BRISTOL, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – In racing sometimes it is better to be lucky than good and that case could be made for Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 team.
Keselowski took home the checkered flag in Sunday’s 60th Annual Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, one week after winning the Coca-Cola 600.
Keselowski passed Chase Elliott and Joey Logano with three laps to go after Elliott wrecked Logano going for the win. The win was Keselowski’s second of 2020 and 32nd of his Cup Series career.
“I watched Joey and Chase going at it,” said Keselowski. “The next thing I knew, they were wrecking. Here we found ourselves in Victory Lane. Just really crazy how it all came together. We kind of got a Christmas present here in Bristol but we’ll take it.”
Logano got the short end of deal with Elliott, who tried to pass the No. 22 on the bottom but the No. 9 Chevy didn’t stick, sending Elliott into Logano and taking both of them up into the outside wall.
“We just got wrecked there at the end,” said Logano, who finished 21st. “It’s a shame, we made good changes all day on our Autotrader Mustang, put ourselves in a position to win and then got wrecked with three to go. It’s unfortunate, we had a really good points day and had a shot at a third win on the season there at the end.”
“He was really good on the short run and I feel like I had to keep him behind me right there in order to win the race with only three or four laps to go,” said Elliott. “I don’t know if I had a tire going down or if I just got loose on entry. But, as soon as I turned off the wall, I had zero chance of making it. I’ll certainly take the blame.”
The wreck at the end spoiled a great day for Elliott, who won the races first two stages. Elliott finished 22nd.
Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson finished third followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch finished fourth followed by his teammate Erik Jones in fifth.
The race featured 21-lead changes among 7-drivers and was slowed by 17-caution flags for 102-laps.
The NASCAR Cup Series next race is June 7, 2020 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Chip Ganassi Fined And Suspended By NASCAR
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team owner Chip Ganassi ended up on the NASCAR penalty report following this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway.
Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Event which is Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Ganassi violated section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”, essentially brining someone not authorized inside the ‘bubble’ which part of the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocol.
Chip Ganassi Racing will be permitted to enter their cars, the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Chevrolet driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 McDonald/Clover Camaro driven by Ross Chastain, in the event.
Christopher Bell Wins NASCAR Cup Series Road Course Race At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Christopher Bell picked up his first NASCAR Cup Series win in Sunday’s road course race at Daytona International Speedway.
Bell passed leader Joey Logano with two laps to go to give Joe Gibbs Racing their second win of the weekend. JGR’S Ty Gibbs won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
“I knew I was faster than him,” said Bell. “I ran him down from a while back. All I had to do was get a couple good corners and get away. The last thing I wanted was coming down to the checkered flag with him on my bumper.”
“I was trying to keep him (Bell) behind me,” said Logano. “We gambled by staying out and I’d say it paid off overall, but you just hate being so close. He started catching me a second a lap and it wasn’t like I blew any corners or anything. We just got beat, plain and simple.”
JGR’s Denny Hamlin started fourth and finished third in the No. 11 Toyota and said he just didn’t have the speed of the frontrunners.
“For me, I’m stuck at par right now,” said Hamlin, an avid golfer off the track. “I can’t break par. I’m just right there third to fourth fastest, and that’s where I’m at. I think the more times I run, the tighter that gap is going to get.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch rallied from an off-track excursion while leading the race to finish fourth.
“I just crossed over that fine line of grip,” said Busch. “The tires, at this track with the worn out asphalt of the infield section, it’s really easy to step over that line. Matt McCall (crew chief) and all my guys, they had an awesome day on pit road, strategy wise and with their (pit) stops to get us that track position and to get us back up front.”
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 5.
“It was a front, back, front, back kind of race, but the Discount Tire team, we just didn’t give up and kept working on it,” said Keselowski. “Eventually, the race came to us. We caught some breaks for sure and made the most of it. It was just one of those never-give-up kind of races.”
The race featured 12-lead changes among 7 drivers and 8-caution flags for 12-laps.
The Series concludes the early season Florida swing next Sunday, February 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain Ready For Road Course Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain are looking forward to turning left and right at this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the road course at Daytona International Speedway.
Chastain will start ninth thanks in part to a seventh place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, his first Cup Series start in the No. 42 Chevrolet.
“A great way to kick off the year with this No. 42 car,” said Chastain. “We tore it up at the end – hit the wall a ton coming to the checkered, but still finished seventh. We got a few stage points. Thank you to everyone at Clover, McDonald’s, AdventHealth, Caregility. I still have some learning to do.”
Busch will start 17th on Sunday after being an innocent victim of a lap 14 accident. The accident was triggered when Christopher Bell attempted to bump draft Aric Almirola but did not hit him cleanly and subsequently sending Almirola into the wall in front of the rest of the field.
“All those boys started pushing way too hard, way too early, and we got wrapped up in it,” reflected Busch. “Got stuck in the mud, had too much damage and never really got to race. We had to ride around all day.”
Busch ultimately finished 22nd, which left him sitting in 20th place in the Cup Series drivers points standings.
“We’ll dig out of this hole,” said Busch, the 2004 Cup Series Champion. We’re a great team; we’re ready for this.”
The green flag is schedule to drop at 3 p.m.