Roger Penske had a pretty good day Monday. While he was with his driver Simon Pagenaud at the White House being feted for that driver’s recent Indy 500 win, his Team Penske driver Joey Logano capped off a long dominating weekend by winning the rain delayed Monster Energy Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway Monday.
Logano led a race high 164 of the 203 laps from the pole and held off a hard-charging Kurt Busch in a 2-lap overtime shootout to win by .147 of a second. It was his second win of the season, his third at Michigan and the 23rd of his career.
“The best car, the best team,” Logano said. “…We’ve been so close this year getting into Victory Lane multiple times. Coming up short, mainly because of execution. Today everything was cleaned up perfectly and we did a great job. This is what we get.”
“Hopefully we can start stacking up some more here.”
Not only is the win important for the driver, but for Ford as well as they will keep the Michigan Heritage trophy awarded to the manufacturers. It’s a trophy that Ford made no secret about wanting to keep as Edsel Ford II said during a dinner, he held for the Ford drivers last week said.
“He told us how important it was,” Logano said in victory lane. “I wish he was able to be here today. Man, this feels so good. Winning at Michigan means so much to Team Penske and Ford.”
The overtime was set up by a spin from Erik Jones on lap 195. On the restart Logano appeared to have a quick start and was soon out front.
Martin Truex Jr. restarted second but as the field was coming to the white flag Kurt Busch who has restarted third dove down and was able to get past. Busch had nothing for Logano on the final lap and had to settle for runner-up.
“Tightest I ever put my belts at the end of a race,” said Busch whose Chevy had suffered right rear quarter panel damage earlier in the race. “We got enough stage points today, we said hell with it, we don’t need to get anything but the win. We got second today.”
“Logano’s car was tough. I really wanted it to go green at the end with Truex. I was going to push him straight through the 22. My best shot at it.”
Daniel Suarez was fourth with Kyle Busch rounding out the top five.
Logano won the first stage but a round of green flag pit stops gave Austin Dillon the win in stage 2. Dillon would be spun late in the going and finished 26th one lap down.
Not even NASCAR’s new high-down force low-horsepower package could keep Logano from hanging onto the lead. There was close racing, but as always clean air was king out front.
Logano’s only real threat came in the last quarter of the race as he swapped the lead with Kevin Harvick. The key came during stops on lap 175 when Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon called for two tires. Harvick had taken four two laps earlier and Logano was able to gain five seconds. Harvick was never in contention for the win finished seventh.
The only smudge for Logano may have come from on the final restart.
“The 22 went like a whole car length before the restart zone,” Truex said. “I don’t know how you get away with that. I thought we were supposed to go in the box. “
NASCAR however didn’t call a penalty.
“I don’t know what I did,” Logano said laughing in victory lane.
Brad Keselowski brought the second Team Penske car home sixth, behind Harvick, Ryan Newman was eighth; Ryan Blaney capped off a top ten showing for Penske in ninth while Alex Bowman was 10th.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series has a weekend off before heading out to the road course at Sonoma Calif. on June 23.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Results FireKeepers Casino 400
Michigan International Speedway
Monday, June 10, 2019
1. (1) Joey Logano, Ford, 203.
2. (7) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 203.
3. (16) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 203.
4. (9) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 203.
5. (15) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 203.
6. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 203.
7. (3) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 203.
8. (18) Ryan Newman, Ford, 203.
9. (13) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 203.
10. (20) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 203.
11. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 203.
12. (11) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 203.
13. (6) Paul Menard, Ford, 203.
14. (22) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 203.
15. (19) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 203.
16. (31) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 203.
17. (2) Aric Almirola, Ford, 203.
18. (21) William Byron, Chevrolet, 203.
19. (10) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 203.
20. (17) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 203.
21. (29) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 203.
22. (25) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 203.
23. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 203.
24. (26) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 203.
25. (28) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 203.
26. (12) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 202.
27. (23) Michael McDowell, Ford, 202.
28. (27) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 201.
29. (30) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 201.
30. (36) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 200.
31. (14) Erik Jones, Toyota, 199.
32. (35) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 198.
33. (34) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 197.
34. (24) David Ragan, Ford, 195.
35. (5) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 130.
36. (33) Kyle Weatherman(i), Ford, Accident, 69.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 140.945 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 52 Mins, 50 Secs. Margin of Victory: .147 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 35 laps.
Lead Changes: 20 among 11 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Logano 0;D. Hamlin 1-3;J. Logano 4-53;A. Almirola 54;J. Logano 55-113;R. Blaney 114;C. Elliott 115;C. Bowyer 116;A. Dillon 117-123;J. Logano 124-127;K. Harvick 128-135;J. Logano 136-141;K. Harvick 142-147;J. Logano 148;K. Harvick 149;J. Logano 150-174;D. Suarez 175;B. Keselowski 176-181;D. Hamlin 182-183;W. Byron 184-185;J. Logano 186-203.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Joey Logano 7 times for 163 laps; Kevin Harvick 3 times for 15 laps; Austin Dillon 1 time for 7 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 6 laps; Denny Hamlin 2 times for 5 laps; William Byron 1 time for 2 laps; Daniel Suarez 1 time for 1 lap; Chase Elliott 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 1 lap; Clint Bowyer 1 time for 1 lap; Aric Almirola 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,88,20,10,1,19,42,21,2
Stage #2 Top Ten: 3,4,19,1,10,18,8,24,88,37
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