NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Report - Michigan

June 13, 2016

Track:    Michigan International Raceway
Race:     FireKeepers Casino 400
Date:     June 12, 2016


No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start:  15th
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led:  10
Points Position (behind leader):  3rd (-46)

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team had high hopes for the FireKeepers 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday afternoon, and Keselowski was able to substantiate those hopes with a fourth-place finish. Keselowski, a native of Rochester Hills, MI, began the race from the 15th position after not making the final round of qualifying on Friday. The initial start – like rest of the restarts during the event – was quite eventful as the field moved around getting into turn one before settling in. After 10 laps, the Miller Lite Ford came to life and Keselowski was able to work his way toward the front. Crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to long pit his driver on the first stop in hopes of getting into a fuel window. On his final lap before coming to pit road, Keselowski radioed that he was out of fuel. Luckily, a caution flag flew just before coming down pit road and he was able to make his pit stop under the yellow flag before returning to the track in the 10th position, an improvement of two positions along with opening his fuel window. Keselowski maintained his position inside the top 10 for most of the remaining laps of the event, falling out briefly on several of the intense restarts before using his long-run speed to make up the lost positions. At lap 154, Keselowski restarted from the third position but quickly moved into second, just behind his teammate and race winner, Brad Keselowski. This marked his highest running position of the race and though he drove with determination to win his first race at his home track, Keselowski could only muster a fourth-place finish. The result marked his sixth-consecutive top-10 finish and his sixth top-five result of the season.

Quote: "I am not sure the new package was everything we wanted it to be, but it is a step in the right direction as far as putting the drivers in control of the racing but not in reducing the aero stuff we wanted. I think you saw that you have to really drive these cars. They are hard to drive and that causes accidents. I don't think that is a bad thing. It just means everybody is on the edge. You could really see that today. Our Miller Lite Ford had good speed, especially on the long run, but we just weren’t able to finish off passes when we need to. That can be frustrating but we will keep working at it."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 1st (16th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole)
Finish: 1st (15th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 138
Points Position (behind leader):  5th (-71)

Recap:  Joey Logano started from the pole and raced his way into the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship by winning at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday afternoon in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion for Team Penske. Logano's win from the pole marked the second time in his career he has accomplished that feat driving for Team Penske at the two-mile Michigan oval. After leading the field to green, Logano nearly saw the day disappear in the first turn as the car got extremely loose.  Fortunately the 26-year-old New England native was able to gather up the car and work back to the lead before making a green flag pit stop at lap 40. Having stretched his lead over the majority of the field, Logano was able to remain on the lead lap when the first caution flag flew at lap 44. As the field cycled through pit stops, Logano regained the lead and didn't race outside the top-five for the remainder of the race. Crew chief Todd Gordon and the Shell-Pennzoil crew made only air pressure adjustments during two of their three flawless pit stops. Logano fine-tuned the handling of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford for the remainder of the event by utilizing the track bar adjustment inside the race car. Through several late-race restarts, Logano held off charges from teammate Brad Keselowski, as well as Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson, with the final restart coming at lap 193. Logano turned in another stellar restart as he sprinted away to win the seven lap dash. The win was the 15th of Logano's career and 13th with Team Penske. The win was also significant as it was the 100th Sprint Cup points victory for Roush Yates Engines, and the 50th victory for Team Penske with Ford. Logano is fourth on the all-time wins list for Roush Yates Engines, and his victory secured Logano a chase birth and propelled him to fifth place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers' point standings.

Quote: "What a great race car. To win here in Roger's backyard and Ford's backyard, this is always a big win for us here. What a crazy race with the low downforce and with more cautions and more opportunity to screw up pretty much. What a fun race, racing with Chase (Elliott) and Kyle Larson. It is fun to see the young guys up there racing. I am not alone up there as a young guy anymore. I have guys up there younger than me racing for a win. The car was not good in traffic and not really good by myself either. The cars didn't have much grip and there was a lot of sliding around. Catching the traffic at the right time and knowing which lanes work best for you and understanding the cars that you are racing. We had plenty of opportunity to see what others cars were good on restarts and you kind of keep that mental notebook as you go."