Kyle Larson made it three in a row at Michigan Sunday. Here’s how it all went down in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway Sunday:
From his second pole of the season and his first at Michigan, Brad Keselowski led the field to the green on the outside. His Team Penske teammate Joey Logano lined up second. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.
In backup cars after crashes during Friday’s practice, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne started from the rear; Matt DiBenedetto, who failed multiple inspection attempts, joined them.
Keselowski had a clear lead by turn 1; Harvick and Logano were side by side, with Harvick grabbing second by turn 3; Logano fell into third followed by Elliott and Kenseth.
By lap five the lead was 1.1 seconds.
Harvick began chipping away at the lead; it was a half a second by lap 12.
Keselowski had caught the rear of the field by lap 15. Harvick cut into the lead a bit more in traffic.
Ryan Blaney took fifth on lap 20; Erik Jones followed as Kenseth began to fall back settling in eighth two laps later.
Elliott was looking for third from Logano on lap 24.
Chris Buescher pitted with a possible flat tire on lap 26.
Jones took fifth on lap 33.
There were reports of oil coming from the car of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on lap 36.
Elliott pitted from fourth on lap 40.
Logano and Blaney pitted a lap later.
Harvick pitted on lap 43; Keselowski pitted a lap later. Jones inherited the lead.
Jones pitted on lap 46, Kyle Busch followed cycling Keselowski back to the lead.
The top five: Keselowski, Harvick, Elliott, Logano and Marin Truex Jr.
Truex took fourth on lap 48.
Logano reported a vibration on lap 50, possibly from a loose wheel.
Jones took fifth from Logano on lap 57.
Top 10 Stage 1: Keselowski, Harvick, Elliott, Truex, Jones, Logano, Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin. The first caution of the day came out to end the stage.
Kyle Busch pitted before pit road opened and was sent to the rear of the longest line.
The rest of the leaders pitted when pit road did open. Keselowski was out first followed by Jones, Harvick, Truex and Logano; all took two tires, except for Jones who took fuel only.
Daniel Suarez stayed out and had the lead when green came out on lap 67.
Keselowski took the lead by turn 1 Suarez fell into second. Harvick, Jones and Logano were the top five.
Blaney was reporting a possible engine issue on lap 72.
With 20 lap older tires, Suarez held second less than half second behind leader Keselowski.
Jones took third on lap 87.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 20th pitted on lap 90 with a vibration. Keselowski’s lead was just over a second.
Suarez pitted on lap 91.
Jones took over second followed by Harvick, Kenseth and Truex.
Truex pitted on lap 105; others behind followed.
Jones pitted on lap 110, Harvick followed as did Kenseth and Logano.
Keselowski pitted on lap 111.
Kenseth was penalized for speeding.
Kyle Busch assumed the lead; after pitting Truex was second followed by Suarez, Harvick and Keselowski.
Busch pitted on lap 112 as on track Keselowski grabbed third from Harvick.
He took second two laps later. Truex had a lead of just over 2-seconds,
Keselowski had cut the lead to around a second on the final lap of Stage 2, but came up just short.
Top 10 Stage 2: Truex, Keselowski, Harvick, Jones, Suarez, Blaney, McMurray, Kyle Busch and Hamlin. Caution two on the day came out at the end of the stage.
Suarez was the only ones among the leaders to pit; the rest stayed out.
Green came back out on lap 128; it was two by two nearly the entire lap with Keselowski getting the advantage out of turn 4; Truex fought back and retook the lead in turn 1; Keselowski reported a possible flat tire.
Blaney was damaged on the restart after contact with Harvick and had to pit a lap later.
Truex led followed by Keselowski, Jones, Harvick and McMurray.
Jones took second on lap 134.
Kahne and Suarez got together in turn 2 on lap 139; both cars were heavily damaged and done for the day; the third caution of the day when.
The only one among the leaders to pit on lap 140 was Keselowski; he was out first followed by Jimmie Johnson who took only two tires; Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon; all with two tires.
During the caution Blaney lost another right front tire and had to pit again.
The top five when green came back out on lap 147: Truex, Jones, McMurray, Harvick and Kenseth.
Truex had the lead by turn 1, Jones held of McMurray for second, Elliott was fourth, Harvick fifth by the end of the lap.
Clint Bowyer who was twice caught speeding, had a tire rub and had to pit on lap 152. Elliott took third from McMurray on the same lap. Kenseth took fifth from Harvick a lap later. The lead for Truex was less than a second.
Logano pitted on lap 158. Harvick and McMurray pitted a lap later. Truex and Elliott followed. Jones assumed the lead. Jones and Kenseth pitted on lap 162. Keselowski pitted a lap later and took only two tires. Hamlin assumed the lead, McMurray was second. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Larson; all with exception of McMurray still needed to pit. Truex was 13th the highest of those who pitted.
Hamlin pitted on lap 378. Kyle Busch took the lead. Jones passed Keselowski for 11th, just ahead of Truex. The top 9 still needed to pit with 20 laps to go.
Logano slowed with 15 to go with a flat tire. He was able to make it to the pits, but the fourth caution of the day came out for debris.
Kyle Busch pitted as did the rest of the top 9. Keselowski also pitted. The first five out: Trevor Bayne with only two tires, followed by Kyle Busch, Larson, and Keselowski who also took only two.
The top five when green came out with nine laps to go: Truex, Jones, Kenseth, Elliott; Bayne was the first of those who pitted he restarted fifth.
Kyle Busch, Dillon, Larson and Keselowski were behind.
Truex had the lead by turn 1, Jones followed, Elliott was third, Kenseth fourth, Larson fifth. Larson took fourth with seven to go.
Larson took third on lap 194, just as Michael McDowell spun exiting turn 3; caution five came out.
Some drivers deeper in the field pitted including Harvick.
With fluid on the track, NASCAR was forced to put out the red flag on lap 198. It lasted just over 5 minutes, 5:39 to be exact.
The top five when the restart came out on lap 201 overtime: Truex, Jones, Kenseth, Larson and Elliott.
In a four-wide battle, Larson was able to charge past for the lead; on the final lap Truex was second, Jones third. Kenseth was the loser on the exchange catching a flat tire and dropping out of the lead group.
Larson held on for the win followed by Truex, Jones, Ryan Newman, and Bayne. Chris Buescher was sixth followed by Dillon, Elliott, McMurray and Kyle Busch. Kenseth finished 24th.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Bristol Night Race with live coverage on NBC starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
- NASCAR to debut new short track package at Phoenix - February 28, 2023
- The Wrench Who Stole Racing - December 16, 2022
- Matt DiBenedetto’s excellent run comes to abrupt, violent end - February 17, 2019