Joey Logano broke his season-long winless streak, dominating Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
Logano finished ahead of two young drivers who are still looking for their first career victories -- rookie Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. Logano’s margin over Elliott was .889th of a second.
The race was run using a new low downforce aerodynamic package which will likely be put in place for the 2017 season.
“We did a great job understanding what this package was going to do,” Logano said. “It was perfect execution.”
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Logano, who started from the pole, hadn’t won since last season’s fall race at Talladega, 18 races ago.
Two veterans -- Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick -- finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Cup series takes next week off, returning June 26 in Sonoma, Calif.
Chase Elliott started first on a restart on Lap 151 (barely beating Logano out of the pits), but he missed a gear, forcing him to drop several places. Logano took control of the race from there and led the rest of the way.
Three who mattered
Joey Logano: Won for first time this season, leading 138 of 200 laps.
Chase Elliott: Said missing a gear on a restart cost him, but still gets a career-high second place.
Kyle Busch: Recent string of bad performances continues, blows engine and finishes dead last.
▪ Dale Earnhardt Jr. was unable to build on the momentum of his second-place finish last week at Pocono. He wrecked on Lap 61, getting caught up with Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger. Buescher took responsibility for the accident. “You’ve got a responsibility to try and take care of everybody out there even when you’re three-wide,” said Earnhardt. “I’m disappointed in that.”
▪ Another Earnhardt, Jeffrey (Dale Jr.’s nephew) had to leave the race when his No. 32 Chevy caught fire entering pit road on Lap Short nugget from the race, no more than two sentences in one paragraph.
▪ Tony Stewart started sixth and finished seventh, one of his best performances of the season (he was sixth at Talladega). He is still looking for that first victory and only moved up one spot in the points standings to 35th. He’s 45 points out of 30th place, where he needs to be if he wants to make the Chase. He was 71 points out of 30th entering the race.
▪ The victory was Team Penske’s 50th Cup victory for Ford, as well as the 100th NASCAR victory for Roush Yates Engines.
They said it
“It’s not a whole lot different than the other package. I think we talk about packages too much.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Three tweets from Sunday’s race:
Where: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
When: 3 p.m., June 26.
TV: Fox Sports 1.
Radio: Performance Radio Network.