Hendrick Motorsports duo battling for last playoff spot but encouraged by run
The result left him six points behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman for the final cutoff spot to the second round with two races left.
Bowman hit the wall earlier in the race and finished 19th. Johnson entered the playoffs as the 15th seed and Bowman was the last seed among the 16 playoff contenders. Neither had scored any bonus playoff points this season. It was just racing hard off Turn 2 and I cut a right front down. Despite the disappointing finish, Johnson left Las Vegas encouraged. On the short run, Martin Truex Jr.
Very, very excited about that. Our long run speed was so good. We were too tight to restart, but our long run speed was really good. Sunday also saw the team place three cars in the top five for the first time in Cup. We still have some work to do this afternoon in Sonoma as we try to get win number and compete for the IndyCar championship.
Thanks to everyone throughout our organization for their hard work and all their dedication for helping us reach this special milestone of wins. A happy team owner celebrates in Sonoma! With arguably the fastest car on a long run, Truex was undone by four cautions in the last 23 laps that helped Brad Keselowski score his third consecutive win. Truex leaves Las Vegas with the points lead after an afternoon that saw six of the 16 playoff drivers involved in accidents or spins and a few others who finished with crinkled and creased cars.
All the incidents toward the end were too much to overcome for Truex. Unfortunately for us, it took a little bit too long to get rolling. Too many cautions at the end.
It really, really took our chance away from winning. The issue for Truex was that he and crew chief Cole Pearn set the car up for long runs. We felt it was going to be a long-run kind of race just because the track is slick and there are so many multiple grooves. Typically, these are the ones that go green for a long time. We were kind of banking on that and for a while it was working for us. Obviously, at the end it was caution after caution.
That really took any chance we had away. Brad Keselowski — Winner: I was worried about running out of gas there at the end. I know the fans can hear on this microphone and I want to say thank you to everyone who braved degree heat all day. You guys are the real heroes. I get paid to do this. You guys pay to watch and thank you for doing that.
Thank you for coming out today and tolerating the heat. What a special day for wins for Penske, three in a row here, first win in the Playoffs.
Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: But, was happy to end up second there. Just glad we had a good day after the tire issue we had early in the race. So, yeah, good points day. With 15 laps or so we could take the lead and drive away. We were actually a little too good on the long run, I wish maybe we could have gone the other direction a little bit and still been able to get the lead.
If we were the leader, we could do okay, I could maintain, but when I was second or third or fourth, it just made me tight enough that I had to wait for the thing to come to me or wait for other guys to start getting off the bottom in front of me. Really proud of the effort. Joey Logano — Finished 4th: I wish I could re-run the race.
Might be a little better. But everyone in the field is probably saying the same thing. Ryan Blaney — Finished 5th: I was good on short runs and long runs I was really loose. We were trying to get it to where it would last. We got it a little better but definitely not where we need to be. It was a struggle. They worked really hard all day.
I tried to stay out of trouble and just survive I guess. Congrats to Brad and the 2 team on their th win for Team Penske, that is pretty neat. We have to work on some stuff but salvaging a decent day is a good day. Aric Almirola — Finished 6th: We got behind on qualifying and that kind of set the tone.
That was my fault. Joey Logano has vivid memories of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he came as a child with all his dreams intact.
And unlike many children who fantasize about become elite athletes, Logano hasn't deviated from the path he envisioned as a pre-teen. I'm going to win championships. I'm going to be awesome. Sometimes you may have to change your dream as you go, but I've been fortunate enough to be able to be able to continue that long road to try to get to a championship.
I still think it's cool, though, to be out there. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, and then you go out there and race against him 10 years later or so.
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