ThatsRacin

NASCAR at Michigan: Results, 3 takeaways from Sunday's Cup series race

Clint Bowyer is doused after winning a shortened NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday in Brooklyn, Mich.
Clint Bowyer is doused after winning a shortened NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday in Brooklyn, Mich. AP Photo

Clint Bowyer won the rain-shortened FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, his second win of the season, but there are other implications from the race, as well. Here are the three biggest takeaways from Sunday at Michigan International Speedway:



1. Will Bowyer's win come with an asterisk?


Rain in Michigan ended Sunday's race about 15 laps into the third stage, meaning Bowyer was declared the winner on account of the weather. Would he have held on otherwise? Potentially — after all, Bowyer was fast enough to be in contention into the third stage, with teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch right on his tail. Some will dock Bowyer — and NASCAR, for that matter — a rain-shortened race, but victory or not, Bowyer's showing at Michigan is proof of his resurgent 2018.


2. Nobody is touching Stewart-Haas Racing right now.


SHR is the best team in racing right now, and it's not particularly close. Kevin Harvick's five victories and consistent top-5's are one thing, but then adding in the rest of the team? Clint Bowyer's two victories make Stewart-Haas the only team with two multiple winning drivers so far this year, and Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola both are in the top-11 in the points standings. And now a 1-2-3 finish at Michigan? At this pace, it wouldn't be crazy to see all four SHR drivers make the playoffs.


3. Does Bowyer's second win make him one of NASCAR's elite drivers this year?


This one is tough. Bowyer was already one of the very few drivers this season with a victory — only Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, and Austin Dillon also have wins. Bowyer's first victory, at Martinsville, was something special. He ran away from everyone and led practically the entire race. But this time? It felt more like Bowyer took advantage of the circumstances and ended up on top than that his car was actually the fastest in the field. A win's a win, absolutely, but Bowyer is still just a step below Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Truex on the NASCAR hierarchy.


NASCAR Monster Energy Cup FireKeepers Casino 400

Sunday

At Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Mich.

Lap length: 2.00 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (12) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 133 laps, 57 points.

2. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 133, 52.

3. (1) Kurt Busch, Ford, 133, 46.

4. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 133, 40.

5. (15) Paul Menard, Ford, 133, 38.

6. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 133, 40.

7. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 133, 32.

8. (9) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 133, 44.

9. (13) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 133, 28.

10. (24) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 133, 30.

11. (6) Aric Almirola, Ford, 133, 27.

12. (10) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 133, 31.

13. (14) William Byron, Chevrolet, 133, 28.

14. (16) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 133, 23.

15. (8) Erik Jones, Toyota, 133, 24.

16. (21) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 133, 21.

17. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 133, 20.

18. (17) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 133, 19.

19. (28) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 133, 18.

20. (20) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 133, 17.

21. (31) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 133, 16.

22. (11) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 133, 15.

23. (29) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 133, 14.

24. (18) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 133, 13.

25. (23) Michael McDowell, Ford, 133, 12.

26. (33) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 133, 0.

27. (32) Corey Lajoie, Chevrolet, 133, 10.

28. (26) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 133, 18.

29. (7) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 133, 8.

30. (22) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 132, 7.

31. (34) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 132, 6.

32. (36) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 132, 5.

33. (19) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 132, 4.

34. (37) D.J. Kennington, Toyota, 132, 3.

35. (38) Timmy Hill, Ford, 132, 0.

36. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 131, 1.

37. (35) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 131, 0.

38. (27) David Ragan, Ford, accident, 35, 1.

39. (39) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, transmission, 1, 0.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 135.763 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 0 minutes, 15 seconds.

Margin of Victory: Under Caution.

Caution Flags: 8 for 30 laps.

Lead Changes: 9 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: Ku.Busch 1-46; R.Blaney 47-61; K.Larson 62; K.Kahne 63-71; K.Harvick 72-87; P.Menard 88-90; K.Harvick 91-122; K.Kahne 123-124; K.Harvick 125; C.Bowyer 126-133

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Harvick, 3 times for 46 laps; Ku.Busch, 1 time for 45 laps; R.Blaney, 1 time for 14 laps; K.Kahne, 2 times for 9 laps; C.Bowyer, 1 time for 7 laps; P.Menard, 1 time for 2 laps; K.Larson, 1 time for 0 laps.

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