NASCAR America: Scan All from Michigan International Speedway

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It was another Cup race and another win for Kevin Harvick Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver scored his series leading seventh win of the season after sweeping each stage.

Relive the race with the latest edition of Scan All from NASCAR America.

Here are some highlights.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Drivers on the playoff bubble gamble for every point

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Three races remain in the regular season. At least five drivers will make the Cup playoffs based on points, and that underscores the importance of every position on the track, according to NASCAR America Analysts Parker Kligerman and Kyle Petty.

Austin Dillon is currently outside of the top 16, which moved the bubble to the 15th-place position in the standings – a spot currently occupied by Alex Bowman. The drivers immediately above that cutline and directly below are in a position where they need to maximize their finishes and gamble for points.

“We saw (Bowman) run as high as third place, and then I saw him tweet after the race that they went from a third-place car to a 20th-place car out of nowhere,” Kligerman said on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America. “But that is what this race team needed to do. Even if they were having a day that was going pear-shaped, to still salvage a 19th-place finish.”

Sitting 62 points behind Bowman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. did not have a strong enough day to capitalize. He ran in the mid-teens most of the afternoon at Michigan and finished 18th – one spot ahead of Bowman. He did not gain any ground in the points, however, because Bowman earned one stage point at the end of Segment 1. Both drivers accumulated 19 championship points.

“All (Bowman) has to do is race around that 16th-place position and make sure that Jimmie Johnson and Stenhouse and some of those guys don’t get too far ahead,” Kyle Petty said.

The 16th-place position in a Cup race awards 21 points.

“What I do like about (Stenhouse’s team) is they maximized what they had,” Petty added. “We’ve seen this team go in a have a top 12 or 13 car and end up with a 20th-place finish.”

Jimmie Johnson finished 28th at Michigan with a late-race tire problem. He did not score any segment points and earned only nine points during the race.

“This team took a gamble,” Kligerman said. “Got track position, led some laps and really showed they’re feeling comfortable about their points’ position and therefore, they’re willing to take a gamble like this to see what their car will do up front – to maybe see if they have more speed in that No. 48.”

For more, watch the video above.

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Radio confirms Timmy Hill’s car lost its battery around when Ty Dillon hit debris

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NASCAR still is trying to solve the mystery of what Ty Dillon ran over at Michigan on Lap 134 of Sunday’s race, but the No. 66 team of Timmy Hill may have provided a big clue.

Here’s the exchange over the No. 66 team’s radio a few laps after Dillon’s incident and right before Hill retired from the race on Lap 138 for an electrical issue.

Timmy Hill: “I’ve lost power here.”

No. 66 team: “Power?”

Hill: “10-4. Dash is dead, dash is dead. I need you to clear. The switch, it must be the switch.”

Hill then took his car to pit road.

No. 66 crew: “The battery. Is the battery there?”

Hill: “It’s the dash … the dash, man.”

No. 66 crew: “It’s the battery. The battery is gone.”

Hill: “The battery’s gone?”

Here are some reactions from other team radios after Dillon ran over the debris.

  • Clint Bowyer: “Holy… there was something on the back straightaway I thought. Somebody must have hit it. It must have been a lot bigger than I thought.”
  • Adam Stevens, crew chief for Kyle Busch: “He hit a damn … it looked like a battery come out of somebody’s car and (it) ran right through the radiator.”
  • “Battery’s gone out of the 66. It may be out there somewhere.”

Carl Long nominally was listed as the owner of the No. 66, but a spokesman for Long said the car was prepared by Rick Ware Racing. The team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The exchange between Hill’s team and the reaction of other teams will be included in Tuesday’s edition of Scan All on NASCAR America.

Brad Keselowski matches best finish of year, ‘not where we need to be’ vs ‘Big 3’

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Brad Keselowski was close to earning his first Cup win of the season on Sunday.

Well, sort of.

“It’s hard to really show any aggression when the guy that won the race was three-and-a-half seconds ahead of you,” Keselowski said after placing second in the Consumers Energy 400 to Kevin Harvick.

Keselowski earned his sixth top five of the season, matching his season-best result from February’s race at Atlanta, where he was also runner-up to Harvick as he won his first of a series-best seven races.

The Team Penske driver only assumed second place when Austin Dillon pulled out of Keselowski’s way with two laps to go due to a vibration. Dillon finished fourth.

Keselowski, a Michigan native, started the day in 18th but managed to put his No. 2 Ford in the top 10 at the end of the first two stages, placing ninth each time.

That Stage 2 finish and his eventual second-place result came after he had to pit for a loose wheel on Lap 76 under caution and restart 21st.

Keselowski’s impressive come back followed a stretch where he finished 17th or worse in four of the previous five races, including two DNFs for wrecks at Daytona and Pocono.

“The last few weeks we’ve had some pretty big struggles, finishing out races with breakdowns and letdowns and all of the above,” Keselowski said. “It’s nice to just be able to have a clean race, or mostly clean … To be able to kind of get the finish we deserve, that’s important.  It’s important to get what you have out of your car, and although we might not have race‑winning speed, you still need to execute.

“So with that in mind, that’s good for everybody’s morale at Team Penske and on the 2 team, as well, but of course we want to break through and win, as well, and kind of like you indicated, we’re not where we need to be to just win on pure speed against those guys week in and week out.”

Harvick’s win was the 17th for the “Big 3” this season, which also includes Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. It was also the 10th win for Ford this season, but Team Penske owns only one of those. That came via Joey Logano in April at Talladega.

Keselowski’s own last win came last October at Talladega. He is seventh in the standings, inbetween Logano and fellow teammate Ryan Blaney

Keselowski was asked if he can only finish three seconds behind Harvick all the way to Miami, how will he know if has a shot to compete with Harvick come the season finale.

“I don’t know if there’s a great answer to that,” Keselowski said. “I could throw you something out there, but it would just be a lob, right? With the way the points format obviously is … you have to get to Homestead.  You have to make it through those playoff rounds.  To that end, I don’t think you can guarantee on being able to point your way through.  You can really only point your way through to the third round.  You really can’t count on pointing your way through to the fourth round, unless you have all the bonus points, which we don’t.”

Keselowski has only four playoff points from his four stage wins.

“With that in mind, we’re going to have to deliver and make results and win races, and I think that’s what the sport is about at the end of the day,” Keselowski said.

As for having the speed to compete each weekend with the “Big 3,” Keselowski said “I don’t know if I’ve really put a lot of thought into that.”

He treats “each weekend as a reset point,” going into as “though this could be the weekend where we have the speed to win that way or could execute that way.

“Then when you start to get through the weekend, you have to get the most out of what you have.  We’ve had some races where I feel like we’ve been equal to or better than those guys where we haven’t put it all together, mostly the plate tracks I would say.  So that’s kind of on us to get a result.

“But on these types of tracks, the mile‑and‑a‑half, intermediate, whatever you want to call them, 2‑mile tracks, we haven’t had that yet, but we’ve been closer some places than others.”

The series heads to Bristol next, where Keselowski has two wins but has failed to finished better than 18th in the last five races.

Then comes Darlington, where Keselowski has two top fives in nine starts. He placed 15th last year and ninth in 2016.

The regular season final arrives the next week, with it being held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.

Keselowski led 23 laps there last year before placing second, his only top five in Indy in eighth starts.

 

NASCAR takes six Cup cars to wind tunnel after Michigan

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NASCAR has taken six Cup cars – two from each manufacturer – for wind tunnel and engine testing following Sunday’s race at Michigan won by Kevin Harvick.

The cars taken include the Fords of Harvick and Brad Keselowski (finished second); the Chevrolets of Austin Dillon (fourth) and Chase Elliott (ninth); and the Toyotas of Kyle Busch (third) and Denny Hamlin (eighth).

The location of the wind tunnel was not available from NASCAR.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, discussed the wind tunnel tests Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”

“We try and find a track where obviously aero is going to play a bigger role,” O’Donnell said. “I think (the test) it’s actually Tuesday. We’ll have those results kind of going into Wednesday and our process is to share that with (manufacturers) and the race teams. It’s a good barometer for us for two things. To make sure we’re still within that box that we set for the current year and probably most importantly is we look to lock in 2019 (that) the baseline we’re using matches up with all the data that we believe we have in the system. It’s a good check on both for not only ’18 but future race packages as well.”

Six cars were taken for similar testing following the April race at Texas Motor Speedway. 

The cars of Harvick, Joey Logano, Elliott, Jamie McMurray, Busch and Erik Jones were taken.