FireKeepers Casino 400

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Watkins Glen, Michigan announce multi-year sponsor deals

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Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.

WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by GoBowling.com. The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”

This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.

As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.

Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”

The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.

TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.

ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.

The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.

TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.

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NASCAR America: Kyle Larson ‘made a lot of his own luck’ with Michigan restarts

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A few weeks after Kyle Larson lost out on a win at Dover because of a poor late restart, Larson used restarts to his advantage to win Sunday at Michigan.

Larson restarted on the front row multiple times throughout the race, on the inside and outside, and each time was able to beat the other car to the lead.

NASCAR America’s analysts discussed what Larson did right in order to win at Michigan, as Larson mastered the art of the side-drafting to win the day.

“Even though the 42 of Kyle Larson says a lot of things went his way, he made a lot of his own luck on those final few restarts,” said Steve Letarte.

Letarte and Slugger Labbe went over factors outside of driver ability that impact restarts.

“What helps the restart is what happens when the yellow comes out,” Labbe said. “You see the drivers shutting the cars off. What that does is manage the water temps. These cars, as the temperature gets hotter, the engine goes into protection mode and there’s less horsepower because it takes timing away, it puts fuel in the engine and it takes horsepower away. So if you don’t manage your temperatures when the yellow comes out, you’re going to pay the price when they throw the green flag.”

Parker Kligerman also further dissected Larson’s restarts at Dover and Michigan.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s Michigan win celebrated by three generations of Larsons

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Kyle Larson‘s third Cup win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway was a family affair on Father’s Day.

Larson celebrate the victory with his father, Mike Larson, and his 2-year-old son, Owen, who was caught up in Larson’s Cars 3 paint scheme.

“My parents don’t get to come to a ton of races, they still live out in California,” Larson told NASCAR America. “It’s cool to be in victory lane with them. As well as Owen, with our car looking like Lightning McQueen’s, he was really excited about it.  I took him to the shop a few weeks ago and he was in awe of it. He was like ‘Lightning? Lightning?’ Going crazy.'”

Mike Larson had a feeling during the race’s final restart, when his son restarted on the inside, that he would have a chance at the win.

“I said to my wife and our friend that was sitting to next to us, ‘you know what? Kyle started on the bottom last year on that last restart when he won,'” Mike Larson said. “I thought I bet he can do this again. And sure enough, he did it and here we are.”

The elder Larson also talked about his son’s journey from go-karts to being one of the rising stars of NASCAR.

“I’m pretty much told him early on that go-karts is far as I’m going to be able to get you and talents going to have to get you the rest of the way,” Mike Larson said, adding his son said from 8 and 9 years old that was going to be in NASCAR. “I’d be like, ‘that poor kid, he just doesn’t know what he’s up against.'”

Watch the video for the rest of the interviews with Kyle and Mike Larson.

Denny Hamlin earns third top five of year with late rally at Michigan

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For much of the closing laps in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Michigan, it looked like Kyle Busch was the best shot at giving Joe Gibbs Racing its first win of the year.

But through a combination of three restarts in the last 20 laps and teams on different pit strategy, Denny Hamlin wound up giving JGR its best result of the race, finishing fourth after a battle with Joey Logano.

Hamlin earned just his third top five of the season despite being second on the final restart, on the inside lane below eventual race winner Kyle Larson.

“I knew I was going to have a tough time on the bottom,” Hamlin said. “Everyone did have a tough time on the bottom, so I tried to do my best and that’s all I had.”

Hamlin told Fox Sports 1 anybody restarting in the lower groove was a “sitting duck.”

“The biggest thing is you try to minimize how many spots you lose versus how much you gain, but when you’re sitting there side-by-side for the lead, you’re going to try to do everything you can,” Hamlin said. “I tried to carry speed in there and obviously got sucked around there and you just try to minimize your losses at that point.”

Hamlin had his No. 11 Toyota in the top most of the day, finishing Stage 1 in fourth and Stage 2 in seventh. But Hamlin had to fight back to the top five after a bad pit stop sent him just outside the top 10.

He earned his first top five since the Coke 600 and his best result since finishing third at Richmond

JGR is still winless since Carl Edward won at Texas Motor Speedway in November.

“(JGR’s Toyotas are) fast, but it’s circumstances – cautions falling at the right time and all that stuff matters,” Hamlin said. “We just hadn’t had the breaks we needed, but overall we’re making improvements.”

Danica Patrick suffers another hard hit in a season of hits

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For the fourth time in the last eight races, Danica Patrick failed to finish because of an accident.

Her car slammed into the inside backstretch wall after a late restart Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, marking her second hard hit in the last five races. Her car was destroyed in a crash May 13 at Kansas Speedway (the same wreck that left Aric Almirola with a T5 compression fracture expected to sideline him until next month).

Patrick’s No. 10 Ford was one of five cars involved in the crash with 10 laps left at Michigan.

The field was going down the backstretch when Kevin Harvick was sandwiched between Ryan Blaney on his outside and Daniel Suarez on the inside.

Contact between the three sent Suarez down the track. Darrell Wallace Jr. hit the left rear of Suarez’s car, which made an impact with Patrick that sent her car sliding toward the inside backstretch wall.

“I went into (Turn 1) and got super loose,” Blaney said. “I hate that it took a couple cars out off  (Turn 2). I got really free for some reason. It caught me off guard, which made it look bad. We had a decent enough car to run up there once we got track position.”

Said Patrick: “I knew when there was a caution with about 15 laps to go that there would end up being another one. I had a good run and went for it and just got hit.”

Patrick finished last in 37th for her sixth DNF, five because of crashes. Blaney, who won last week at Pocono, finished 25th after running as high as second. Harvick placed 14th. Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 19th in his second Cup start as a substitute driver for the injured Amirola.

The crash was the latest hard hit for Patrick in a Cup career that has been full of them (recently documented here by NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan).

At one point this year, Patrick exited three races in four weeks — Bristol, Talladega and Kansas — because of wrecks.

Sunday’s accident marked the end to a tough week for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver, who made negative headlines with a viral Facebook Live video that captured her lecturing fans at Pocono after they booed her for not signing autographs.

Patrick later admitted that she “had a moment,” and that she should have just continued walking.

That was in the midst of reports that Patrick may not be with Stewart-Haas Racing after 2017.

Following her finish at Michigan, Patrick is 30th in the points standings. She is two spots and 12 points behind Almirola, who has missed the last four points races.

MORE: Nate Ryan looks at looming Silly Season movement.