Joey Logano dominates to win FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

2 Comments

Joey Logano dominated to win Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Logano won for the second time in three years (August 2013) at the 2-mile oval, leading 138 of the 200 laps. It also was Logano’s first points win of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season and 15th of his Cup career.

MORE: Results of FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

MORE: Sprint Cup points after Michigan — Dale Jr. loses ground, Tony Stewart gains

Logano took the lead for the final time on Lap 153 and never yielded the remainder of the way. It was also the 100th career Sprint Cup win for Roush Yates Engines.

Rookie Chase Elliott finished second, followed by Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.

Two major incidents in the race stood out.

Misfortune struck Kyle Busch for the fourth consecutive race when his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry caught fire on the backstretch of Lap 54, after the engine expired, spewing oil that ignited. Busch managed to douse the fire with the onboard fire extinguisher, and his car limped to the garage.

“I had a 30-lap warning it was coming,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “It was shaking real bad and going south for a while and building it’s own heat.”

Busch came into Sunday’s race having finished 30th at Dover International Speedway, 33rd at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 31st at Pocono Raceway. He finished a season-worst 40th.

On Lap 62, coming off Turn 2 and three-wide, Chris Buescher made contact with the left-rear fender of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car, sending it up into the outside retaining wall and collecting A.J. Allmendinger’s car in the process.

“(Buescher) just drove into the left-rear quarter panel, man,” Earnhardt told Fox Sports 1. “I don’t know. On restarts and all that, you’ve got a responsibility to take care of everybody out there, even when you’re three-wide. I’m disappointed in that.”

Earnhardt finished 39th.

HOW LOGANO WON: Logano’s Ford was the class of the field. He led five times for 138 laps, including regaining the lead on Lap 153 and staying there for good.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Elliott had an excellent run and nearly captured his first career Cup win. The rookie carried the torch for Hendrick Motorsports, as Kasey Kahne (13th), Jimmie Johnson (17th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (39th) struggled. … Tony Stewart (seventh) posted a good finish that provides hope potentially being able to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Kyle Busch (engine, 40th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (crash, 39th), A.J. Allmendinger (crash, 38th), Jeffrey Earnhardt (car fire, 37th), Brian Scott (crash, 36th), Regan Smith (crash, 35th), Denny Hamlin (crash, 33rd) Casey Mears (crash, 32nd) all were involved in incidents.

NOTABLE: Team Penske’s next victory in Sprint Cup will be its 100th. … Logano is the 10th driver to win a Sprint Cup race in 2016. He’s also the seventh different winner in the past seven races. … It was Logano’s third career win from the pole, and the second time at MIS.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’ve been knocking on the door for a win all season. It’s nice to get that win and lock ourselves into the Chase. To see the execution that this team had throughout the day, having a perfect weekend like this, starting on the front row with the pole, being able to have good pit stops and stay up in the top 2 the whole race is a lot to say about this team.” – Race winner Joey Logano.

WHAT’S NEXT: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off next weekend. The next Sprint Cup race is the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 26 at Sonoma Raceway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Kurt Busch seeks first Las Vegas win, but without hometown fans

Kurt Busch
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A win by Kurt Busch in tonight’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN) couldn’t come under more bittersweet circumstances for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

Should Busch claim the victory on the 1.5-mile track, he’d go from being the last driver on the playoff grid (3,001 points entering the race) to the first driver to advance to the Round of 8.

While it would be his first victory of the year, it would also be his first NASCAR win at his home track in 23 starts across the Cup and Xfinity Series.

More: Stage points critical at Vegas

“The Vegas track has definitely been one of the tough ones for me over the years with results and finishes not where I would have expected them to be,” Busch said this week. “And the teams that I’ve raced for just have never quite found that right magic set-up or combination. And then for me, it’s a track that I just have that trouble with.

“There are a few tracks like Indianapolis and Martinsville; those are a few places where I struggle. And so with Vegas, I always put that little extra hometown pressure on myself and I would love to win there.”

The 42-year-old Las Vegas-native rolls off ninth on the 1.5-mile track. It’s his fourth while driving for Ganassi.

In his 21 Cup starts in Las Vegas, Busch’s best result is third in 2005 when he competed for Roush Fenway Racing. He has just one other top five. That came in last year’s spring race when he drove a throwback paint scheme to his 1999 NASCAR Southwest Series championship.

That day he led 23 laps. It was only the seventh time he’d led laps there and just the third time he’d totaled more than six laps led.

In February, Busch finished 25th.

If Busch were to finally make it to Vegas’ Victory Lane, the celebration would be somewhat muted.

It was announced last weekend that fans would not be allowed to attend the races at Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would love to win through the spirit of the camera and everything on NBC Sports; and I know the fans there, local, will be watching and cheering on the Busch brothers,” Busch said. “So, that’s where I would connect. And hopefully do it through the TV side of it. We’ll get fans back one day and we’ll come back and race.”

Busch enters the Round of 12 having earned just one top 10 in the first round, an eighth-place finish at Darlington. He finished 13th at Richmond and 15th at Bristol.

“What I like is we have had better lap times at all three races so far compared to maybe the five or six races leading into the playoffs,” Busch said. “We know that our cushion is gone. We ended Bristol with 33 points to the good. And now we start Vegas minus four (points behind Austin Dillon in the cutoff spot). So that’s just part of the system and now we have to be perfect. We have to get every point possible that we’re able to get on our own at Vegas, Talladega, and the Roval. And, that should help us advance.”

Carolina Blue: Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan bonded by NASCAR

Leave a comment

Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan were teammates from 1982-84 at the University of North Carolina and Eastern Conference rivals throughout the 1980s and ’90s in the NBA.

But their friendship was about more than just hoops. While growing up on opposite ends of the Tar Heel State, Daugherty and Jordan both developed a passion for following NASCAR.

Tobacco Road meant fast cars and hard-driving heroes for these two North Carolina natives.

LIFELONG FAN: Michael Jordan explains why he’s partnering with Denny Hamlin

In a NASCAR on NBC feature, Daugherty recalls how NASCAR impacted his life and Jordan’s and led both into team ownership. Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced they will form a team to field cars for Bubba Wallace next season.

Daughterty notes in the feature that Wallace “has led a dynamic transformation as NASCAR banned Confederate flags and recommitted to inclusion amidst times of great unrest. This is a huge moment for NASCAR, a cultural momentum shift. This is people of all colors coming together to create an all-American race team already with championship lineage.

“With proper funding, equipment and crewmembers, this will be the best chance ever for a Black driver to win – and while driving for a Black owner. An opportunity to shock the world like Muhammad Ali once did.”

Watch the feature above on Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan or by clicking this link.

Las Vegas Xfinity results, driver points

Leave a comment

Chase Briscoe‘s victory Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway sends him into the next round of the Xfinity playoffs.

Noah Gragson led a 2-3-4 finish for JR Motorsports. Gragson was second and followed by Daniel Hemric and Justin Allgaier. Ryan Sieg finished fifth.

Briscoe dominated the race, leading 164 of the 200 laps.

Click here for Xfinity race results

POINTS

Ross Chastain finished 16th, last among the playoff drivers, and fell out of a transfer spot to the second round. He’s two points behind Harrison Burton for the final transfer spot. Michael Annett is 10 points behind Burton. Riley Herbst is 14 points behind Burton. Brandon Brown is 20 points behind Burton.

Click here for driver points report

Chase Briscoe scores 8th Xfinity win of year with Las Vegas triumph

Leave a comment

Chase Briscoe met a preseason goal of winning eight races with his victory in Saturday night’s Xfinity playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Briscoe, who also won at Las Vegas in February, advances to the second round.

Briscoe dominated, winning both stages on the way to his second consecutive victory and eighth of the year. He led 164 of 200 laps.

“Awesome car,” Briscoe said on the radio of the car that also won at this 1.5-mile speedway earlier this year. “Can’t say enough, awesome car.”

Gragson said of Briscoe’s car on NBCSN: “Lot of race cars out here and one space shuttle.”

Las Vegas native Noah Gragson finished second and was followed by JR Motorsports teammates Daniel Hemric and Justin Allgaier. Ryan Sieg placed fifth.

Austin Cindric placed sixth and was followed by Michael Annett, Anthony Alfredo, Harrison Burton and Justin Haley.

Briscoe’s eight wins through 27 races ties him with Jack Ingram and Sam Ard for the most wins by non-Cup drivers through 27 races in a season. Ard and Ingram both did it in 1984. Briscoe’s eight wins ties him with Carl Edwards for most wins by a Ford driver in a season in the Xfinity Series. Edwards accomplished the feat in 2011.

“I knew this team was fully capable of achieving that and even more,” Briscoe told NBCSN of winning eight races this year. “I just can’t say thank you enough to Gene Haas and Tony Stewart and everyone that lets me drive these race cars. It has been an unbelievable season and we still have a lot, six more wins that we can try to get and a championship. That is what we are going to try to do. I am so happy to start the playoffs like this. After the last couple weeks we had, to go to Bristol and win and now here is a pretty good way to start our playoffs.”

The 25-year-old Briscoe does not know where he’ll run next season. He has a year left on his contract with Ford.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ryan Sieg’s fifth-place finish is his fifth top five of the season, the most he’s had in a season. … Runner-up Noah Gragson has finished in the top six in all four of his Xfinity Las Vegas starts. He did it by overcoming a bloody nose during the race. At one point, he put roll bar padding up his nose to clog it. … Daniel Hemric had finished 24th or worse in four of his last five starts before Saturday’s race. He finished third at Las Vegas.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ross Chastain finished 16th, last among the playoff drivers. It’s his first finish outside the top 10 at a 1.5-mile speedway this season.

NEXT: The series races Oct. 3 at Talladega Superspeedway (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) in the middle race of the opening round of the playoffs.