Logano outlasts field, weather to win at Michigan

After winning the pole for the FireKeepers Casino 400, Joey Logano said sure his car was fast for one lap.

Turns out it was pretty darn fast for an entire race too, as the Team Penske driver led a track-record 163 laps en route to winning Monday’s rain-delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory in the scheduled 200-lap race, which had to go overtime, was Logano’s third at the 2-mile MIS oval, his second of the season and the 23rd of his career.

“Winning at Michigan means so much for Team Penske and Ford,” Logano said after the race. “A day like that, you don’t bet those days all the time. The best car, the best team, we executed perfectly all the way through.”

To get it, he had to survive the overtime restart and hold off a winless and determined Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I had a blast,” Busch said. “I mean that was the tightest I ever put my (seat) belts at the end of a race because we got enough stage points, today I was like, ‘We don’t need to get anything but the win.’

“We’ll get it. We’ll get it. This gives us reason to smile and be happy. We ran up front. We’re strong.”

Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing finished a disappointed third.

“The 22 (car) went like a whole car length before the restart zone,” Truex said of Logano’s final restart. “I don’t know how you get away with that. Aside from that … great day.”

Rounding out the top five were Stewart-Haas Racing’s Daniel Suarez and Kyle Busch of JGR.

The victory kept the Michigan Heritage Trophy — which goes to the car manufacturer whose driver wins the Michigan race — in the possession of Ford, which has won the last three races at the track.

It came after Ford teams and drivers were practically ordered to get a win by Edsel Ford III during a dinner last week.

“Nothing like bringing a Ford to Victory Lane at their home turf, and one of Roger Penske’s cars as well,” Logano said. “There’s no better feeling than that. This is a big win for us.”

The race originally was scheduled for Sunday but rain ultimately made a Monday race necessary.

Pole-sitter Logano led the field to green at 5:09 p.m. local time under cloudy skies. His lead lasted less than a lap as Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing blew to the front. Three laps later, back came Logano, who took the lead and held it for all but one of the next 107 laps. He gave up the lead when he had to pit for fuel with six laps remaining in Stage 2.

Logano restarted the final stage with the lead but was quickly passed by Kevin Harvick. But eight laps later, Logano moved back to the lead. On a restart with 59 laps to go, Harvick moved past Logano and back to the lead. Six laps later, Logano took back the lead yet again.

With just over 25 laps to go, the field began taking its final green flag pit stops. When pitting cycled through with 15 laps to go, Logano was back in the lead. But with five laps to go, the caution flag waved. Logano got the edge on the restart and drove on to victory.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Harvick, an eight-race winner a year ago, finished seventh to remain winless in 2019.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race — 51st Annual FireKeepers Casino 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

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: 1,10,19,2,20,21,22,42,88,9
Stage #2 Top Ten: 1,10,18,19,24,3,37,4,8,88

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