When Joey Logano took the checkered flag Monday night at Michigan, he praised his team for doing a “perfect job” in the FireKeepers Casino 400.
“Way to execute a race!” the reigning series champion exclaimed.
The No. 22 Team Penske group didn’t just execute, they dominated. Logano started from the pole, won Stage 1 (his sixth of the season), and led a race-high 163 of 203 laps. And with the win, Logano took over the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points lead.
Jumping away on the overtime restart, Logano charged away to his second win of the season and third at Michigan, finishing ahead of Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Busch. The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Kurt Busch took over second place at the white flag, but was unable to run down and challenge Logano for the win.
“I can’t tell you everything I learned, but you race this whole race, and you keep building that notebook up,” said Logano of the final restart. “What a great execution day from our team. Our race car was obviously very, very fast. Our pit crew is amazing. And TJ Majors, my spotter, spotted his butt off up there.
“We love coming up here to Michigan. There’s nothing like bringing a Ford to victory lane on their home turf — and Roger Penske’s as well. There’s no better feeling than that. This is a big win for us.”
Logano was holding a comfortable gap on Truex and Kurt Busch who were working together in hopes of cutting down the distance when the caution flew with four laps to go. Erik Jones cut a tire and spun in Turn 2 to set up the overtime restart.
Runnerup for the second time this year, the finish was also the first top-five for Busch since Bristol back in April. It was his second top-10 finish in four races.
“That’s more than what I was hoping to see [with the] damage,” Busch said of his machine, which had hit the wall early in the day. “But I had a blast. That was the tightest I ever put my belts at the end of race because we got enough stage points today and I was like, ‘Hell with it, we don’t need to get anything but the win.’ And we got second today.
“Logano’s car was tough. I really wanted it to go green at the end with Truex; I was just going to push him straight through the 22. That was my best shot at it.”
Rounding out the top 10 were Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, and Alex Bowman. Harvick led 15 laps and recovered from a loose wheel that left him one lap down.
Austin Dillon won Stage 2. Defending race winner Clint Bowyer crashed out of the event on Lap 131.
There were 20 lead changes among 11 drivers and seven caution flags.