Alex Bowman gets first Cup Series victory at Chicagoland

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400

Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

By Eric Young

JOLIET, Ill. — After several second-place finishes, Alex Bowman is now a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner. 

Bowman held off a late-race charge by Kyle Larson to earn his first-career Cup Series victory in the Camping World 400 June 30 at Chicagoland Speedway. 

“I’m pretty speechless,” Bowman said. “I feel like I just want to get home and enjoy it with my friends. It’s all I’ve wanted my whole life and now that we’ve went and won a race, I don’t really know what to do with myself a little bit.”

“I don’t come from a racing family,” Bowman said. “I don’t have a big resume. I kind of went from running in the back every week to doing this. Still, not quite sure how that all happened, but it’s been a heck of a ride. Just very thankful for the opportunity. Thankful for getting to work with people like Greg Ives and this 88 team.”

Bowman, ironically, led 88 laps — the same number as his car — on the way to the victory. Most importantly, after Kyle Larson passed Bowman at lap 160, Bowman was able to battle back and regain the lead on lap 262 and hold off Larson for the final five laps. 

“I’m just kind of tired of running second,” Bowman said. “I felt like we had a car capable of winning and we got help up there for a while. I got super frustrated with some lapped cars, just because, not helping us. Which they don’t have to help us, but that’s just part of it.”

“We lost a big lead there,” Bowman continued. “I got pretty frustrated, burnt the right rear tire off trying to get around some lapped cars and when Kyle got around me, I was going to tear the right side off it trying to run the fence or get back around him. Glad we kept it out of the fence, and I was kind of surprised that he left the top open like he did and left clean air up there and surprised it worked.”

For the second year in a row, Larson earned a second-place finish in a late-race battle with the eventual winner. 

“We had a good battle there,” Larson said after the race. “Me and Alex battled it seemed like most of the race there. I was surprised I was able to get to him. When we left the green flag stops, my balance was kind of free and I figured he was just going to take off and I was really focused on Joey in my mirror and trying to hold him off and all of the sudden I was like, oh wow, we’re catching him.”

“Caught him pretty quickly too, and was able to get by him pretty quickly too, and thought I could pull away, but he was able to get some big runs on me and get to my inside and then side-draft me down the backstretch and get by and then do a good job of hitting his marks and getting the balance back underneath him to hold me off,” Larson said. 

Larson said he expected it to be tougher to pass Bowman for the lead. 

“He’s really aggressive and we always race each other really hard,” Larson said. “But I was able to get by him and like I said, when I got out in front of him — when I was behind him, I could see he was struggling. He was really loose off of four, a little bit off of two. I felt like my balance was really good at that point. You’d have through if I could stretch out to a four- or five-car-length gap I could win. But he got a big enough run off of four to get a good tow off the front stretch and get to my inside.”

For a while it looked like Logano might be the one to have a chance at Bowman, as he and Larson battled for second. But Logano ended up with a third-place finish. 

“I was hoping to make a run at him there after that last green flag cycle,” Logano said. “We had a great pit stop and caught the 42 and were racing with him and the car just got tight there at the end and they drove away.”

Logano said he wasn’t surprised to see the Hendrick cars run as good as they did at Chicagoland. 

“They’ve been slowly but surely picking up speed the last six weeks,” he said. “You knew it was just a matter of time before one of them was going to win. It seemed like certain things were happening, execution issues, things like that, but their speed has been close. I think today it showed.”

Jimmie Johnson led a chunk of laps at the beginning of the race on the way to a fourth-place finish. He said he hopes to use that to propel the team further as the season continues. 

“Take a deep breath, enjoy it,” Johnson said. “Celebrate it some and then Monday, we get back to work and try to get better. It gives us a nice direction. Helps us build confidence in the areas that we’ve been working and hopefully we can continue to build on this.”

The race was stopped after 11 laps for rain and resumed almost three-and-a-half hours later. The race had 23 lead changes among 13 drivers. Kevin Harvick led the most laps with 132, but hit the wall in the middle of the race and was only able to rally to a 14th-place finish. 

There were five cautions for 25 laps.

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Ty Dillon proposes caution with 15 to go to encourage younger fans to tune in

NASCAR Production Photo Days - Day 1

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon poses for a portrait during the NASCAR Production Photo Days at Charlotte Convention Center on January 29, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

By Eric Young

JOLIET, Ill. — Ty Dillon has some ideas to make NASCAR appeal to the younger fan, and while many of those ideas might be met with resistance from long-time, diehard NASCAR fans, Dillon said no good ideas will come without criticism. 

Dillon met with members of the media Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway where he was asked about recent ideas. He suggested there that he thinks NASCAR should consider throwing a caution each week with 15 laps to go to bunch up the field and give fans one more restart to enjoy. 

“I think this package has done one of two things,” Dillon said. “Restarts are amazing. They’re great to watch and when we provide them in the race, we’re having some of the best races that NASCAR’s seen. But on the other hand, we’re having less cautions. People aren’t spinning these cars out. So maybe we need to have talks of having a third stage implemented — or we have three stages (now) — maybe a fourth stage would be the correct way. Or every weekend, 15 to go, we have a caution. And maybe you pay extra points to win the third stage, but look at something as far as adding a fourth stage where you know there’s going to be a 15-lap shootout, or 20-lap shootout.”

He said the points could be set up so that there wouldn’t be a driver dominating all day and then falling victim to the late shootout and losing a ton of points. 

“There’s something there that we can do,” Dillon said. “We need another caution at the end of these races at least 15 to go, to get us where every single week we’re going to have that action.”

Dillon has been throwing out ideas for ways to get younger people to the track each week, saying NASCAR has these huge stadiums every week and could do more to utilize them. He said he has gotten some response from NASCAR as a result of his comments. 

“I haven’t gotten the ‘come work for us’ response yet, but maybe one day,” he said. “NASCAR has definitely reached out since some of my comments and they seem somewhat interested. I haven’t heard anything from them recently, but before we went to Sonoma, we talked about some things and it led to us running a live 360 cam inside the car to get some of these things in motion.” 

“I think there are a lot of things that they just need to stay open minded and honest about in regards to where we are at as a sport and focus on what we can do to keep it rolling,” Dillon continued. “I know it takes a lot of people pulling in the same direction, but there are some clear obvious things that we can do that I feel like we can enhance our sport to take it to the next level. Sometimes it just needs to be said to get the ball rolling.”

Dillon said he would like to see each car have a live stream camera in it during each race. 

“We can afford that in this sport, and whoever wants to do it can do it,” he said. “THat way, we can maybe live stream from each driver’s personal account, team’s account or it can vary week to week. This is to drive fan engagement to certain sponsors, teams and add value that way.” 

“Drivers, owners, race teams, TV providers all have to understand the importance that we have to open our minds to the fact that between these stages is just as important to the future of the sport to communicate to our fans as it is to get in the right call of information,” Dillon said. “Yes, you have to get the right information into our crew chief first, but we can maybe take an extra pace lap under caution for a social media lap. Maybe that is something NASCAR can take a look at. Maybe have a PR representative, a third person in the pit box, or a second radio that only they can contact you on to answer questions from fans really quick. The driver then could interact with our fans live during the race.”

Dillon said it won’t take much to get a person hooked on the sport. 

“Once people get here to our sport, all it takes is watching one lap and they find a driver that did something cool or they walk by a driver or a driver’s at a concert that’s going on at the track, or they interact one time, then they might turn the TV on the next week and follow that driver,” Dillon said. “Then they might buy their gear, then they’re definitely coming back, whether they’re coming back for the race or the thing that got them there in the first place, the entertainment level. There’s so much more that we can do and be multiple facet. We have huge stadiums at these racetracks. We have so much land and we have so much opportunity to provide multiple facets of entertainment, and if we’re going to grow the sport, we need to do that. We need to use everything we have.”

Dillon said he’s OK with people who might think his ideas won’t work. 

“Every great thing that’s happened in this world has had a lot of naysayers,” he said.

Cole Custer dominates for Xfinity win at Chicagoland

NASCAR Xfinity Series Camping World 300

Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Camping World 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 29, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

By Eric Young

JOLIET, Ill. — Cole Custer led more than three quarters of Saturday’s Camping World 300 Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on the way to a dominating victory and his fourth victory of the 2019 campaign. 

“Our car was pretty good all day,” Custer said after the race. “The problem is it is never going to be absolutely perfect here. The track is so slick and everything. You have to have it the way you want and manageable. It changed a lot through a run and I really worked the brake bias a lot today trying to help the handling a little bit, and that helped us a lot. We had a great car. I don’t think anybody had anything for us. We made little to no adjustments all day.”

One of the few drivers who did have something for Custer during the day was defending Cup Series Champion Joey Logano, who led 20 laps on the way to a second-place finish. Logano praised Custer’s performance during the 300-miler. 

“Cole did really good,” Logano said with a laugh. “I got to race around him a lot. He executed the restarts perfectly. He had the fastest car and he made the most of that. I thought he did good.”

“I was impressed with what Cole was able to do up next to the wall,” Logano said. “As aggressively as he was entering and being able to keep it off and run a smart race. That’s hard to do when you’re young.”

Custer said later that he appreciated the compliments from Logano. 

“That is huge,” he said. “Joey is a series champion and it was fun racing with him today. I think we had the better car and that was a huge part of it. I think it is fun racing against those Cup guys. They set the bar high. It’s good now how they have it. I think we put on better racing when we are by ourselves, but you still get that benchmark for when the Cup guys come down to know where you’re really at.”

One of the biggest moves of the day was made by the teams of Michael Annett and Noah Gragson. Both drivers stayed out until the end of a fuel run late in hopes of a caution, which came out just before the two would come to pit road, allowing them to lead the field to the pits and come out ahead. 

Annett called the strategy amazing and said the caution fell perfect for him.

“(Crew Chief Travis Mack) was about to call me in that lap, then it came,” Annett said. “So it fell perfect for us and got those tires and got the lead, and knew it was going to be hard to hold off those guys that led the whole race. They were on the top of the board all weekend, so you try not to get down when they get around you on those restarts, knowing that they’ve been faster than you all day and there’s no magic switch. A couple of them got by me, but then we were able to hold off the guys that we should have and got a top five.”

Annett finished fourth on the track, though he was moved up to third when the No. 20 car of Christopher Bell was disqualified for failing post-race tech. 

Gragson fell back to seventh after getting into the wall late. 

“We just struggled with front grip there at the end of the race and it was an up-and-down day all day,” Gragson said. “Just got to keep digging and we’re not going to quit. We’re going to keep on pushing until we get to Homestead making baby steps.”

As for how close he was on fuel before the final pit stop, he said he wasn’t sure. 

“I didn’t run out,” he said. “So I don’t know. Not close I guess.”

Brandon Jones finished fourth and Austin Cindric came home fifth. There were 10 lead changes among five drivers and six cautions for 30 laps.

Fast pit stop leads to victory for Moffitt

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225

Brett Moffitt, driver of the #24 GMS Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 28, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

By Eric Young

JOLIET, Ill. — A fast pit stop on the last yellow flag stop of the race helped propel Brett Moffitt to his second win in three weeks in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225 Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway. 

Moffitt beat the rest of the field off pit road at the end of Stage 2 to take the lead. He led throughout the final stage and retained the lead after green flag pit stops to take his ninth-career victory and repeat his victory last year at Chicagoland. 

But Moffitt said the win was more than just the pit stop. 

“It was the whole team,” he said after the race. “It’s one thing to have speed. It’s one thing to be able to move top to bottom and have speed everywhere you go.”

“So pit stops, if you can make up ground, it’s always a big plus,” Moffitt said. “But I felt like we had a truck capable of passing trucks, especially on the long run. We didn’t really fall off much. I could get up to the fence and be able to have good speed. I’ll always take coming off pit road first, but I feel like a hell of a lot more than that went into winning this race.”

Moffitt led 72 laps on the way to the victory. 

Starting 19th, Brandon Jones was able to race to first at the end of the first stage to take the win. He would finish second in the next stage, battling with Grant Enfinger, before claiming a second-place finish at the end of the race. Jones said because Moffitt was able to pit earlier, it made it too difficult to catch him at the end of the race, despite having a faster truck. 

“They just pitted a little bit earlier than us and got back on the track quicker,” Jones said. “That entire run there at the end we were about a tenth better lap time the entire run. So kind of heartbreaking to listen to that coming over the radio all night long. But I told these guys that’s how the 51 should run every time it comes to the race track — be in contention for the win.”

Jones’ next start for KBM in the 51 truck will be at Kentucky in two weeks. He said he hasn’t started to prepare for that race yet, but he hopes for another strong performance. 

“I’ll have to go back and watch some races,” he said. “It’s kind of what I do to prep, I try to go back and see what the average lap was doing. If we can move around there, that will be great too. But you’ve got to stay out of the air in these trucks. I think I learned that tonight for sure, and being able to run here, you can run everywhere, so that helped us a bunch.”

Stewart Friesen, Harrison Burton and Austin Hill rounded out the top-five. 

Matt Crafton was running sixth during a caution late in the race when his truck stalled, forcing him to fall to the rear before it restarted. 

“We were overheating really, really bad,” he said. “I tried to cycle the motor to try to keep it cool, and there was something wrong with the idle. It was stuck at like 4500 to 5000 RPM and they’re thinking the throttle position thought it had too much throttle on to start it, so it wouldn’t… I had to mess with the throttle and finally got it fired back up at that point, but just too late.”

Crafton would make a dive-bomb move into the first turn on the restart, taking to the apron to try and make up some ground. 

“I had to make hay at that point,” he said. “They said we were four-wide and I figured I’d better get down there and see if I could clear them all before I got there.”

There were five cautions for 27 laps and 12 lead changes among seven drivers. Moffitt led the most laps, with Enginger leading the second-most before falling to 16th at the end due to damage sustained in an accident late in the race. 

Chastain says performance this year will help next year’s plans

NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series CarShield 200 presented by CK Power

Ross Chastain, driver of the CarSheild.com Chevrolet, poses with the winner’s sticker after winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series CarShield 200 presented by CK at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 22, 2019 in Madison, Illinois. Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

By Eric Young

JOLIET, Ill. — A week after earning his way into the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs for the second time, Ross Chastain said Friday at Chicagoland Speedway that he isn’t currently working on next year’s plans, but strong runs this year will help bring those plans together. 

“I’m just trying to win races, just be competitive,” Chastain said. “I haven’t had any talks on stuff. There’s people I know working on it for me behind the scenes and stuff, but there’s no talks on my end. I just know winning and being competitive, going out there in the 10 car this weekend (in the Xfinity Series) with Kaulig racing and Nutrien, I know if we outperform in that, it will help. But you have to perform and you have to win to get their attention.”

Chastain seemingly earned his way to a playoff berth with a victory in Iowa, but that win was stripped less than an hour after the race when his truck failed post-race inspection. He followed that up last weekend with a win at World Wide Technology Raceway. Now he just needs to make it into the top-20 in points to be eligible. 

He said it was a feeling of redemption getting the win in Gateway. 

“I could hardly sleep all week after Iowa, I was so mad,” Chastain said. “I just felt like we had the rug ripped right out from under us, which seems to be the norm for me these days. So you just get up and fight. We fought through the appeal. If I never have to go through that again, it will be too soon.”

If you look at the record book for the 2019 season so far, it lists two wins for Chastain. However, his truck has three win stickers on it, one still for the win that was taken away in Iowa. 

“We felt like we won them, and the team put them on and I stand behind them 100 percent,” Chastain said. “Those are my guys and girls, and they’re the ones that are giving me the race trucks capable of winning. We won that race in Iowa. yeah, I know we were low. We’re not trying to say we weren’t in the wrong. But the punishment definitely didn’t fit the crime, and we just love everybody knowing that we won three races this year.”

Not only is Chastain competing in the truck series and the Xfinity Series, he’s also running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as well. He said it can be challenging bouncing from one garage to the other on race weekends. 

“It’s tough,” he said. “Most times there’s only like five minutes between practices.”

He said there is also an issue with having enough “stuff.”

“I’m pretty cheap, so I only have two of everything,” Chastain said. “Two helmets, two Hans devices. So I struggle with that. I need to get off the wallet a little bit. It’s just kind of how I’ve always been. I’ve always carried my stuff with me. You know, the old saying, ‘Have helmet, will travel.’”

“I actually like it that I have the same helmet most of the time,” he added. “It fits me. It doesn’t smell really good, but it smells like me. It’s what I’m used to.”

He said it definitely benefits him to race in all three series. 

“So I had three hours of truck practice yesterday,” he said Saturday. “And then today I’ll have an hour of Xfinity and 10 minutes later I’ll be qualifying a truck. So that will help me in the truck for sure.”

Podcast #113 — Truex holds off Busch for 4th win at Sonoma

Recap: Toyota Save-Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway

  • Truex holds off Kyle Busch
    • 4th win of the season (Tied with KB for the most in Cup this season)
  • Winners and losers?

News Items: 

Preview: Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway

Picks:

    • Eric: Kyle Busch
    • James: Chase Elliott
    • Dark Horse
    • James: Matt DiBenedetto
    • Eric: William Byron
  • Shoutouts if any
    • XXX 

Fantasy League Update

Close show 

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook: Facebook.com/TheSuperSpeedway

 For more of the podcast:

  • Website address: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well. 
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

Become a Patron at www.patreon.com/thesuperspeedway

Podcast #112 — An interview with Hendrick Motorsports Crew Chief Kevin Meendering

Show notes:

This week was an off-week for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, so we decided to take the week off from the regular podcast. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a podcast for you this week.  We’ll get to that in a minute. First let’s take a quick look at some of the news from the Gander Outdoors Truck Series this Sunday.

Saturday’s truck series race from Iowa Speedway was postponed until Sunday morning due to rain. During the race, there was an altercation between Austin Hill and Johnny Sauter that resulted in Hill spinning Sauter and putting Sauter into the wall. Instead of pitting, Sauter fired up his truck and attempted to wreck Hill. Sauter was parked for the day and called to the NASCAR hauler.

Today NASCAR announced that as a result of his actions, Sauter has been suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next Gander Outdoors Truck Series race. He remains eligible to compete for the truck series championship however. The ruling comes on the precident of similar penalties against Kyle Busch when he wrecked Ron Horniday, as well as Matt Kenseth for crashing Joey Logano a few years ago at Martinsville.

That wasn’t the only controversy from the race, however. In what seemed like a storybook ending for Ross Chastain, the “mellon man” as he has been coined dominated the race and took the win, all but ensuring he would be in the playoffs for the truck series just a couple races after changing his points eligibility from the Xfinity Series.

However, Chastain’s truck failed postrace inspection, and he was disqualified from the event. He received last-place points and forfeited the win — the first time that this has happened since NASCAR announced it would take wins away for post-race violations at the beginning of the season. As a result, Brett Moffitt was declared the winner.

We will likely talk more about both of these stories next week when James returns to the podcast.

Back to the task at hand.

Last week I was in attendance at the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. During the weekend, I was able to talk to several drivers. One of which was Jimmie Johnson. Friday morning when I was walking through the garage area, I happened across Jimmie, who bumped into former crew chief Chad Knaus. The two shared a hug and talked for several minutes. During a breakout session in the media center Friday, I was able to ask Jimmie about the meeting, and how the relationship has been with Chad since the two split at the end of the season. The audio isn’t the greatest, because I had an issue with my good recorder Friday, but it works. Here’s what he had to say.

—-

Now the main reason for this podcast. What many may not know is, Jimmie’s current crew chief, Kevin Meendering, is a native of Michigan, having been born in Grand Rapids. As a result, a few of the journalists in attendance from Michigan were invited to chat with Meendering before the race Sunday morning. I’m going to play the interview mostly in its entirety. You’ll hear questions from me as well as the other journalists. Unfortunately, I don’t have their names. But enjoy about 15 minutes of semi-exclusive conversation with Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief, Kevin Meendering.

—-

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook: Facebook.com/TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

  • Website address: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

Become a Patron at www.patreon.com/thesuperspeedway

Podcast #111 — Joey Logano dominates at MIS

Show notes:

Recap: FireKeepers Casino 400 from Michigan International Speedway

  • Joey Logano wins/Dominates?
    • Listening to Joey’s scanner, TJ Majors was directing him like at a superspeedway, telling him where to run and everything the cars behind him were doing
      • AUDIO (1:14) Eric asked Joey how big of a role TJ Majors played in the victory Monday
  • Winners and Losers
  • Kurt Busch had a chance at the end
    • AUDIO (:19) Kurt said it was a whole new Michigan, and had the final caution not come out at the end, he had a plan to beat Joey
  • Did Joey jump the start?
    • Audio (0:08) Kyle Busch says yes
    • Audio (0:10) Kurt uncommitted, but says he would have done the same
    • Audio (0:08) Joey was cheeky about it in the media center

  • Overall, what did we think of the package at Michigan? Did it deliver?
    • Brad kind of dodged questions on it in the media center Friday
      • Audio (1:20) Last year Brad said this package would take the raw skill away. This year, Dustin Long asked him if that’s been the case, and Brad said he’s not thinking about it.
    • Jimmie Johnson said he doesn’t like it
      • Audio (0:05) Jimmie not happy with it
    • Kurt Busch enjoyed it at Michigan
      • Audio (0:19) Kurt liked it
    • A word on the season from Matt Weaver
  • The race was postponed from Sunday to Monday at 5 p.m. What do we think of this decision?

News Items:

  • Hailie Deegan got her third career K&N Series victory with another controversial move, spinning her teammate to win. Thoughts?
  • Greg Biffle wins in Kyle Busch’s truck at Texas.
    • Wins the first Triple Truck Challenge bonus
    • Not eligible for bonus at Iowa
  • Alex Bowman will honor Tim Richmond at Darlington
    • Will lose Nationwide as a sponsor at the end of 2019
    • Hendrick says Bowman is safe for 2020 and beyond

Preview: Toyota Save-Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway

  • The carousel returns this year

Picks

    • James: Kurt Busch
    • Eric: Clint Bowyer
    • Dark Horse
    • Eric: Daniel Suarez
    • James: Ryan Newman

Fantasy League Update

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook: Facebook.com/TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

Logano dominates to win postponed FireKeepers Casino 400

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 10, 2019 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, Mich. — After a 27-hour delay due to weather, it took three extra laps to determine the winner in Monday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. But Joey Logano, who dominated the race, was able to hold of challenges by Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch during an overtime finish to take the checkered flag and his third win at the 2-mile oval.

Logano led 163 laps of 203 on the way to the win.

“It was nice to be able to show that the car had a lot of speed throughout the race,” Logano said. “I’m proud of that. What I’m more proud of though is the way we handled everything throughout the weekend. We unloaded with speed, but the car didn’t drive good. We were able to put some handling in the car, got the car driving decent. Qualifying on the front row and putting it on the pole is huge. That paid dividends throughout the whole race.”

“You don’t have days like that that are so close to perfect,” Logano said. “That doesn’t happen very often in our sport. So I’m very proud of the effort that we’ve had really the last few weeks.”

Kurt Busch was able to bring home a second-place finish after passing Martin Truex Jr. during the green-white-checkered. He and Truex worked together before the final caution to track Logano down.

“Logano’s car was strong,” he said. “He led the most laps today and it was going to be tough to beat him, and it was going to take two of us. Truex and I, we were synced up. We definitely had the vibe with him. We were drafting well to catch the 22, then the yellow came out. And after that it’s kind of every man for himself. I got a draft by the 41 down the back straightaway. I cleared the 19. I just didn’t have enough speed to catch the 22.”

Kurt said if the caution hadn’t come out late for Erik Jones’ crash, he had a different strategy to get the win.

“I was going to push the 19 through the 22, that was my other plan,” he said. “Didn’t work out.”

Truex said he didn’t know if there was anything else he could have done to get past Logano.

“We were going to need one heck of a push from behind — a shove down the straightaway,” Truex said. “I could get a little bit of a run, but never enough to get next to him and surely not enough to get next to him and clear him getting in the corner. His car was really good.”

“Hats off to those guys,” Truex said. “I thought we’d rack them up there, you know, green-white-checkered. I thought, hey, maybe we do have a shot at this thing and then he jumped the restart by over a car length. I don’t know, I guess they don’t enforce those rules anymore. We’ll have to remember that next time.”

Despite struggling through much of the race Kyle Busch was able to battle back to a fifth-place finish Monday on a track he has not liked in the past. Kyle has been vocal about the current package, but said his car just wasn’t strong enough to mount a challenge at Michigan.

“I think we got more than what I thought we were going to there most of the day,” Kyle said. “I don’t know, hard to have a fast car. The fastest car here led about every lap, right? We certainly didn’t have enough speed. We didn’t bring enough speed here this weekend, but we adjusted on it all day long. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys made changes. We pulled packer, did rounds, track bar, wedge, everything, and there’s nothing left, I guess.”

Kyle also questioned whether Logano may have gone a little early on the final start.

“Twenty-two may or may not have jumped the restart a little bit and got out and got clear, and pretty monotone after that if you ask me,” Kyle said.

Kurt said Logano went early, but not outside of the rules.

“Logano knew he had to go early, and that was his best chance to squirt ahead of the 19, and that’s what changed the complexion of the race,” Kurt said. “That’s what I would have done if I was in his position.”

Logano denied jumping the start after the race.

“I was able to see it right in front of me,” he said. “I hit it when I got there. I had a good start though, wasn’t it? That was a good one. That one felt good.”

After a pit road penalty early in the race put him down a lap, Michigan’s Brad Keselowski was able to battle back onto the lead lap and finish sixth.

“Just didn’t put it all together,” Keselowski said. “We were in a really good spot and then had the pit road penalty. Lost a lap and took us until about 70 to go to get it back. Kind of miraculous that we got back up to sixth to be honest. Just have to execute the entire weekend. It just didn’t happen today.”

Asked if he could have done what his teammate did if he had the lead, Keselowski said he didn’t know.

“I never got there to see,” he said. “Never got the chance to find out.”

There were 20 lead changes among 11 drivers Monday. There were seven cautions for 35 laps. The time of the race was two hours, 52 minutes and 50 seconds.

FireKeepers Casino 400 postponed due to rain

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Mother Nature was the only winner on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, as rain forced the FireKeepers Casino 400 to be postponed until Monday.

The race is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Monday, June 10. Garages will open to teams at 2 p.m.

NASCAR worked to dry the track, and had made progress multiple times. The field was coming to the green flag at two separate moments before the green was waved off. Eventually the cars were brought onto pit road where they remained until the race was called at around 4:30 p.m.

The SuperSpeedway will be at the track again Monday with full coverage of the race. Follow us on Twitter for updates during the race.