Brooklyn, Michigan -- Joey Logano’s performance in Monday’s rain-delayed Firekeepers Casino 400 was nearly perfect.
The talented driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang of Team Penske qualified on the pole, won the first stage of the race, and led more than 75-percent of the event.
However, to complete his masterful effort and earn his 23rd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career victory and third at Michigan, Logano would had to endure a dramatic late-race overtime (2-laps) period and critical restart.
Logano was watching his lead dwindle as Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. locked themselves into a tight draft with less than five laps remaining when Erik Jones blew a tire and spun bringing out the final caution flag and sending the race into overtime.
Logano would have to execute another perfect restart and hold off the challengers for two extra laps to complete his nearly perfect winning effort.
“As the leader, you’re like, ‘Ohhhh!’ Right?” Logano commented from Victory Lane. “But the race fan part of me is like, ‘Heck yeah.’ This is going to be a great race for everyone to watch.”
On the final dramatic restart, Logano again was nearly perfect again as he gunned his bright yellow and red No. 22 Mustang GT ahead of second place Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch. As Truex and Busch battled side-by-side for second-place, the determined Logano pulled away. Logano earned his third checkered flag at MIS by .147 seconds over second-place Kurt Busch, with Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez rounding out the top five.
The elated 2018 NASCAR champion commented on his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of 2019 and 23rd of his NASCAR career.
“I was able to see it (the restart line) right in front of me,” Logano said. “I got a really good start. You don’t have days like that, that are so close to perfect. That doesn’t happen very often in our sport. I’m very proud of the effort we’ve had the last few weeks, from the execution side. But, this time we had the speed and execution going along with it. It feels so good to get into victory lane again. I gotta thank all the fans, and everyone that stuck it out through the rain yesterday and came out today to watch a great race and a wild ending.” Thanks to Logano’s victory, America’s Ford Motor Company retained the prestigious Michigan Hertitage Trophy that goes to the auto manufacturer of the winning car.
Ford drivers have earned that important trophy and the significant recognition that goes with it by winning the last three races at the high-speed MIS 2-mile track. Winner Logano reflected on his achievement for his manufacturer.
“I’m proud to drive the Ford Mustang into victory lane for the first time here right in Ford’s back yard. It’s Ford’s home track and bringing that Heritage Trophy back to them is really special.”
The NASCAR Cup Series drivers have week off before heading to the road circuit at Sonoma on June 23rd for the first road course race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
Race Report by: Harry C. Risher, Motorsports Writer; Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org