Ryan Blaney Upsets the Field at Michigan International Speedway
Ryan Blaney upsets the field at Michigan International Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday.
With two races left in the regular season, the NASCAR Cup Series race in the Irish Hills of southern Michigan at Michigan International Speedway is always an entertaining place to catch the action. A two-mile oval with fast speeds and multiple lanes provides three-wide and often four-wide racing. With a trip to the playoffs on the line for some drivers, the action is not to be missed.
Lead Changes in the First Stage
Kyle Larson held the pole coming into Sunday afternoon. He jumped out to an early lead and was able to control the field through the competition caution on lap twenty.
Denny Hamlin cycled into the lead during the competition caution. His lead was quickly surrendered to Chase Elliott. Elliott made an effortless pass on Hamlin a lap after the restart.
This was all Elliott needed as he had the best car in the first stage. Chase Elliott led the remaining 34 laps to win the opening segment.
Again, Kyle Larson Kicks Off the Second Stage
Kyle Larson returned to the lead to begin the second stage at Michigan International Speedway. He had to battle Austin Dillon early, but it ended up being Chase Elliott passing both drivers for the lead.
The entirety of the segment ran caution-free, and Elliott came down pit road with nine laps remaining. Elliott would have cycled into the lead, but Kyle Busch had other plans.
While Busch pitted under green as well, he only took two tires and came off pit road with the lead. Kyle Busch’s late-stage gamble earned him the win in the second stage.
Blaney Upsets the Field at Michigan International Speedway
Once more, Kyle Larson began the final stage in the lead and brought controlled the field through a long green-flag run. During the green flag pitting cycle, William Byron had a phenomenal stop and cycled in front of Kyle Larson with 26 laps remaining.
Shortly after, NASCAR officials threw a caution for rain. On the restart, another caution occurred after a wreck involving Joey Logano and seven other drivers.
On the following restart, William Byron controlled the field in the outside lane. However, it was Ryan Blaney in the inside lane that received a big shove from Kyle Busch. Blaney upsets the field in the first turn with a pass for the lead and the chase was on.
William Byron and Kyle Larson were in hot pursuit of Blaney, but they could not organize themselves for a run. Ryan Blaney led only eight laps in Sunday’s race, and they were the final eight laps. It was all he needed, and Ryan Blaney claims his second win of the season by upsetting the field at Michigan International Speedway.
One more race remains on the regular-season schedule, and two playoff spots are up for grabs. Currently, Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick sit inside the cutoff line. By the looks of it, Kevin Harvick is in the playoffs. He sits inside the cutoff line by 104 points. Extreme circumstances would have to happen for him to be bounced out of the playoffs.
The biggest storyline heading to Daytona is the one between Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon. These two teammates are separated by 25 points. With Austin Dillon on the outside looking in, he is surely going to be aggressive next weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Dillon basically sits in a ‘must-win’ situation unless Tyler Reddick wrecks early in the race. It will be a battle worth paying attention to despite what could be happening toward the front of the field.