Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Michigan

June 11, 2019

Track:      Michigan International Speedway
Race:       FireKeepers Casino 400
Date:       June 10, 2019

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Start: 8th
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 32nd
Finish: 6th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 203/203
Laps Led: 6
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-73)


  • Brad Keselowski rallied from a lap down to score a sixth-place finish in the FireKeepers Casino 400 Monday evening at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski used his eighth top-10 finish of the season to climb up to third-place in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 73 behind leader Joey Logano. 
  • A persistent light rain pushed the start of the race from Sunday to late Monday afternoon. Keselowski, who started eighth, battled a loose-handling Miller Lite Ford Mustang during Stage 1 before scoring a 10th-place finish when the segment concluded on lap 60. He pitted for four tires during the stage caution on lap 63 and lined up seventh when the race went green on lap 67. 
  • The balance of Keselowski's No. 2 Ford Mustang was greatly improved during Stage 2. He was running fourth when he made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 113, seven laps from the finish of the segment. But the team was penalized for a safety violation on the stop and Keselowski was forced to serve a pass-thru penalty under green on lap 118, dropping him a lap down and shuffling him back to 32nd-place when the stage ended on lap 120. He made a four-tire stop during the stage caution on lap 124 and lined up 32nd when the race went green on lap 127.
  • Keselowski caught a break on lap 131 when the fifth caution gave him the free pass back to the lead lap. He pitted for four tires and fuel during the caution and restarted 29th on lap 134. From there, the driver of the Miller Lite Ford steadily worked his way through traffic and back in contention for a good finish.  He had climbed up to 12th-place by lap 170 with the balance on his Mustang leaning to being just a bit free on entry into Turn 2. The final cycle of pit stops began on lap 173 and crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for his driver to stay on the track. Keselowski cycled into the lead on lap 176 and he held the top spot for six laps before making a green flag stop on lap 182 for fuel only. When the sequence was over on lap 186, Keselowski was running seventh.
  • The seventh and final caution slowed the pace on lap 196 and pushed the finish of the event into NASCAR Overtime, a two-lap sprint to the finish. He restarted eighth on lap 201 scrambled his way up to sixth, edging Kevin Harvick by a fender for the spot at the checkered flag.

"We just didn't put it all together today. We were in a really good spot and then had the pit road penalty and lost the lap. It took us until about 70 to go to get it back. It's kind of a miracle that we got back up to sixth to be quite honest. 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."

No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 13th
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 30th
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 203/203
Laps Led: 1
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-180)


  • A quiet day for Ryan Blaney resulted in a ninth-place finish Monday evening at Michigan International Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Mustang battled to his fifth top-10 finish of the season. Blaney and the No. 12 Menards team remain ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 180 points behind leader Joey Logano.
  • Blaney started 13th in the race which was postponed by rain to Monday. He struggled early and fell outside the top-15. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins the balance of the No. 12 Mustang was loose, especially in Turn 3. Blaney pitted during the competition caution on lap 20 for right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment. When racing resumed on lap 25, Blaney reported the balance was better but still free. Although Blaney fell to 20th position, he was able to battle back and finish 11th when Stage 1 concluded on lap 60. During the stage caution, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for four tires and multiple adjustments to the Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford including wedge, air pressure and a piece of tape on the nose. Blaney restarted 10th when the race resumed on lap 67.
  • The pace was slowed by the third caution on lap 71 and Bullins made the call for the No. 12 Ford to stay on the track. Blaney lined up fourth when the race went green on lap 75. The High Point, N.C. native muscled his way to the second position behind teammate Joey Logano before settling into third position. Blaney made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 115 for left-side tires just five laps before the conclusion of Stage 2. He finished 30th when the stage concluded on lap 120, the last car in the lead lap. During the stage caution, Blaney pitted for right-side tires, fuel and adjustments and he restarted in the 11th position on lap 127. 
  • A chaotic restart led to another caution on lap 129 and shuffled Blaney back to 12th. The driver of the No. 12 Ford would make his way up to the seventh position before the pace was slowed once more on lap 134. Blaney communicated to his team that his Mustang was still loose, but a little better, maintaining position inside the top-12.
  • Blaney was running 11th on lap 174 when Bullins called the driver of the Menards/Wrangler Riggs Mustang to pit road for the final stop of the race. The team changed right-side tires, fuel and minor adjusts for the closing laps of the event. When the pit cycle was complete, Blaney was holding firm to tenth position. The seventh and final caution on lap 197 set up a two-lap NASCAR Overtime dash to the finish. The sprint to the checkered flag and intense restart worked to Blaney's advantage.  He picked up two positions over the final two laps and was credited with a ninth-place finish at the checkered flag.

"The restarts were crazy and the dirty air was tough. If you found yourself back in traffic you had to make the best of it. We were able to make our way into the top three, but the handling faded at the end. I thought we had a pretty good day for our Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford. We certainly have something positive to build on after this run heading into Sonoma."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start:  1st
Stage 1: 1st
Stage 2: 24th                               
Finish: 1st
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 203/203
Laps Led: 163
Point Standings (Ahead of Second): 1st (+9)

  • Joey Logano finished the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway exactly where he started: first. Logano took the lead from William Byron with 18 laps to go and survived a NASCAR Overtime finish to win on Monday evening, crossing the finish line .147 seconds ahead of Kurt Busch to win his second race of the 2019 season. Logano moved into the lead in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, nine points ahead of second-place Kyle Busch. The victory was Logano's third at Michigan – all from the pole position - and the 23rd of his Cup series career.
  • Logano kicked off his weekend in fine style, winning the pole for the 200-lap, 400-mile race. He edged fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola by just 0.019 seconds to capture the 599th pole in Team Penske history. The driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang captured his fourth pole at Michigan and his 22nd pole in 378 career MENCS starts.
  • The driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang took the lead for the first time on lap 4 and reported that he was just a little free on entry to Turn 1. During the competition caution on lap 22, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to take two tires which kept the No. 22 Ford in the lead. He led the remainder of Stage 1, collecting his sixth stage win of the season when the segment ended on lap 60. During the stage caution, Logano reported he was a little free in clean air, but unsure what the handling would do in traffic. The team made a minor air pressure change, keeping their driver in the lead when the race restarted on lap 67.
  • Logano dominated the majority of the second stage. On lap 92 he reported that the handling was still a little loose, but overall improved from the previous two runs. Unfortunately, Logano was forced to pit on lap 114, just six laps from the conclusion of Stage 2 for left-side tires and fuel to make it to the end.  He was credited with a 24th-place when the segment concluded on lap 120. Logano regained the track position when other leaders pitted during the stage caution. 
  • When the third and final stage went green on lap 127, Logano found himself shuffled three-wide in the middle entering Turn 1. He was running sixth when the fifth caution slowed the pace on lap 131. On the ensuing restart three laps later, Logano powered from sixth back to the lead in just two laps, grabbing the top spot from Kevin Harvick the bottom of Turn 1. On lap 137, the sixth caution was displayed for an accident involving Austin Dillon and William Byron in Turn 2.
  • Once the race went back green, Logano and Harvick exchanged the lead briefly before the driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford took control on lap 150. He led the next 25 laps before making a scheduled pit stop under green at lap 175 for two tires and fuel, kicking off a cycle of stops for the leaders. 
  • When the stops were complete on lap 186, Logano was back in the lead. He was firmly in command of the race when the seventh and final caution on lap 197 sent the race into NASCAR overtime. Once again, Logano had a superb restart, holding off Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. to claim the victory. 

"It is so hard to have perfect days like that. I made one mistake on the restart and let the 4 (Kevin Harvick) get to my outside. That really made me mad at myself. I was able to make that up, which is great. It feels so good to get into victory lane. I got to thank the fans, everyone that stuck it out through the rain yesterday and came out today to watch a great race and a wild ending. You don't want to see cautions there at the end when you are the leader but as a fan that is like the one thing you do want to see. I am glad we got the best of both worlds."