Joey Logano scores dominant win at Michigan
Joey Logano takes the checkered flag in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR unveiled aerodynamic rule changes, including a shorter rear spoiler and smaller front splitter, for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The rules tweaks will be rolled out, again, next month for the 400-mile race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Be it the new rules, MIS, or what have you, Sunday was good to Joey Logano. Logano led 138 laps of the 200 that made up the distance at MIS on his way to his first win of 2016. With the victory, Logano became the 10th different winner in 2016.
“What a great race car,” Logano said. “To win here in Roger’s (Penske, car owner) backyard and Ford’s backyard, this is always a big win for us, here. We appreciate the great car. What a crazy race with the low downforce and with more cautions and more opportunity to screw up, pretty much.”
Sprint Cup rookie Chase Elliott was second to Logano in the laps-led column, and he also finished second to Logano in the race after running up front for 35 laps. Kyle Larson finished third.
“What a fun race, racing with Chase and Kyle,” Logano said. “It was fun to see the young guys up there racing. I am not alone up there as a young guy anymore. I have guys up there younger than me racing for a win.”
Logano’s Team Penske teammate and Michigan native, Brad Keselowski, finished fourth. Kevin Harvick got near the front after starting the race 29th to round out the top-five at the checkered flag.
“I’ve got to say ‘thank you’ to everybody from Stewart-Haas Racing, especially on the No. 4 Outback Chevrolet, and everybody from Busch, and Jimmy John’s, and Mobil 1 and everybody who helps this car,” Harvick said. “They fought all day and had great pit stops on pit road. We were able to overcome some missed-time cautions, again. It seems like the weekend of cautions; that’s what got us in our starting spot, anyway. But, all-in-all, everybody kept their heads up and kept digging, and we got a good finish out of it.”
Logano started on the pole, but didn’t lead the race until lap 11, as fellow-front-row starter Martin Truex Jr. took the lead at the initial green flag and led the first 10 laps of the race. Keselowski also was credited with leading 10 laps, leading those laps in the first half of the race after staying out longer during each of two cycles of green-flag pit stops.
Elliott took the lead from Logano on a lap-116 restart. He continued to run up front until having difficulty on a restart following a lap 148 caution. After not getting up to speed, Elliott dropped back to sixth while Logano reassumed the lead. Elliott, though, quickly recovered to get back up to fourth.
“I just did something dumb,” Elliott said. “You can’t do dumb stuff and win these races. Completely my fault. The guys gave me a great car today. This whole NAPA group has been working so hard these past few weeks, and that one was on me. Like I said, you can’t do dumb stuff to win these things, and I did today.”
Elliott was fourth for a restart following a lap 155 yellow flag, and when the race returned to green, he got back up to second, behind Logano.
The race was littered by nine cautions, with the final yellow flag waving on lap 188 when Denny Hamlin hit the inside retaining wall between the race track and pit road after a tire problem.
Other drivers involved in incidents that brought out the yellow flag included Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Chris Buescher, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Regan Smith, Casey Mears, Danica Patrick and Jimmie Johnson, among others. Jeffrey Earnhardt was the cause of two yellow flags in close succession, bringing out cautions on laps 102 and 108.
Carl Edwards finished sixth, Tony Stewart seventh, Austin Dillon eighth, Jamie McMurray ninth, and Kurt Busch was 10th.