CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Michigan I Race Report

June 10th, 2018

Event:               FireKeepers Casino400 (Round 15 of 36)
Series:               Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format:            160 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:      12th/1st(Running, completed 133 of 133 laps in rain-shortened race)
Point Standing:5th (510 points, 154 out of first)

Race Winner:    Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 60):

  • Bowyer started 12th and finished third.
  • Bowyer and his three Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates ran in the top-five on the opening lap.
  • Took four tires during a lap-25 caution and raced in sixth.
  • Climbed to third by lap 49 and kept that position, surviving a wild one-lap shootout to end the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 120):

  • Bowyer started sixth and finished second.
  • Restarted fourth and moved into second on lap 72.
  • Reported that his car was tight, but the handling improved through the run.
  • Pitted from second on lap 87 and restarted third.

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 133):

  • Bowyer started second and finished first.
  • Took two tires for track position and restarted outside of teammate Kevin Harvick.
  • Raced side-by-side with Harvick to begin Stage 3, then took the lead coming out of turn four.
  • Led the final eight laps before rain forced officials to red flag the race.

Notes:

  • Bowyer’s victory in the FireKeepers Casino 400 marked the 51stoverall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 46thpoints-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its second at Michigan.
  • This was SHR’s 10thCup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
  • Bowyer was followed by SHR teammates Harvick and Busch to secure the first 1-2-3 finish in SHR history.
  • This was Bowyer’s second Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2017 following his previous win earlier this season, on March 26, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
  • This was Bowyer’s first victory in 25 career Cup Series starts at Michigan.
  • Bowyer led the final eight laps to bring his career laps-led total at Michigan to 36.
  • With the win, Bowyer earned five playoff points. He finished third in Stage 1 to earn eight bonus points and second in Stage 2 to earn an additional nine bonus points.
  • There were eight caution periods for a total of 30 laps.
  • Twenty-nine of the 39 drivers in the Firekeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“We won the last time we had Haas Automation with VF-1 on the hood of this Ford Fusion, and this car was so fast today. One, two, three finish for Stewart-Haas Racing. Unbelievable.It took something crazy on a restart to be able to get Kevin (Harvick). 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.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 beginning at 1:30 p.m.