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Joey Logano Brings Ford to Michigan Victory

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For Ford, there’s no other racetrack than Michigan International Speedway more special to bring home a victory on the NASCAR circuit. With their headquarters in Dearborn, Ford found victory with Team Penske driver Joey Logano, who led a race-high 139 laps toward his first win of 2016, second at Michigan and 15th of his Sprint Cup Series career.

“This is Ford’s backyard, Roger’s [Penske] backyard,” Logano said. “It’s really special. I wish Roger was here.”

Racing the updated aero package – which saw changes including a shorter rear spoiler and front splitter –  Logano simply perfected it, taking off into the distance on nearly every restart and winning by just under a second.

“Everybody at Team Penske did a great job understanding what this package was going to do. It was a lot of fun racing with Chase [Elliott] there at the end. I still felt like I had to take the top lane. I wasn’t excited about seeing all those cautions but what a great finish.”

Finishing second was rookie Chase Elliott, who continues a streak of six straight top-10 finishes with a career-high second-place effort.

“Did something dumb, you can’t do dumb stuff to win these races,” Elliott said.

The final restart with seven laps to go saw Elliott spin the tires from the inside lane, giving Logano a clean track as they raced into Turn 1. Unable to catch Logano, Elliott led 35 laps toward another near-win day.

“The guys gave me a fantastic car today. That on was on me. Like I said, you can’t do dumb stuff to win these things and I did today.”

Coming home third was another youngster in Kyle Larson, who captured a third top-3 result of 2016.

“I’m not sure there was anything I could’ve done there,” Larson said. “I was a good guy to have behind you if you wanted to get pushed.”

Photo taken during the NSCS AAA 400 Race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 15, 2016. ©Jacob Mullins/2016

Elliott came up short of victory once again, Sunday at Michigan. ©Jacob Mullins/2016

Speaking of pushing and sliding, that’s what dominated the afternoon, as drivers slid their cars through the wide corners of Michigan. The first caution flew on lap 45 when outside polesitter Martin Truex, Jr. spun underneath Clint Bowyer in Turn 4. That yellow was the saving grace for Brad Keselowski, as the No. 2 Ford sputtered out of fuel a lap earlier as he tried to stretch the tank.

Bouncing back to finish fourth, Keselowski says the aero setup, though could have been better in the closing laps, was another step in the right direction.

“The cars are a handful and that’s what we all asked for,” Keselowski said. “Wish we could’ve been able to race a little bit closer than we were at the end. It didn’t seem like it was much of a difference than what we hoped for. Still, in general, a step in the right direction.”

A step in the wrong direction for Kyle Busch came in the form of a blown motor on lap 53. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver burst into flames on the backstretch, leading to a 40th-place result.

Continuing a run of cautions at the mid-point of the event, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got tapped from Chris Buescher, leading the No. 88 into AJ Allmendinger and into the outside wall.

“The No. 34 just drove into the right-rear corner panel,” Earnhardt said. “You’re on those restarts and you have a responsibility to take care of everybody out there when you’re three wide. IM disappointed in that.”

Contact between Jimmie Johnson and Trevor Bayne led to some words both on and off the track from Johnson, who wasn’t too pleased with Bayne’s mistake into Turn 1. A blown tire from Denny Hamlin soon set up the final run to the checkered.

Completing the top 10 is Kevin Harvick, who battled from 29th on the grid to finish fifth, Carl Edwards in sixth followed by Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and last week’s winner Kurt Busch.

Tony Stewart had his best run of 2016, as he started third, battled consistently in the top 5 and came home seventh. The result stands as his best finish since April of 2015 at Bristol.

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About Zach Catanzareti

Zach Catanzareti serves as a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department for Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@zachracing) for the latest NASCAR updates. A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, he also follows IndyCar and Formula 1.

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