On Friday in qualifying, Joey Logano said his Sprint Cup race car was out of control at Michigan International Speedway.
On Sunday the Team Penske gun hadn’t changed his opinion but he reined in the No. 22 Ford and rode it to victory at MIS – his second at the track -- in the FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
NASCAR’s new low downforce aero package was on show in the Irish Hills and produced wild restarts, nine cautions and plenty of passing in mid-pack.
Logano, 26, who was on pole, dominated the race, leading 138 of 200 laps.
It was his first victory of 2016, his 15th in Cup races and likely assured him of a spot in the NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs.
Going into Turn 1 at the start of the race, Logano said: “I thought I was King Kong. I drove down in there and about crashed. That didn’t work out so well. So I learned a lot from that one.”
Logano again described the ride around MIS as “out of control.”
But he liked the feeling in the end.
“You know, it’s just the cars are out of control,” said Logano. “They are out of control crazy, and it makes it a lot of fun. It’s a recipe for disaster, for sure, but I think the race was pretty good.
“There were a lot of natural cautions out there and a lot of things that happened, and I think that’s a good sign.
“Without watching it, I know it’s better than the package we ran here (at Michigan) last time, so I’m excited about that.”
Finishing second Sunday was Hendrick Motorsport’s youngster Chase Elliott in the No. 24 Chevrolet and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson third in the No. 42 Chevrolet, though his car later failed post-race inspection.
Any penalties against Larson, said a NASCAR spokesman, would be discussed later in the week, so his third-place at MIS stands and is unlikely to be altered.
“Restarts for sure were pretty crazy there,” said Larson, 23, who posted his second top-10 finish in six races at Michigan. “At the start of the race, it looked like everybody was trying to take it easy but still sliding around, and we were able to gain a few spots there. I don’t think I ran out of the top six pretty much all race long.”
Elliott, 20, son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, blamed himself for a missed gearshift on a late restart that could have meant the difference between finishing runner up to Logano and winning his first Cup race.
Making his first start at MIS, Elliott has just 20 Cup races to his name.
“I just did something dumb,” said Elliott of his gearshift gaffe. “You don’t do dumb stuff and win these races. Completely my fault. The guys gave me a great car today. Like I said, you can’t do dumb stuff to win these things and I did today.”
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski finished fourth in his No. 2 Ford, with Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick fifth in the No. 4 Chevrolet.