We all knew Kyle Larson would be the one to beat for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. After all, he finished in the top three in both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at the 2-mile track a year ago, including a win last August. Mix that with a win at Michigan’s sister track in Fontana back in March, as well as starting on the pole for today’s race, and it was really clear that he was a favorite to win this weekend.
But, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano could have been listed on the “favorites” list too. Elliott, finished second in both Michigan races last year, while Logano had eight straight top 10’s at the Irish Hills track and won there last June as well.
Despite that, both have had their slumps recently though.
Elliott, had a stretch of four straight finishes of 20th or worse, while Logano was on a streak of five straight finishes outside the top 20 of his own.
Past success won out though, as both showed that maybe they’re on the exits on their respective slumps.
For the third straight time, Elliott brought his No. 24 Chevrolet home runner-up at Michigan, coming home second to Larson on Sunday afternoon. It was his third straight top 10 and second top five in the last three races. That’s enough to prove to me his slump is busted.
For Logano, his third place result in today’s race at Michigan could end his spell too. It was his ninth straight top 10 at MIS, ending a streak of finishes of 32nd, 37th, 21st, 25th and 23rd respectively. Those finishes took him down to the final bubble spot in the playoff standings, as his win at Richmond was encumbered and doesn’t count for a playoff berth.
But, a top five today, that could give him the momentum that he needs to climb further up. After eight top sixes in the first nine races of the season, he had five straight finishes of 20th or worse. Now, he’s back in the top six again.
Today wasn’t a win for either driver, but it has to feel like one.