Getty Images

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kyle Busch, Joey Logano tie for No. 1

Leave a comment

This week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings not only feature two ties, but also two unique additions.

First, Kyle Busch and Michigan winner Joey Logano are tied for first place. There’s also a tie for sixth place between Chase Elliott and Xfinity Series points leader Tyler Reddick.

But perhaps the two biggest surprise names in this week’s rankings are one from NASCAR’s past and the other from NASCAR’s future:

* Greg Biffle, who made his first race start in 2 ½ years, went on to win last Friday’s Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, earning him enough points to take No. 8 in this week’s rankings.

* Conversely, K&N Series driver Hailie Deegan, also got one vote in this week’s rankings for her bump-and-run win last Saturday at Colorado National Speedway.

Dropping out of this week’s rankings are Kevin Harvick, as well as Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, William Byron and Denny Hamlin.

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings shape up:

(tie) 1. Kyle Busch (38 points): Still the driver the rest are measured against. Last week: 1st.

(tie) 1. Joey Logano (38 points): Five top fives (and a win) in his last eight races is building Logano’s case to be sole No.1. Last week: 4th.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (32 points): Hit or miss in his last seven races. Has three wins and a third-place finish but also has three finishes of 19th or worse. Last week: tied for 8th.

4. Brad Keselowski (23 points): Three finishes of sixth or better, including a victory, in the last four races. Last week: 3rd.

5. Kurt Busch (19 points): Michigan runner-up finish was huge. Four finishes of seventh or better in the last eight races. He’s knocking on victory’s door. It will come soon. Last week: Not ranked (was in others receiving votes).

(tie) 6. Chase Elliott (13 points): Saw his streak of five consecutive top-five finishes end at Michigan. Even though he drops in this week’s rankings, still belongs in the top 10. Last week: 2nd.

(tie) 6. Tyler Reddick (13 points): Having an absolutely amazing season. In first 13 races, he has three wins (including Saturday at Michigan), 11 top fives and one other top 10. He has just one finish lower than 10th. Last week: Not ranked (was in others receiving votes).

8. Greg Biffle (12 points): When you win in your first race since 2016, you get into the top 10. Don’t be surprised if The Biff gets a few job offers to make a comeback in either Trucks or Xfinity. Last week: Not ranked.

9. Daniel Suarez (11 points): Has back-to-back top 10 finishes and is having his best season overall. Still, just like the rest of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, he keeps coming up short of victory lane. He needs to steal a win away. Last week: Not ranked (was in others receiving votes).

10. Alex Bowman (8 points): We would think he’d have been ranked higher this week: five top 10s in the last six races (including three runner-up finishes). Last week: Not ranked (was in others receiving votes).

Others Receiving Votes: Ross Chastain (3 points), Kevin Harvick (2 points), Hailie Deegan (1 point).

What drivers said at Michigan

2 Comments

Joey Logano — winner: What a great execution day from our race car. Obviously very fast, our pit crew was amazing. T.J. Majors spotted his butt off up there.  The race fans sticking around till Monday.  You guys are the best. We love coming up to Michigan. Nothing like bringing a Ford to Victory Lane in their home turf, Roger Penske cars as well.  This is a big win for us. A day like that, you don’t get those days all the time. The best car, the best team. We executed perfectly all the way through.

Kurt Busch — finished second: That’s more than what I was hoping to see for damage. But I had a blast.  Tightest I ever put my belts at the end of a race.  We got enough stage points today, we said hell with it, we don’t need to get anything but the win.  We got second today. Logano’s car was tough.  I really wanted it to go green at the end with Truex.  I was going to push him straight through the 22.  My best shot at it. What a day for our Camaro.  From Chevy and Monster, thank you, guys.  We’ll get it.  It gives us reason to smile and be happy.  We ran up front, were strong in our manufacturer’s backyard, but got second today.

Martin Truex Jr. — finished third:I felt like before that we were going to finish second no matter what. My mindset there was at least we got a shot at it here.  Rack ’em up, have a green‑white‑checkered and see. I don’t know, my second gear was off a little bit all day on restarts.  I was getting Jonesed. Then (Logano) went like a whole car length before the restart zone.  I don’t know how you get away with that. I thought we were supposed to go in the box. Aside from that, great day for Auto Owners Toyota, everybody back at JGR, TRD.  We had a solid race car. Man, you have to be so patient in this racing, it’s really hard. Early in the race I kept getting runs, going underneath guys, getting them in the corner.  If you can’t clear them, you lose two, three, four spots every time. Everybody did a good job.  We had a fill‑in rear tire changer this weekend.  That’s a lot of pressure to come in.  He’s a young kid, did a good job there.  Great job by everyone. Came up a little bit short, but a solid day for us here.

Daniel Suarez — finished fourth: “The car was pretty strong the entire weekend and then again today. We just struggled for whatever reasons on the long runs in the first half of the race. We were able to make some adjustments and come back and I am proud of my guys. We still have some work to do but we are slowly heading into the right direction.”

Kyle Busch finished fifth: “We just did the best we could with what we had. Our Camry was not great, but we just kept working on it all day. We just kept falling back or doing rounds, doing air pressure, everything we could to get improving on it and make it better. I don’t think we ever really made it faster. It was still kind of slow at the end. We saw (Logano) just drive away from us on that restart there, but overall we came with way better than we should have. Let’s go with that. Way better than we should have. … We had some issues in traffic a lot. The further back we got, the worse we got. There on that green-flag stop, the guys did a phenomenal job to jump us there and got us into the top four to be able to position ourselves for the end. That’s what saved our day. We’ll just go on to the next one.”

Brad Keselowski — finished sixth: We just didn’t put it all together today. We were in a really good spot and had the pit road penalty and lost the lap and it took us til about 70 to go to get it back. It is kind of a miracle that we got back up to sixth to be quite honest. We have to execute the entire weekend and we just didn’t today. We were hoping if we could get a yellow, we were 24th with 60-70 laps to go and we got up to sixth. With a yellow we might have had a shot at winning it. I thought the team did a good job with the strategy all day. The cars when they get behind each other they make the car in front of them faster. If you go back 20-30 years ago that was not the case. You would draft but you wouldn’t make the car in front of you faster. Now it seems like when you get up behind somebody you make them faster, too.”

Kevin Harvick finished seventh: “We had a really fast Busch Lite Ford and just made a lot of mistakes today.”

Ryan Newman — finished eighth: “To have our best lap I guess other than maybe one lap to be our fast lap makes me proud of the guys. The Coca-Cola Ford wasn’t the greatest all day. We had some good restarts toward the end but just struggled with the dirty air. I think everybody did. It is obvious if you know anything about racing. It was a good points day for us. We need to get some stage points. Nevertheless I am proud of the guys.”

Alex Bowman — finished 10th:I feel like it raced better than we expected after practice. Obviously, it being cool and overcast was really the best-case scenario for the package. Hopefully, it worked out to be a good race. It looked like a good race from where I was at. It was really hard to pass without help, but we were still able to come through the field more than you were in practice, so that was good. I wish we would have ended up a little better, but we’ll take it and move on.”

Aric Almirola finished 17th: “We had a better Ford Mustang than 17th place today. We got way behind on the restarts and just couldn’t recover in traffic. I’m proud of our No. 10 Ford team for bringing a fast Ford Mustang to Michigan.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 19th: “Our car was a handful today. It seemed like we were battling back all race from the pit-road penalty to the nose damage that caused us to pit multiple times. With this package, it was really hard to pass. We will go back and regroup and get ready for Sonoma.”

Ty Dillon — finished 22nd: “Our Twisted Tea team fought hard all day. We didn’t start the race off with the balance that we wanted, but (crew chief) Matt (Borland) took a big swing at it in the first stage break to tighten up our Camaro ZL1. We had a significantly better race car after that. I maybe could have used a little bit more front grip, but I was really happy with it overall. From there we just needed track position. We were running in the top 20 to start the final stage. But, these restarts can get wild, and I was shuffled back on the restart with 60 laps or so to go. Our Twisted Tea Camaro ZL1 had good speed, so I was able to drive back up and regain some of those spots. We just really needed more cautions to get back to where we had been. Once the field gets strung out after these restarts, it’s hard to make passes. I’m happy with the team’s effort today, though. They worked hard, had clean stops and made great adjustments all day.”

Daniel Hemric finished 24th: “I was fairly happy with how this No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 took off to start the race. I feel like we had the ability to make some good moves. That made me feel more confident than I needed to be, and I hung myself out a couple of times and lost a little bit of track position. Early in the race, we tried to take fuel only and it just killed our balance. After that, we started chipping away at the positions ahead of us and were able to score some points at the end of Stage 2. We were setting ourselves up to have good track position to start Stage 3, but we had an issue with the air hose getting caught on the splitter and that caused us to lose all of our track position. I was able to drive back inside the top 10, which shows the speed we had. When that last caution came out, we got stuck in the dreaded bottom lane, where nobody wanted to be all day, and got shuffled back on the restart. We salvaged a 12th-place finish. We’ll learn from today and come back here later in the year ready for an even better result.”

Austin Dillon finished 26th: “The No. 3 Chevrolet team showed their tenacity this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. After a few struggles in practice, the team completely changed the setup and gave me one of the fastest Chevrolets I’ve ever had for the race. We showed speed in Stages 1 and 2 and even picked up the Stage 2 win. Shortly after the start of Stage 3, we were running strong in the top 10 when another car got a run and clipped the corner of the No. 3 Chevrolet. We ended up tagging the wall and had damage to the right-rear. We made multiple pit stops to repair damage and ended up finishing 26th. It’s definitely disappointing considering how good our car was today, but that’s part of racing. We will start preparing for the road courses and be ready for Sonoma Raceway in two weeks. I want to thank Dow for honoring veterans and active-duty military members this weekend. It’s always special when those guys can ride with us. I just hate we couldn’t get them a win today.”

Clint Bowyer — finished 35th: “Yeah, frustrating for all of us. It just wasn’t our day. (Erik Jones) got loose, and I tried to move down to not hit him, and then I got loose with (Austin Dillon) underneath of me and got into (Jones) and got wrecked. (On the racing) I mean, it is not racing. I am sorry. I am biting my tongue. I have never been penalized for trying to make a pass in my whole life since I was 4 years old. You get a run on somebody, and you can make a complete pass, and by the time you get to the next corner you have been passed by four people. It is really, really frustrating.”

Michigan Cup results, points report

Leave a comment

Joey Logano held off Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. on a restart in overtime to win Monday night at Michigan International Speedway.

The defending series champion scored his second win of the season and the third of his Cup career (and first since 2016) at the 2-mile oval.

Logano, who started on the pole position, led seven times for a race-high 163 of 203 laps.

The Team Penske driver was cruising to the victory when Erik Jones spun with four laps remaining in the scheduled distance, triggering the final restart.

It had been 11 starts since the last win for Logano, who has 23 career victories.

Click here for the race results from Michigan.

Click here for the race report from Michigan.

In the season standings, 16th-ranked Jimmie Johnson has a three-point lead over Ryan Newman for the final playoff spot.

Erik Jones fell three spots to 18th in the points and out of a provisional spot after finishing 31st.

Click here for the points standings after Michigan.

Two Cup cars to be docked practice time at Michigan

hoto by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Erik Jones and Chris Buescher each will be docked 15 minutes of practice at the end of the first Cup session Friday at Michigan International Speedway. They will serve the penalty for multiple inspection failures last weekend at Pocono Raceway.

First Cup practice will be from 2:05-2:55 p.m. ET.

Four Xfinity cars will be docked time at the end of the first practice session Friday at Michigan.

Brandon Jones‘ team will be docked 15 minutes for being out the garage late at Pocono. Chad Finchum will miss 15 minutes because his car failed inspection twice at Pocono.

The cars of Paul Menard and Riley Herbst each will miss 30 minutes for being late and failing inspection twice at Pocono.

The first Xfinity practice will be from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports Power Rankings after Pocono: Kyle Busch back to No. 1

Getty Images
1 Comment

Well, that was a short stay atop the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings for Martin Truex Jr.

Truex was No. 1 last week but plummets to a tie for eighth this week.

Pocono winner Kyle Busch is back atop this week’s rankings – by unanimous vote – followed by Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski, who was not ranked last week.

Dropping out of this week’s rankings are Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings shape up:

1. Kyle Busch (40 points): Back where he belongs after his fourth win of the season. Last week: tied for 2nd.

2. Chase Elliott (35 points): On the best run of his Cup career with five consecutive top-five finishes. The No. 9 team has established championship-level consistency. Last week: tied for 2nd.

3. Brad Keselowski (29 points): Has a win and a runner-up within the past three points races. Only car to finish in the top five of every stage at Pocono. Last week: Not ranked.

4. Joey Logano (27 points): Six top 10s in the past seven races. May not be long before this team wins again. More wins would certainly help but can’t fault the No. 22 team’s title defense. Last week: 4th.

(tie) 5. Clint Bowyer (15 points): Turns 40 as he matures into Stewart-Haas’ most consistently good finisher. Has seven top 10s in the last nine points races. He also returns to a track this weekend where he won last year. Last week: Not ranked.

(tie) 5. Erik Jones (15 points): Three top 10s in the past four points races, including a third at Pocono. Is working hard to keep his ride at JGR. A win or two could cement the deal. Last week: Not ranked.

7. William Byron (11 points): Consecutive pole positions are the most impressive feat of his young Cup career. Also has three top 10s in the last four points races. Last week: tied for 9th.

(tie) 8. Martin Truex Jr. (7 points): Not his fault the engine didn’t last at Pocono. Just like last year, it’s been top five or bust (sometimes literally). Last week: 1st.

(tie) 8. Chris Buescher (7 points): Best three-race stretch of his JTG Daugherty Racing career. Last week: 7th.

10. Denny Hamlin (5 points): Nothing bad happened to him at Pocono and the result was a sixth-place finish, his best finish in the last five points races. Last week: Not ranked.

Others receiving votes: Daniel Suarez (4 points), Tyler Reddick (4 points), Alex Bowman (3 points), Cole Custer (3 points), Kurt Busch (1 point).