicago, Ill. – July 7, 2024

AUSTIN CINDRIC No. 2 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD MUSTANG

START: 21ST STAGE ONE: 38TH STAGE TWO: 33RD FINISH: 15TH POINTS: 20TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, finished 15th in Sunday’s Grant Park 165, the second-ever street race in the NASCAR Cup Series. The unique event was plagued by weather for the second year, again ending prematurely due to darkness after a nearly two-hour long red flag. Cindric qualified 21st under bright, blue skies Saturday but different conditions greeted him Sunday afternoon as wet weather loomed over the city of Chicago. The skilled road racer fired off on rain tires and gained solid track position early on, but as the track dried out, he slipped back in the running order as the tires became heavily worn. Cindric visited pit road on Lap 15 for a fresh set of rain tires as another burst of rain was en route. A mere one lap later the caution was displayed with Cindric 39th, one lap down. As Stage 1 ended in the following laps, Cindric was scored 38th and eligible to take the wavearound. Intense, heavy rain began to pour over the race course, igniting a nearly two-hour long shutdown of track activity. Once the race resumed, the Discount Tire Ford Mustang restarted 29th, still on rain tires, as the darkness countdown clock ticked away creating a sense of urgency for drivers. On Lap 43, the No. 2 team elected to pit for four slick tires as the weather cleared up and the track conditions changed, just prior to finishing Stage 2 in the 33rd spot. As the time remaining in the race shrunk, Cindric remained focused and steered clear of other on-track mishaps to register a 15th-place finish.

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “It was nice to be able to get a decent finish there at the end with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. The weather at the start obviously generated a lot of different strategies, and then the long red flag, it’s just unfortunate we weren’t able to go the full distance again. I’m proud of the effort from everyone on the No. 2 team.”

RYAN BLANEY No. 12 MENARDS/DUTCH BOY FORD MUSTANG

START: 17TH STAGE ONE: 36TH STAGE TWO: 29TH FINISH: 10TH POINTS: 7TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney came away with a 10th-place finish in Sunday’s weather-impacted Chicago Street Race, marking his ninth top-10 result of the season. Steady rain began to fall shortly after the command to fire engines was given, prompting NASCAR to give teams the option to put on wet weather tires before rolling off the grid for the second edition of the street course event. The No. 12 team opted to start the race on the wet tires before Blaney dropped to the rear of the field due to suspension repairs following Saturday’s qualifying session. As the rainfall dissipated and the track began to dry out during the opening laps, Blaney worked to manage tire wear on the softer wet tires with another band of rain approaching the track. While mired in traffic in the back half of the field, Blaney went down a lap five to go in the opening stage and was called to pit road the following lap for four fresh wet tires as heavy rainfall began, prompting the entire field to make the call for the treaded tires before the start of Stage 2. After taking the wave around during the stage break to rejoin the lead lap, the field was brought to pit road on lap 26 for what amounted to be a nearly two-hour red flag. Following the delay, Blaney worked his way up to 24th in the running order before hitting pit road under green for four slick tires before pit road closed prior to the end of Stage 2. The final stage began with 15 minutes remaining until the mandated end time of 8:20 p.m. CT due to darkness as teams were on varying tire strategies to get them to the finish. Blaney evaded several incidents throughout the field in the closing laps, making up nine spots in the final seven laps to surge into the top-10 before ultimately taking the checkered flag 10th on lap 58.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “It’s hard to assess it. It was a crazy race from the start. There were a lot of split strategies getting going on a mix of dry and wet [tires] and then ended kind of on split strategies. We put dries on and ended up 10th – I kind of gave away a few spots at the end missing the corner. Overall, a good finish from where it started today. Pretty wild race – I’d like to run here one time where it’s dry the whole time for the fans’ sake and our sake.”

JOEY LOGANO No. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD MUSTANG

START: 32ND STAGE ONE: 40TH STAGE TWO: 34TH FINISH: 23RD POINTS: 14TH

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano posted a 23rd-place finish in Sunday’s weather-impacted Chicago Street Race as the second edition of the Grant Park 165 was shortened to 58 laps due to rain throughout the afternoon. Rain began to fall around the track shortly after the command to fire engines was given, prompting NASCAR to give teams the option to put on wet weather tires before rolling off the grid. The No. 22 team chose to start the race on the wet tires in an attempt to gain track position on those the elected to stay with slick tires as Logano worked to manage wear during the opening run as the track began to naturally dry out. With another cell of rain approaching the track in the latter stages of Stage 1, Logano continued on with the wet tires before going a lap down with seven to go in the stage, prompting crew chief Paul Wolfe to call him to pit road on lap 17 for four fresh treaded tires as heavy rainfall began. However, the caution flag flew before Logano crossed the commitment line, trapping him a lap down and forcing him to start at the tail of the field to restart Stage 2. After the entire field made the change to wet weather tires prior to the start of the second segment, a timely caution on the opening lap awarded Logano the free pass to rejoin the lead lap before the race was red flagged for nearly two hours due to rain. After returning to action with eight laps to go in Stage 2, Logano was called to pit road for four slick tires prior to the stage end as the rain dissipated ahead of the final run of the afternoon. The final stage began with 15 minutes remaining until the mandated end time of 8:20 p.m. CT due to darkness as teams were on varying tire strategies while Logano made up ground on the slick tires in the closing laps to come away with a 23rd-place finish.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “A pretty crazy race overall, for sure. With starting back where we did, we had to go against the grain early to find a way to make up as much track position as we could. Fortunately we gained some ground late with the different strategies playing out the way they did.”

The NASCAR Cup Series makes its annual trip to Pocono Raceway on Sunday, July 14. Coverage of the Great American Getaway 400 begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA, 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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