Take 5: Michigan
By Zack Albert, NASCAR.com | Sunday, August 13, 2017
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Petty Larson-yThere was perhaps no bigger takeaway from Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 than Kyle Larson's taking-away of a victory from Martin Truex Jr. at Michigan International Speedway. Truex tops Larson in their 1-2 ranking in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, but the 25-year-old driver reversed that order Sunday with a big move on an overtime restart.
Further foreshadowing toward a final-four matchup for the championship at Homestead-Miami in November? Both drivers strengthened their case Sunday.
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Best dressed in a bowtieIt was a big week for Chevrolet, which kicked off the Michigan festivities with a splashy unveil of the 2018 Camaro ZL1 race car in Detroit. By the end of the weekend, Chevrolet had retaken the lead in the manufacturer points standings from Ford on the strength of Larson's third victory of the season.
Larson's third straight Michigan win also kept the Michigan Heritage Trophy -- given to the winning automaker after each MIS race -- in the Chevy fold. 'It really is a lot of pride,' said Jim Campbell, Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet. 'What we'll do is we'll take this back to our headquarters tomorrow and have a chance to celebrate the race win, having the trophy here for the rest of this year.'
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No gimmes for Furniture RowRookie Erik Jones spent plenty of time in the top five at his home-state track, leading twice for five laps and vying for the win in the final restart. Though Truex's playoff future is secure, he said there was no thought of allowing his young teammate by to help him grab a postseason-clinching win.
'We don't have team orders,' Truex said, vigorously dismissing the notion when pressed. 'Nobody lets each other win. He's going to win some races. His turn will come.'
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Playoff pressureSeveral drivers along the playoff bubble failed to further their causes for a postseason spot at Michigan. Just three races remain before the field of 16 is locked in.
Clint Bowyer was tagged for speeding twice and was slowed by right-front damage that left him 23rd. That was one spot ahead of Matt Kenseth, who sank to 24th after brushing the outside wall during the final restart. And Joey Logano, still in search of an unencumbered victory, wound up two laps down in 28th after a tire issue with 15 laps left in regulation.
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Bests for Bayne, BuescherTwo drivers in need of a boost capitalized on Sunday's late-race shake-up at Michigan. Trevor Bayne vaulted to his first top-five finish of the season with a fifth-place run in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford. 'It's refreshing,' Bayne said. 'We've had a tough couple of months not getting the results we thought that we deserved.'
Chris Buescher also netted the best effort in his first season with JTG-Daugherty Racing, rallying from an early tire issue to take sixth. 'Fought hard all day long, to be able to get to here right now, that is a really cool finish,' Buescher said. 'Really proud of this team.'