BROOKLYN, Mich. – The box score from Monday’s rain-delayed FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway reads Joey Logano led 163 laps on his way to Victory Lane. But that does not tell the while story.
The race was about as entertaining an affair held at the two-mile track in some time. The 2019 rules package made a huge impact to create drafting and passing throughout the field despite the fact nobody could get around the leader. You’ll have that when you have a car as good as Logano’s team Penske Ford.
The return trip to Michigan this August will be interesting. What teams learned or what drivers disliked – and there were still many vocal opponents of the rules impact – will need to be monitored. The potential for a race as entertaining as Monday’s is high.
The only thing that would make it better is if the green flag flies at the regularly scheduled time.
- It was interesting to hear some of the comments from drivers about Logano’s final restart that gave him the lead in overtime and ultimately the win. While not surprisingly Martin Truex Jr. was one of them, third-place finisher Kurt Busch said he’d have done the same thing given the opportunity. The bottom line is NASCAR felt the restart was in bounds and Logano, considered one of the best in the business, took advantage of the boundary allowed.
- Last year’s big Cup story was all about the “Big 3” during the regular season when Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. dominated. Of course it was Joey Logano, who famously coined the “Big 3 and Me” phrase before the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway who ultimately went on to win the championship. But at least for now, the Xfinity Series has its own “Big 3” story on display with Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer separating themselves from the field. Saturday’s Michigan race was the latest example of that storyline with the trio battling Cup interloper Paul Menard all afternoon. It came down to fuel strategy and pit road gambles before Reddick was able to prevail for win number three of the season. However there’s no reason to believe during the busy summer stretch the talented triumvirate will be battling among themselves for wins.
- The last time Greg Biffle won a Gander Outdoors Truck Series his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Todd Gilliland was a toddler. The veteran driver returned to the series in impressive fashion Saturday when he won the SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle had practiced with the KBM team but had not turned a competitive lap in a NASCAR top tier series since stepping away from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. But he showed no signs of rust getting back behind the wheel to score what will be remembered as one of the season’s most popular winners.
- A great deal of discussion about future driver contracts populated the weekend conversation. Stewart-Haas Racing and Daniel Suarez are in negotiations to remain working together beyond this year’s deal. Kurt Busch is working with Chip Ganassi Racing and sponsor Monster Energy on just what his plans will be in 2020. Busch indicated in a media availability his desire to run other forms of motorsports as well as NASCAR including the 24 Hours of LeMans. There is still much uncertainty about the Cup futures of this year’s Xfinity Series “Big 3” of Reddick, Bell and Custer. Many expect the trip to make the step up in 2020 but in what landing spots?
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.