Nascar

Joey Logano dominates at Michigan before winning rescheduled race in overtime

How the FireKeepers Casino 400, the 15th race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, played out Monday at Michigan International Speedway (after being postponed one day because of rain):

WINNER: Joey Logano dominated Monday and then held off the field in overtime to win for the 23rd time in his Cup Series career and the third time at Michigan International Speedway.

The reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion led 163 of 203 laps after starting from the pole but faced one last strong restart to claim his second victory of the season.

"What a great execution day from our race car — obviously was very fast — our pit crew is amazing; T.J. Majors, my spotter, spotted his butt off up there," an excited Logano said after climbing out of his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

"We love coming up here to Michigan," he continued. "There's nothing like bringing a Ford to victory lane in their home turf and on Roger Penske's turf as well. There's not a better feeling than that. This is a big win for us."

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Joey Logano won his third Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Monday. (Photo: Mike Dinovo, USA TODAY Sports)

Logano edged a hard-charging Kurt Busch, who was seeking his first win of 2019 and his first since the 2018 Bristol Night Race last August.

"I had a blast," Busch said. "That was the tightest I've ever put my belts at the end of the race because we got enough stage points today. So I was like, the hell with it, we don't need to get anything but the win. And we got second today. Logano's car was tough. 

"We'll get it. This gives us reason to smile and be happy. We ran up front, we were strong, but we got second today."

Joey Logano holds off Kurt Busch! Retweet to congratulate the No. 22 team on their WIN in Michigan. pic.twitter.com/1dfs8mW2Up

Martin Truex Jr. finished third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Kyle Busch. Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10.

Monday's race marked the 100th at MIS for NASCAR's premier series. Logano gave Ford its third consecutive win in the manufacturer's backyard after Kyle Larson won the previous three times for Chevrolet.

LATE SLIDE: Erik Jones saw his left rear tire go down with five laps remaining and went for a spin in Turn 2, before sliding into the infield grass and bringing out the yellow flag. The caution sent the race to overtime for a green-white-checkered finish.

BOWYER BOUNCED: Clint Bowyer tried to make a move on the inside of Jones on lap 71 but made contact with Jones' No. 20 Toyota, sending Bowyer's No. 14 Ford spinning into the outside wall on Turn 2. The incident brought out the fifth caution of the day and resulted in heavy damage to Bowyer's Mustang, which could not continue in the race.

Clint Bowyer's day comes to an end in Michigan pic.twitter.com/e2eUpZIbpo

"I mean, it is not racing. I am sorry, I am biting my tongue," said a disappointed Bowyer after he was checked and released from the infield care center. "I have never been penalized for trying to make a pass in my whole life since I was four years old. You get a run on somebody and you can make a complete pass and by the time you get to the next corner you have been passed by four people.

"It is really, really frustrating.”

OPINION: Even winners wouldn't give aero package passing grade ahead of MIS race

STAGE 2: Despite dominating his second consecutive stage, Logano was forced to give up the lead to pit for fuel under green in the closing laps. The rest of the top six (Kyle Larson, Blaney, Keselowski, Jones, Bowyer and Chase Elliott) followed suit, and although all remained on the lead lap, none finished the stage higher than 23rd (Logano). Austin Dillon inherited the lead and earned his first stage victory of the season, holding off Harvick. Truex finished third, followed by Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Daniel Hemric, William Byron, Bowman and Chris Buescher.

BUMPER CAR: Kyle Weatherman brought out the first real race caution when his No. 51 Ford got into the outside wall and ripped off part of his rear bumper. Most drivers took the opportunity to add fuel to get to the end of the second stage, but nine cars stayed out, including race leader Logano.

That's not good pic.twitter.com/KopXsgyn0u

STAGE 1: Logano, who started on the pole, dominated the opening segment, leading the majority of the first 60 laps. The only caution flag dropped during the initial stage was for a competition caution around the 20-lap mark. Bowman was one of the biggest movers in this segment, jumping from a No. 20 starting spot to finish second behind Logano. Jones, Almirola, Kurt Busch, Truex, Larson, Elliott, Paul Menard and Keselowski rounded out the top 10.

WEATHER WOES: Persistent rain in the Brooklyn, Mich., area on Sunday forced NASCAR to move the race to Monday. The rescheduled race was given a 5 p.m. ET start time to accomodate Fox Sports 1's broadcasts of two Women's World Cup matches in France. 

Follow Horrow on Twitter @EllenJHorrow

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