Wednesday, 25 May 2022

BROOKLYN, Mich. — They say every lap counts in racing, but most importantly the last lap counts.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney proved that to be the case on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, when he led the final 8 laps to take the victory in his Ford after the race was dominated by Chevy drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron.

A strong push by Kyle Busch on the last restart, reminiscent of the type of push needed to win at superspeedway tracks, helped Blaney’s cause as he battled for the win.

“Yeah, got a great push by the 18 on the restart, was able to get clear there. Michigan is a matter of pretty much running wide open and trying to play the air game. I hate you have to race that way. That's how you have to run. Worked out for us,” Blaney said.

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — In a sport like NASCAR, where it generally takes many years to establish yourself as a competitive team, it’s rare to see a new team break through as a serious contender for race wins and championships. That’s especially true at the Cup level, but also at the Xfinity level, where a few teams have dominated wins for years (Joe Gibbs Racing, Jr. Motorsports, Team Penske, etc.).

That’s what makes the rise of Kaulig Racing over the past few years a truly inspiring story that fans should embrace. It reminds me of how Furniture Row Racing grew from a small, upstart team based in Denver to winning a title with Martin Truex Jr., before eventually shutting down.

Hopefully, Kaulig doesn’t follow the last part of that blueprint, as they’re a team on the rise (entering Cup full-time in 2022, in addition to maintaining its Xfinity teams) that would be a strong addition to the garage for decades to come.

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — A hometrack race just means more.

And for Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones, who both cut their teeth at local Michigan tracks including Waterford Hills, that home track in the Cup series is Michigan International Speedway.

Neither has won a Cup race at MIS (in fact, no Michigan-born driver has won a Cup race at MIS), but this might be the weekend that changes. Both are very fast so far this weekend. 

Keselowski’s speed came through in qualifying Friday, when he went out last in qualifying and beat everyone with a speed of 190.471 MPH. He previously won the pole at MIS in August 2017.

 “I think the track was in really good shape,. I don't know if there was anything that really favored us, mostly it was just the team doing a great job with the preparation and executing a flawless lap driving the car. Most of the credit goes to my team for sure.”

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — I’ll start with a proclamation: The Truck Series is the best and most competitive of the three top-tier series in NASCAR, so when Saturday’s race at MIS kicked off, I had high expectations.

In the end, as per usual, I was not disappointed.

With the exception of the opening 20-lap segment, which was dominated by Ross Chastain before he had some bad luck and incurred damage on pit road, the race was one of the best all season.

Ben Rhodes, in a smooth-looking Havoline throwback paint scheme, threatened to take the win and enter the playoffs. Brett Moffitt was in the hunt for yet another win. Young Tyler Ankrum was on the front row for several restarts, and even the KBM trucks made appearances up front as they battled in their final attempt to make the playoffs.

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BROOKLYN, Mich.— It was a dreary day Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, and the fans who showed up held out hope of getting the race in, but it was not to be. Despite the track’s best efforts not to lose the track, and drivers Bubba Wallace and Corey Lajoie cheering up the fans with some football toss fun, Mother Nature would not cooperate and let us get a race in.

So here we are, on a Monday, awaiting a 5 p.m. start in Brooklyn, the start time delayed both by ongoing weather on Monday and FS1’s commitment to air Women’s World Cup matches.

Leading the field to green this afternoon/early evening will be Joey Logano of Team Penske, who led a strong qualifying effort by the Ford camp.

Logano said he anticipates teams will use different approaches throughout the race, but he’s happy to have the first pit stall.

“I am sure strategy will change things up. There will be two-tires, four-tires, no-tires and everything will get mixed up at some point, but I think being in that first pit stall is going to lessen that risk of getting back there and getting stuck. If you can kind of keep yourself up there I think it will be important for tomorrow's race,” he said.  

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