Team Penske No.22 racer Joey Logano started on pole position where he may have held a bit down by Denny Hamlin in the No.11 Toyota.
But Logano fought back and held his lead comfortably throughout the opening stage with the mini win.
Beyond Logano, these Ford machines ran flying fast like the No.22 car when Kevin Harvick & Aric Almirola jockeyed around him for the race lead.
Kevin Harvick’s car initially proved to be the case through the first 15-20 laps.
Though, when the competition caution ended after Lap 20, a slow pit stop & a debris contact from Kurt Busch saw Harvick drop further downhill.
Unlike Harvick, Almirola, who drives the No.10 Ford remained smooth sailing in the Top 3.
Thanks to a quick fuel only stop on Lap 20, Almirola raced like a real front row contender going into Stage 2.
So did both young races of Alex Bowman in the No.88 Hendrick Chevy (2nd) & Erik Jones in the No.20 Joe Gibbs Toyota (3rd).
There wasn’t an incident-filled caution until Lap 11 of Stage 2 when Kyle Weatherman in the No.51 Rick Ware Ford tagged the wall.
As Weatherman left the wall, he had his rear bumper blown away at Turn 4.
It’s the only incident yellow as there are no other crashes occurred in this stanza.
Logano again remained unchallenged for most of the time in this particular segment.
With no worries taking a late pit stop before Stage 2 ended, Logano looked forward to putting his energy on the main prize.
That meant, for now, Austin Dillon closed out this segment with the mini win.
Apart from Logano, a different driver from a different engine maker & team stood out.
His name is Kyle Larson who drives the No.42 Chevy for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Larson’s famed high lined continued to pay off having closed into 2nd place.
Like Logano, Larson would like to seek more stage points.
However, Larson preferred to focus on the main course as he followed the No.22 to pit road with a few laps left.
Stage 3, Part 1
Initially, after the stage break, a caution immediately came up with 71 laps to go.
Bowyer’s No.14 Ford touched Erik Jones’s left rear quarter panel before he went loose and touched the wall.
For others like Erik Jones, he survived and so did Kyle Larson when he had a lucky escape at Turn 4 after a battle with Joey Logano.
But for Austin Dillon, he didn’t despite running a right race car & won the previous stage.
And it’s not his fault when William Byron in the No.24 Chevy plucked him to the barrier hard at Turn 2.
With Bowyer’s rear bumper too damaged, his time ended early as the next restart came with 60 laps left.
Stage 3, Part 2
From one Stewart-Haas car to another, Harvick surprisingly slowly came back to the top.
The late pit stop before Stage 3 compensated the lost time Harvick suffered through the new Stage 1 & Stage 2 scenes with the race lead.
Harvick did the best he can to hold off the top spot before Logano re-took
the lead baton off him with 53 to go.
Logano’s active inside line made overtaking easier in his No.22 Team Penske Ford.
As said, different cautions and race strategies may have held him back, including overtime.
But Logano’s super fast race car proved to be the real deal as he won the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
The first half of this race proved quiet except with a few gains & missed changes via the competition caution.
Going into the last half, a few incident yellows into the wall shook up the race.
It may have positively affected some drivers.
The likes of Daniel Suarez, Kurt & Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. & Ryan Newman benefitted that cause.
But for others have unfortunate days in the office:
- Clint Bowyer
- Erik Jones
- Austin Dillon
- Kyle Larson
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
- Aric Almirola
Unlucky things happen in a fault that isn’t their own with potential added points dashed so they will look to bounce back next time around.
Apart from that, Joey Yeah in Logano stole the show.
The No.22 Ford Mustang looked incredibly fast, with no dent affecting the race car.
Plus Logano demonstrated plenty of ability with the correct pit and race calls to help him celebrate in victory lane.
What’s next after Michigan?
For now, there won’t be a Cup race this weekend as it’s the second off-week.
Happy Father’s Day.
Though, next weekend will be the Toyota/Save Smart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
It will be a road course as we salute a great legend in Darrell Waltrip’s final race as a booth analyst for FOX NASCAR before he goes to retirement.
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