I wrote heading into this weekend’s Drydene 400 at the Dover International Speedway that both Team Penske teammates of Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney could be in store for some trouble. See, the Monster Mile has never really been kind to either driver and Sunday’s race was no different.
Logano, qualified 14th but didn’t even make it to the start of the race before having problems. The rear axel of his No. 22 Ford broke on the pace laps which put him behind the wall for repairs. He’d return to the track 23 laps down and finish 34th.
“Something back there wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, so we had to fix that and we were 20-something laps down from there,” Logano said after the race. “You can’t make up 20 laps, that is for sure. Maybe you can get one or two back if things go right. It was a bummer. Things happen.
“We definitely used our mulligan. We used the playoff points we accumulated, we just have to be perfect now. We have two really good race tracks coming up though. Talladega is arguably one of our best race tracks and I would say Kansas is as well. We just have to be perfect from here. ”
For Blaney, he was a top 10-15 car all day but his brakes went out on Lap 298. He too would have to go behind the wall for repairs and finished 35th as a result.
Now, both are in trouble in the playoffs too.
Logano, went from +24 to +0. He’s scored only two top five finishes at Dover since 2014. But, he’s only had one top five over his last 13 starts on the season after having eight in the first 15.
Plus, Logano hasn’t won a race since June 10 with seven of his last 10 results landing his No. 22 Ford outside of the top 10 at that.
For Blaney, he’s only had two top five finishes in his last 10 starts now on the year in his No. 12 Ford. He’s -22 in the standings right now. Blaney’s best finish in seven Dover starts is eighth. Five of his last seven starts at Dover is 15th or worse.
Ahead for both is Talladega and Kansas.
Blaney’s last five finishes at Dega have been outside the top 10. His finishes are 22nd, fourth, 43rd, ninth, 11th, 39th, 18th, 11th and 29th respectively. Then, it’s to Kansas where he’s finished 37th, seventh and 32nd respectively over his last three starts there too.
Logano has been good at Talladega but in Kansas, three of his last four finishes have been 15th or worse too.
Their other driver had a ho-hum day. Brad Keselowski finished 11th. It’s not too shocking in that Penske has just three wins at Dover since 2003. For Keselowski though, he’s looking at the silver lining of an 11th place run on Sunday.
“We had an okay day,” said the Michigan native. “We held serve. We came into the weekend 19 points up and we leave 20 points up with two big races in front of us. If we can have a great day at Talladega it would be huge. We are due for another great run there.”
Keselowski, said that seeing his two teammates exit the race with problems definitely made him nervous.
“There was something going on,” Keselowski said on his nerves on seeing his two teammates have problems during their race. “I don’t know what it was, that is for the smart guys that build and engineer the cars but it is certainly not good when you see your teammates breaking down.”