Clint Bowyer Earns Second Win Of 2018 As Rain Soaks Michigan International Speedway


By: Camille Jones/TheFourthTurn.com

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Clint Bowyer captured his second victory of the season in Sunday’s rain-shortened Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The race was initially delayed due to rain before ending on lap 133 of 200 once the track became soaked from another rain shower. Bowyer’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Haas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford team made the call to take two tires under caution at the end of Stage 2, just before a caution flew again on lap 130 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went for a spin after contact from Kasey Kahne. Bowyer was racing his teammate, Kevin Harvick hard for the lead before the caution came out and rain quickly took over the area. The field made several laps under caution before the red flag came out and the race was called.

“It took something crazy on a restart to be able to get Kevin (Harvick),” said Bowyer. “That was a gutsy call. When we went out there on two tires I looked in the mirror and I was so far ahead of everybody else i was like, ‘Oh man, we are in trouble!’ The rain came just in enough time. I was trying to hold him off. I was cutting him off and taking his line away pretty bad. If it wasn’t for a win you wouldn’t be doing that. He was so much faster than me in one and two. I got down in three and just had to take his line because that bear was coming.”

Stewart-Haas Racing has now won seven of the first 15 races of the season with Bowyer claiming two wins and Harvick holding five wins so far.

Kevin Harvick, was forced to settle for a second-place finish, even after leading a race high of 49 laps on Sunday. Harvick has now finished inside the top-five in six of the last seven races this season. The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford has captured 11 top-five finishes in the 15 races so far in 2018.

“It was a weird day,” Harvick said. “If you are going to have rain kind of take one from you I would rather give it to my teammate. I am happy for Clint and all the guys on the 14 team. Everyone on our car did a great job. I had a really fast car and the pit crew was the best thing that happened all day. They were solid all day and kept us up front. That to me is the best thing that came out of today.”

Kurt Busch, claimed the third finishing position on Sunday in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford after starting on the pole. Busch led 46 laps. The third-place finish is only Busch’s third top-five of the season.

We had an excellent day all the way through,” said Busch. “No big mistakes, no rough moments. Pit stops were solid, adjustments were solid. Restarts, I’d say three quarters of the time I was on the inside lane, so that might have been a little bit where we were pinned down. But you have to make do with what you have, how the chips fall. I’m happy with our effort today. To finish third, rain shortened, of course you always want to go back racing again, but to see the two cars in front of me at the end, the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and the 14 (Clint Bowyer), that’s a big day for Stewart‑Haas Racing. It’s very special to finish 1‑2‑3. Tried to get to (Harvick’s) outside when we were on the track, maybe get a picture with the 14, 4 and 41 to symbolize such a special day at Michigan. To win at Stewart‑Haas for Ford 1‑2‑3, it’s a huge day.”

Kyle Busch finished in the fourth position, while Paul Menard earned the finish in the fifth position. Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney finished in the sixth, seventh and eighth positions respectively. Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-10.

There were eight cautions for a total of 30 laps under yellow-flag conditions on Sunday. Three cautions were for multicar accidents.

The first multicar accident came out on lap 37, when Darrell Wallace Jr. slid up into David Ragan in Turn 2. Wallace was able to finish 19th, but Ragan wasn’t able to continue after hard contact with the outside wall. Following the crash, Ragan wasn’t too pleased with Wallace.

“Yeah, I wish he wasn’t able to drive away because he just kind of ran in over his head and wrecked us,” Ragan said. “You will have that sometimes. Guys make mistakes and he made a mistake. It is unfortunate. I feel like I car was going to be okay. We made some good adjustments to our Ford for today’s race and I was going to race hard to try to get to halfway. It is just one of those days and we will move on.”

The fifth caution of the afternoon came out on lap 67, when the field stacked up exiting Turn 4. Daniel Suarez slid up the track and into Paul Meanrd. Suarez ricocheted into the frontstretch grass, bringing out the yellow flag.

The final caution for a multicar accident came out when contact from Kahne sent Stenhouse into the outside wall to bring out the final yellow on lap 130.

Kyle Busch still leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings by 75 points over Kevin Harvick.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads into an off-weekend, but the series will return to competition at Sonoma Raceway on June 24 for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

 

TheFourthTurn.com is a daily motorsports news outlet based in Florence, South Carolina, concentrating on NASCAR, Verizon IndyCar Series, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws Late Models and much more. On the site, you’ll find unique opinions, original news content, press releases, breathtaking photos and videos. Be sure to like TheFourthTurn on Facebook and follow @TheFourthTurn on Twitter.

Comments are closed.