Michigan NASCAR: Clint Bowyer leads Stewart-Haas 1-2-3 before rain – NASCAR

Clint Bowyer claimed a second NASCAR Cup Series win of the 2018 season by leading a Stewart-Haas Racing 1-2-3 in a Michigan race shortened by rain.

Bowyer had run within the top 10 throughout the race. He was third in the opening stage and finished stage two in second place behind his SHR team-mate Kevin Harvick.

Rain had initially delayed the start of the race by over two hours. With the threat of rain returning, Bowyer’s team opted to fit only right-side tyres at the pitstop phase at the start of the final stage. With Harvick and the rest of the frontrunners taking four tyres, Bowyer took the lead.

He successfully defended first place in a close battle with Harvick during the four laps that actually ran in the final segment before Ricky Stenhouse Jr was pitched into the wall after a nudge from Kasey Kahne.

The resulting caution for Stenhouse’s spin turned into a red flag as the rain returned.

With 67 laps of the 200 remaining, the race was ended. Bowyer’s victory was confirmed and full points awarded with the race having passed the end of stage two.

Harvick’s stage two win was his eighth of the season en route to second place. In third was his SHR team-mate Kurt Busch, who led the opening 46 laps of the race having started on pole but slipped down the order after losing ground on restarts.

His brother Kyle Busch ended up in fourth place. Busch was one of three Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas to be sent to the back of the field to start the race following an issue with their splitters during pre-race inspection.

Busch had climbed to 12th by the end of stage one and made further progress through stage two, only narrowly missing out on third after battling with brother Kurt prior to the red flag.

Paul Menard finished in fifth place. He was propelled into contention during a lap 85 caution after Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson spun out of eighth place.

Menard, who was running outside the top 10, chose not to pit under the caution that followed and cycled to the front.

He successfully managed his fuel to the end of stage two, finishing in fifth and retaining the place until the finish.

Team Penske trio Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Blaney won the opening stage. He lost ground during the restart to open stage two and then dropped further down the order along with Keselowski when the pair opted to take four tyres rather than two during the lap 85 caution.

Chase Elliott ended the race in ninth place, despite being demoted to the rear of the field after making a pitstop before the pitlane was open during a lap 56 caution. His recovery resulted in him finishing as the top Chevrolet.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jaime McMurray rounded out the top 10.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 133
2 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 133
3 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 133
4 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 133
5 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 133
6 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 133
7 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 133
8 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 133
9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 133
10 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 133
11 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 133
12 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 133
13 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 133
14 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 133
15 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 133
16 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 133
17 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 133
18 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 133
19 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 133
20 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 133
21 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 133
22 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 133
23 Kasey Kahne Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 133
24 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 133
25 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 133
26 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 133
27 Corey LaJoie TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 133
28 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 133
29 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 133
30 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 132
31 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 132
32 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 132
33 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford 132
34 D.J. Kennington Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 132
35 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 132
36 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 131
37 B.J. McLeod Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 131
38 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 35
39 Garrett Smithley StarCom Racing Chevrolet 1

Drivers’ standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 664
2 Kevin Harvick 589
3 Joey Logano 566
4 Brad Keselowski 514
5 Clint Bowyer 510
6 Martin Truex Jr. 506
7 Kurt Busch 493
8 Denny Hamlin 468
9 Ryan Blaney 457
10 Kyle Larson 443
11 Aric Almirola 433
12 Jimmie Johnson 377
13 Chase Elliott 362
14 Erik Jones 346
15 Alex Bowman 331
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 327
17 Paul Menard 327
18 Austin Dillon 292
19 Jamie McMurray 283
20 William Byron 277
21 Daniel Suarez 265
22 Ryan Newman 257
23 A.J. Allmendinger 249
24 Darrell Wallace Jr. 247
25 David Ragan 225
26 Chris Buescher 217
27 Michael McDowell 205
28 Kasey Kahne 201
29 Ty Dillon 194
30 Matt DiBenedetto 156
31 Trevor Bayne 145
32 Gray Gaulding 100
33 Cole Whitt 85
34 Landon Cassill 75
35 D.J. Kennington 58
36 Matt Kenseth 49
37 Corey LaJoie 49
38 Jeffrey Earnhardt 35
39 Reed Sorenson 31
40 Brendan Gaughan 24
41 Harrison Rhodes 23
42 Mark Thompson 15
43 Derrike Cope 4
44 Danica Patrick 2
45 Justin Marks 0
46 David Gilliland 0
47 Ross Chastain 0
48 Timothy Peters 0
49 Cole Custer 0
50 Joey Gase 0
51 Parker Kligerman 0
52 J.J. Yeley 0
53 Timmy Hill 0
54 Daniel Hemric 0
55 B.J. McLeod 0
56 Chad Finchum 0
57 Cody Ware 0
58 Garrett Smithley 0

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