What Cup drivers had to say after wild restarts headline Michigan race
Late-race drama and insane restarts was all the talk among Monster Energy Series drivers following Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
After Kyle Larson grabbed his second race win of the 2017 season, see what the top finishers had to say.
Despite leading the most laps and earning his second career victory at Michigan, Larson didn't feel like he had the car to beat.
“The No. 78 was by far the class of the field, I thought,” Larson said. “I know I led a lot of laps. Seemed like whenever he wanted to get the lead, he hit a nitro button and would cruise up to the lead, then check out. He was the class of the field.”
“I thought the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) was next best,” Larson added. “The No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) was better than I was on the long run. I thought we were probably a third‑ or fourth‑place car. For not having the dominant car, to do everything right to get a win today, was special.”
Mike DinovoMike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Elliott stuck around the front of the field throughout the day to score a season-best second-place finish in a car that wasn't to his liking at the start.
“I didn’t think we had a very good car coming into the day, but my guys made a lot of gains and I was able to run just outside the top five there toward the end,” Elliott said. “I had unbelievable pit stops, which was great. Hopefully we can carry some of that forward.”
After failing to finish higher than 21st since his encumbered win at Richmond, Logano is getting back on track after a third-place result.
"You have no idea how good this feels," Logano said. "Feels like a win, just to stop the bleeding. No secret, last month, month-and-a-half, has been a struggle for us with just a lot of things going wrong during the races."
Hamlin was the highest finishing Joe Gibbs Racing driver on Sunday at Michigan. The organization's current stable of drivers hasn't won a points race since Hamlin's victory at Richmond in September of 2016.
But he feels a win is on the horizon.
“Yeah, definitely," said Hamlin about the potenial to win. "I mean, you keep battling in the top-five and eventually you’ll have your chance. Cautions will fall just perfectly for you and pit stops – we know we can gain spots on pit road. We didn’t do that really today (Sunday), but good effort nonetheless.”
While Larson won the race for Chip Ganassi, McMurray brought home another top five, continuing a highly-consistent season.
"We had great pit stops," said McMurray. "And it’s a really good recovery from what happened to us last weekend. I know Chip (Ganassi) is in France right now and probably thrilled. I hope he’s still awake. But overall, it was a great day for our organization.”
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Martin Truex Jr.
Truex continued is dominance of stage racing, sweeping the first two at Michigan.
Truex now has 20 playoff points, but a sixth-place finish was somewhat of a disappointment.
“We had the best car out there without a doubt – just inside lane restarts at the end killed us, so just stinks when you have to race like that, you know?" said Truex. "You get just in a bad spot and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Restarts were an issue for Truex at the end.
"We seen it the last couple restarts, so just wrong place," he added. "Probably should have took two tires that last time we pitted – we took four. That killed us. Just wrong lane on the restart every single time all day long and couldn’t use the best car to win.”
It was another top-10 finish for the Roush Fenway Racing driver at Michigan, overcoming a pit-road speeding penalty late in the race to finish eighth.
"It was a lot better than we were in practice," Stenhouse said. "I guess that is the goal, to get it the best for the race, and that is what the guys did. We worked hard all day. It was a good day on pit road. We have a good baseline to come back with in August here at Michigan.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Although a ninth-place finish was a good rebound from a dismal 38th-place result last week at Pocono, Earnhardt felt the car had even more left than he was able to get out of it.
“Well, we had a real fast car,” Earnhardt said. “We had a little bit better car than ninth, I thought. After last week, it’s good to get one finished and would like to finish a little better though. The car is a little bit better than that.”
After starting in the back as the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team was forced to pull out the backup car, Johnson had to claw his way to 10th.
“Just getting inside the top 10 the cars are so equal on pace," Johnson said. "It’s really a one groove track still that it’s just hard to make anything happen. Unfortunately, we went to the back, I think if we would have started further forward it would have been a little better day for us. But, just racing at Michigan that is what it is.”