Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15369)

Clint Bowyer along with Stewart-Haas Racing teammates made it a 1-2-3 finish at Michigan International Speedway, sweeping the FireKeepers Casino 400. The No. 14 of Bowyer, with Kevin Harvick and pole winner Kurt Busch, made history with the first 1-2-3 finish for Stewart-Haas Racing in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race while marking Bowyer’s 10th career Cup win and SHR’s 46 points Cup win.

Ford Motor Company also brought home the Heritage Trophy, awarded to the winning manufacturer at Michigan.

“Congratulations to Clint, Tony, Gene and the Stewart-Haas organization,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was a strong showing by the Ford’s this weekend with Kurt taking the pole Friday and to see seven Fords finish in the top-10 was great. We always want to run good, but when you’re in Michigan it's extra special when you can help bring the Heritage Trophy back to Dearborn and the Ford family.”

The Ford Fusions powered by the Ford FR9 EFI engines all ran strong from the time they were brought off the haulers at Michigan International Speedway with the No. 41 of Kurt Busch winning the pole at 203.361 mph. The Ford teams went onto lead 121 out of the 133-lap race.

After a rain delay start to the race, the Ford Fusions showcased their speed as Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney won Stage 1 and SHR Harvick won Stage 2. As the weather moved in just after the completion of Stage 2, a strategy call by Mike Bugarewicz, Crew Chief of the No.14 decided to take two tires. In the showdown between teammates, Bowyer held off Harvick on the final restart and was able to retain the lead before rain shortened the 200-lap race and stopped the event.

“That was a gutsy call,” commented Bowyer on Bugarewicz’s call. “When we went out there on two tires I looked in the mirror and I was so far ahead of everybody else, I was like, 'Oh man, we are in trouble!' The rain came just in enough time. He was so much faster than me in one and two. I got down in three and just had to take his line because that bear was coming.”

In total, seven Ford’s topped the leader board to end the race; Bowyer (P1), Harvick (P2), Busch (P3), Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Paul Menard (P5), Team-Penske teammates No. 2 Brad Keselowski (P6), Joey Logano (P7) and Ryan Blaney (P8) and just outside the top-10 was No. 10 Aric Almirola (P11).

“I think it's a real honor to drive the Roush‑Yates engines when you get to a place like this because you can be a lot easier on your car,” commented Harvick after the race. “Doug Yates and those guys, they like to make big horsepower on the big end of the motor, put a lot of effort into this particular race weekend.”

The Ford Performance teams will ride this momentum out to Sonoma Raceway on June 24th. Reference the full 2018 schedule on Roush Yates Engines.

RYE PR

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Jack Links team played their race strategy just right in a rain-shortened Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway and came away with the team’s first top-five finish of the season.
 
Menard started 15th and dropped back on the initial start but worked his way back to 20th place by the time the competition caution flag flew on Lap 25.
  
But Menard was nabbed for speeding and had to restart at the rear of the pack. He passed seven drivers before another caution for a spin by David Ragan, one he narrowly avoided himself.

 Menard continued his march forward and ended Stage One in 16th place.
 
Seven laps into the second stage, Menard was hit by the No. 19 of Daniel Suarez, an impact that caused damage to the rear fender – and possibly the suspension - of the Menards/Jack Links Fusion.

 The team made repairs, and on the next caution flag, crew chief Greg Erwin elected to stay on the track, a move that put Menard in the lead but on older tires and with barely enough fuel in the tank to complete the remaining 31 laps of the second Stage.
 
On the restart, Menard fell in behind the No. 4 Ford of Kevin Harvick and remained in the top five for the rest of the Stage to finish fifth and earn six Stage points.
 
Menard then lined up eighth for the start of the final Stage but quickly drove his way back to fifth place, where he was running when rains halted the race after 133 of a scheduled 200 laps had been completed.
 
It was his 20th career top-five finish and his second of the weekend, his first coming in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in which he drove the Menards/Richmond Mustang.
 
“We had a good car today and all weekend,” Menard said. “We didn’t qualify as good as we would have hoped and went from the back and got put to the back twice. Once I sped and another time we got door slammed.”
 
But in spite of all that, he came away with a great finish, thanks to some skillful driving and the quick work and smart decisions made by the Menards/Jack Links crew.”

 “I am really proud of my guys,” Menard said. “We made a gutsy call to stay out on no tires with a bunch of laps on them. Gutsy call.” 

 “We had the car to hold on though, so it worked out.”
 
 Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he too was pleased with the way the day turned out, especially with Ford drivers taking seven of the top eight finishing positions including the top three.
 
“We didn’t think we’d even get to race with the forecast like it was,” Wood said. “And then to come back from adversity to get a top-five finish was a bonus.”
 
“You always want to run well at Michigan since it’s the home track for Ford Motor Company. There were hundreds of Ford people here at the track, and we were especially glad to have a top-five finish with Ford executive Brett Wheatley with us on the pit box.”
 
Menard’s finish moved him into a tie with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for 16th place in the championship standings. The two drivers are four points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final spot in the playoff standings with 11 races remaining in the 26-race regular season.

WBR PR

In a rain delay-shortened race at Michigan, Matt Kenseth was the victim of an accident late in stage one resulting in a 33rd –place finish in his Wyndham Rewards Ford Fusion.

In what was supposed to be a 2 p.m. ET start time, the race eventually went green around 4:45 p.m. ET after a long rain delay, but it wouldn’t be the only rain of the day. Kenseth rolled off the grid 19th after advancing to the second round of qualifying on Friday.

The three-time Michigan winner found himself 22nd following the lap 25 competition caution battling a loose-handling car. Twenty laps later, the Cambridge, Wisconsin, native went for a spin sustaining minor damage.

A penalty and series of stops would put Kenseth two laps down at the stage break, as the crew continued work underneath as well as cosmetically. As the rain picked up, the race rolled on as the 2003 Cup Champion eventually got one lap back to improve to 33rd, his finishing position for the day.

The No. 6 returns to the track Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma Raceway with Trevor Bayne back behind the wheel. Race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on FS1 and PRN.

RFR PR

After earning his best career starting position in his 11 starts at Michigan International Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got caught up in late-race incident resulting in a 29th-place finish in Sunday’s rain-shortened Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race.

“We just struggled overall today,” Stenhouse said. “We could just never find the grip we needed. I was really hoping for a better showing since we were in the backyards of Roush Industries and Ford. We will regroup this week and be ready for Sonoma.”

In Ford and Roush Industries back yard, the two-time Xfinity champion started the rain delayed 200-lap race in the seventh position but fell to 16th by the time the competition yellow was displayed due to an ill-handling machine. After restarting 15th for the remainder of the stage, Stenhouse lost track position as he lacked overall grip taking the green checkered in the 27th position.

During the second 60-lap stage, the Olive Branch, Miss. native made contact with a fellow competitor causing a hole in the front nose forcing Stenhouse to pit multiple times during the caution on lap 85.

With rain in the nearby area, Stenhouse restarted 31st and was working his way through the field when contact was made by the No. 95 machine sending the Fastenal Ford for a spin. The No. 17 crew worked feverishly to repair the mangled right rear fender. Unfortunately, the rain moved in not allowing the field to go back green forcing Stenhouse to settle with a 29th-place finish.

Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 24.

RFR PR

Race Winner:  Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 60):

Bowyer started 12th and finished third.

Bowyer and his three Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates ran in the top-five on the opening lap.

Took four tires during a lap-25 caution and raced in sixth.

Climbed to third by lap 49 and kept that position, surviving a wild one-lap shootout to end the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 120):

Bowyer started sixth and finished second.

Restarted fourth and moved into second on lap 72.

Reported that his car was tight, but the handling improved through the run.

● Pitted from second on lap 87 and restarted third.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 133):

Bowyer started second and finished first.

● Took two tires for track position and restarted outside of teammate Kevin Harvick.

● Raced side-by-side with Harvick to begin Stage 3, then took the lead coming out of turn four.

● Led the final eight laps before rain forced officials to red flag the race.

 

Notes:

● Bowyer’s victory in the FireKeepers Casino 400 marked the 51st overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 46th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its second at Michigan.

● This was SHR’s 10th Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.

● Bowyer was followed by SHR teammates Harvick and Busch to secure the first 1-2-3 finish in SHR history.

● This was Bowyer’s second Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2017 following his previous win earlier this season, on March 26, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

● This was Bowyer’s first victory in 25 career Cup Series starts at Michigan.

● Bowyer led the final eight laps to bring his career laps-led total at Michigan to 36.

● With the win, Bowyer earned five playoff points. He finished third in Stage 1 to earn eight bonus points and second in Stage 2 to earn an additional nine bonus points.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 30 laps.

● Twenty-nine of the 39 drivers in the Firekeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We won the last time we had Haas Automation with VF-1 on the hood of this Ford Fusion, and this car was so fast today. One, two, three finish for Stewart-Haas Racing. Unbelievable. It took something crazy on a restart to be able to get Kevin (Harvick). That was a gutsy call. When we went out there on two tires; I looked in the mirror and I was so far ahead of everybody else I was like, ‘Oh man, we are in trouble!’ The rain came just in enough time. I was trying to hold him off. I was cutting him off and taking his line away pretty bad. If it wasn’t for a win you wouldn’t be doing that. He was so much faster than me in one and two. I got down in three and just had to take his line because that bear was coming.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

TSC PR

Race Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Kevin Harvick started fourth, finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.

The No. 4 Jimmy John’s team raced to second immediately following the green flag.

● Harvick was called to pit road during the competition caution on lap 26 for a two-tire stop and restarted second.

● The No. 4 Ford was in the sixth position on lap 56 when a caution flag flew, but NASCAR opted to keep the pits closed.

● Harvick restarted sixth on lap 58 and raced up to fourth in the two-lap dash to end the stage.

● The team came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and wedge and air pressure adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started fourth and finished first to earn 10 bonus points and a playoff point.

After opting to stay out during the lap-66 caution, Harvick restarted second on lap 72 and immediately drove to the lead.

● Harvick came to pit road under caution on lap 87 for two tires and fuel, and he won the race off pit road.

The No. 21 car stayed out to restart first on lap 90, but Harvick immediately raced to the lead.

Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford held the lead for the remainder of the stage.

The team came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and wedge and air pressure adjustments and came off pit road in the second position behind Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Clint Bowyer, who opted for two tires.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-133):

Started second and finished second.

Harvick battled Bowyer for the lead before a wreck brought out the final caution on lap 130.

With Harvick still running second behind Bowyer, rain began to fall, forcing NASCAR to end the event on lap 133.

 

Notes:

● This was Harvick’s series-best 11th top-five and 12th top-10 finish of 2018.

● Harvick earned his 11th top-five and 16th top-10 in 35 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan.

● Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and won Stage 2 to earn 10 bonus points and a playoff point.

● Harvick led three times for a race-high 49 laps to increase his laps-led total at Michigan to 372.

● Harvick’s runner-up result, Bowyer’s win and Kurt Busch’s third-place finish secured the first 1-2-3 finish in SHR history.

● The FireKeepers Casino 400 was completed under caution, with rain ending the race after 133 of its scheduled 200 laps.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 30 laps.

● Twenty-nine of the 39 drivers in the FireKeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It was a weird day. If you are going to have rain kind of take one from you, I would rather give it to my teammate. I am happy for Clint and all the guys on the 14 team. Everyone on our car did a great job. I had a really fast car, and the pit crew was the best thing that happened all day. They were solid all day and kept us up front. That to me is the best thing that came out of today.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

 

TSC PR

Race Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Kurt Busch started first and finished seventh to earn four bonus points.

Busch started on the pole and led the first 25 laps until the competition caution. Busch said the car was good but a little tight.

● The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted on lap 27 for right-side tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. He came out in the first position.

● Ryan Blaney passed Busch for the lead on lap 47.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started 10th and finished third to earn eight bonus points.

Busch pitted on lap 62 for four tires, fuel and a wedge and tire pressure adjustment.

● Busch pitted on lap 87 for right-side tires and fuel and came out in third place.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-133):

Started fourth and finished third.

The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted on lap 122 for four tires and fuel.

Busch worked his way up to third place and finished behind two of his Stewart-Hass Racing (SHR) teammates, winner Clint Bowyer and second-place Kevin Harvick. Rain began falling after lap 133, and the race was ended 67 laps before the scheduled 200.

 

Notes:

●  This was Busch’s third top-five of 2018.

●  Busch earned his sixth top-five in 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan.

●  Busch finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn eight bonus points.

●  Busch led the first 46 laps to increase his laps-led total at Michigan to 494.

●  The FireKeepers Casino 400 was completed under caution, with rain ending the race after 133 of its scheduled 200 laps.

●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 30 laps.

●  Twenty-nine of the 39 drivers in the FireKeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Clint Bowyer’s victory in the FireKeepers Casino 400 marked the 51st overall win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). It was the organization’s 46th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its second at Michigan.

●  Sunday’s win marked SHR’s seventh victory in the first 15 races of the 2018 season.

●  This was SHR’s 10th Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.

●  Harvick finished second and Busch came home third to secure the first 1-2-3 finish in SHR history.

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We had an excellent day all the way through; no big mistakes, no rough moments. Pit stops were solid, adjustments were solid. Restarts, I’d say three-quarters of the time I was on the inside lane, so that might have been a little bit where we were pinned down. But you have to make do with what you have, how the chips fall. I’m happy with our effort today. To finish third, rain-shortened, of course you always want to go back racing again, but to see the two cars in front of me at the end, the 4 and the 14, that’s a big day for Stewart‑Haas Racing. It’s very special to finish 1‑2‑3. Tried to get to your outside when we were on the track, maybe get a picture with the 14, 4 and 41 to symbolize such a special day at Michigan. To win at Stewart‑Haas for Ford 1‑2‑3, it’s a huge day. Big thanks to Monster Energy, Haas Automation and Ford. Great day for all of our partners.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

 

MIS PR

Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Dow Salutes Veterans Camaro ZL1 Team Continue Upward Trend with 14th-Place Finish at Michigan International Speedway
 

 14th
 
 
 16th
 
 18th
"What a wild race! It was crazy racing in the rain like that. I couldn't even see out of my windshield because of the rain drops. Overall, we had a solid run in our Dow Salutes Veterans Camaro ZL1. By the end of Stage 2, we had one of the fastest cars on the track. We just lacked the track position. When the rain really started coming down hard, that ended the race. Our Dow Racing team is still trending in the right direction. We just need a little bit more to compete with the next group of cars. I want to thank Dow for honoring US Armed Forces service members on our car this weekend. Without our military, we wouldn't be able to race and do what we love on the weekends. I'm thankful for their service."
-Austin Dillon 
Rain Shortens Firekeepers Casino 400 Resulting in 22nd-Place Finish for Ryan Newman and the Okuma Team
 

 22nd
 
 
 11th
 
 22nd
"Rain certainly played a big role in strategizing for this race. Early on we raced in the top 10, but as rain approached we opted for four fresh tires in hopes of making it to the end of Stage 2 in a better scenario. Instead, we realized our car did not respond well in traffic and dirty air. It pretty much bogged us down and prevented our Okuma Camaro ZL1 from making up the ground we had anticipated gaining. Then the rain finally came to end the race. It has been a tough go for us of late. Here's hoping the off weekend will allow us to recharge and get this bad luck monkey off our back."
-Ryan Newman 

RCR PR

Race Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Aric Almirola started sixth and finished 10th to earn one bonus point.

The Mobil 1 driver battled a tight-handling condition throughout the stage, noting that he was also losing lateral grip.

● Almirola maintained a top-five spot through the first 28 laps, but after rolling through his box too far on pit road Almirola restarted 17th on lap 29.

● The Mobil 1 driver quickly moved up two spots to break back into the top-15.

● On the final lap of the stage, Almirola made a jump on the restart to gain four positions, ultimately ending Stage 1 in 10th.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started 14th and finished 17th.

The Mobil 1 driver wheeled his way back into the top-10 by the halfway point in Stage 2.

● Almirola reported a tight-handling condition on throttle as Stage 2 progressed, but he noted the team did make progress on handling from Stage 1.

The Mobil 1 crew opted to take four tires rather than two during the lap-86 caution period. The first car on four fresh tires was in spot 14, and Almirola restarted 15th.

Almirola was shuffled back to 17th on the following restart, where he ultimately finished the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-133):

Started 14th and finished 11th.

Almirola raced his Mobil 1 machine up to 11th by lap 129 before rain began falling and ended the event on lap 133.

 

Notes:

●  This was Almirola’s 13th top-15 of 2018.

●  Almirola earned his best finish at Michigan in 12 career NASCAR Cup Series starts. His previous best result at Michigan was 12th, earned last August.

●  Almirola finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point.   

●  The FireKeepers Casino 400 was completed under caution, with rain ending the race after 133 of its scheduled 200 laps.

●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 30 laps.

●  Twenty-nine of the 39 drivers in the FireKeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, I hate it for my guys. We had such a fast Mobil 1 Ford Fusion. I’m proud of our team, and I’m looking forward to coming back to the track at Sonoma.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

 

TSC PR

Race Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Kyle Busch started third, finished 12th.

● While Busch qualified third on Friday, he was forced to drop to the back of the field right before the start for a penalty in prerace technical inspection, so he was 39th when the green flag waved after a more than 2½-hour rain delay.

● The driver of the M&M’S Red, White and Blue Toyota didn’t stay back there long, as he moved up to 24th by lap five and into the top-20 by lap 15.

● Busch worked his way up to 17th when the caution competition waved on lap 25, pitted on lap 27 and restarted 14th on lap 28.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Busch started 14th, finished fourth.

The M&M’S Red, White and Blue driver jumped from 14th to inside the top-10 early in Stage 2, and he found himself seventh by lap 86. Busch finally ran inside the top-five after a pit stop on lap 87.

During the next 30-lap run, Busch was able to get by Paul Menard to finish Stage 2 in fourth place.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121-133):

Busch started fifth, finished fourth.

Busch pitted for four tires and an air pressure adjustment following Stage 2, and restarted fifth on lap 122.

Rain, which had already delayed the race, was on the horizon as the race passed the halfway point, and Busch and his fellow competitors knew they were racing for the win. Busch was able to move up one spot to fourth by the time the rain came on lap 131.

With the rain falling on the 2-mile oval and darkness coming quickly, the race was called 67 laps short of the scheduled distance with Busch bringing home a hard-earned top-five finish.

 

Notes:

This is Busch’s fifth top-five and ninth top-10 finish in 27 career Cup Series starts at the 2-mile oval.

Busch’s finish is his 10th top-five in 15 races thus far this season.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White and Blue Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“The blue ovals were just tough today – it wasn’t anything about SHR (Stewart Haas Racing). They go down the straightaway really, really fast. We have a hard time keeping up with them there, but our car through the corner was really awesome. The M&M’s Red, White and Blue Camry was really good there after yesterday’s practice. I thought we had something for them, and if it was going to be a little bit hotter and sunnier today, I felt like we were going to be really good. That just wasn’t the conditions for today, so chilly and cool and lots of grip, and that was better for all those guys, but we gave it a hard-fought fight and came home with what we could there – a fourth. Not too shabby. I thought we had third, and then Kurt (Busch) blew my doors off on the straightaway. We’ve just got to get better there and try to make it up and be able to put on a fight here later on this year.”

 

Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Toyota/Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

 

TSC PR

While running 18th, Martin Truex Jr.’s hope of making a late-race charge fizzled when NASCAR called the race due to rain with 67 laps remaining in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The scheduled 200-lap race was also delayed at the start for 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Truex’s No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota never could find the right balance for the high-speed, 2-mile oval which was evident with finishes of 11th and 15th in the first two stages. What also hurt Truex was being positioned in the non-preferred inside lane for the majority of the restarts.

On the final pit stop – following the completion of the second stage -- crew chief Cole Pearn called for major changes to improve the handling of the No. 78 but didn’t get the opportunity to see if they would make a difference as the race was called shortly afterwards on Lap 133.

“We never could get to where we needed to be,” said Truex. “The steering was wacky, the car was bouncing, just not a good day. You’re going to have a race like this over a 36-race schedule. We’ll look at everything to see where we went wrong and then enjoy the weekend off for Father’s Day before heading to Sonoma for the road race in two weeks.”

Truex, who was the race winner at Pocono last week, dropped from fourth to sixth in the driver point standings. His two victories this season assure him of a playoff berth.

The race winner was Clint Bowyer. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray.

The race had eight cautions for 30 laps and there were nine lead changes among seven drivers.

The NASCAR Cup Series will have next weekend off for Father’s Day and then resume action Sunday June 24 at the Sonoma Raceway road course.

FRR PR