RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, finished 31st in a chaotic Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway plagued by tire issues. Cindric rolled off the grid from the 21st position and reported under the first caution on Lap 23 that the car was free on entry and tight through the center. After pitting for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment and restarting 22nd, the field was immediately slowed with another caution. Cindric sustained minor damage and remained on track. On Lap 69, Cindric returned to pit road from the 15th position for fresh tires, fuel and another adjustment after he began to experience an issue with the right-front tire. The Team Penske driver marched on to the end of the segment, being scored in the 29th position. Expressing concern with the right-front tire again, Cindric headed back to the attention of the Discount Tire crew for service and lined up 30th for the restart. Tire wear and management continued to be a talking point throughout the remaining segments of the event while the No. 2 Ford Mustang also began to trend toward a tight condition by the conclusion of Stage 2 in which Cindric finished 29th. Throughout the final Stage, the 25-year-old driver made multiple more visits to pit road for fresh rubber and adjustments to aid the handling of the car. When the checkered flag flew, Cindric was scored in the 31st position.  

CINDRIC’S THOUGHTS: “Unfortunately we struggled to keep the right-front tire on the Discount Tire Ford Mustang for anything longer than 30 laps. Past that, the race was plagued with tire issues and debris on the race track. The final stint was chaotic and wish we could have had a clean day for everyone on the No. 2 car. Looking forward to going to COTA and having a normal weekend.”
RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford Mustang led the field to green in Sunday’s Food City 500 before ultimately coming away with a 16th-place finish. Blaney battled for the lead throughout the opening stage and led five times for 14 laps as the No. 12 worked to manage tire wear that became a major factor in the race, but Blaney maintained top-10 speed to come away with a seventh-place finish in Stage 1. Following a four-tire stop under caution on lap 226, Blaney was penalized for speeding on pit road and forced to restart at the tail end of the field with 20 laps to go in Stage 2, resulting in a 23rd-place finish in the second segment. Blaney fought his way back into the top-10 during the initial run of the final stage and worked his way up to sixth in the running order by lap 365 as the overall balance settled in. Following the ensuing restart after a caution on lap 368, contact to the left rear on the exit of turn two sent Blaney up the track as he tried to collect himself in the middle lane, shuffling him back to 20th on the leaderboard. Blaney was one of the first to hit pit road during the green flag pit cycle on lap 436 as he had a right front tire go down but managed to fight through traffic to come away with a 16th-place finish.

BLANEY’S THOUGHTS: “We got our Menards/Dutch Boy Ford Mustang in a pretty good spot before the last restart – got to sixth. Ultimately I got moved off the bottom lane and shuffled into the middle where it was a lot easier to use up our tires, especially at that point in the race. A little bit of a wild race overall.”
RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano wheeled the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang to a 22nd-place finish Sunday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway. After battling a tight-handling condition in the early going, Logano and the No. 22 worked to manage tire wear that became increasingly prevalent throughout the field as the opening stage unfolded. Several of the leaders began to falter in the closing laps of Stage 1, but Logano prevailed to come away with an 11th-place finish in the opening segment. Logano raced his way back into the top-five by lap 204 and was running sixth at the time of the caution on lap 226 when the No. 22 team opted for right sides tires only under yellow, allowing Logano to restart fifth with 11 to go in the second stage. He took the lead with five to go in the segment, but ultimately settled for a third-place finish in Stage 2. As tire wear continued to be a key factor over the long runs, Logano was shuffled outside of the top-20 before the start of green flag stops and eventually hit pit road on lap 436 for the team’s final set of sticker tires. The 500-lap race remained green the rest of the way as Logano crossed the line 22nd when the checkered flag flew.

LOGANO’S THOUGHTS: “Up and down day for our Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang team. Obviously tire wear played a huge factor we were doing everything we could to manage that and track position all day. It seemed like everyone was chasing different strategies on the fly which made this race what it was. Glad we were able to make it out of here with some stage points and we’ll keep moving forward.”