We all knew that this weekend’s race at the Michigan International Speedway would likely be dominated by the Fords. This race was big for them. After all, it’s in their backyard. Plus, Ford drivers had won almost half of the races of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season entering Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 and had led 54-percent of the overall laps too. With this being a horsepower track, Fords have proven to have the most.
In practice on Friday, Ford drivers took eight of the top 10 spots on the speed chart. In qualifying, they had all eight in the top 12. That’s why in Sunday’s race, no matter how many laps they were going to run, the blue ovals were going to be found near the front.
The race was called after 133 laps and Ford had seven of the top eight finishing positions. Out of those seven spots, all of them were associated with Stewart-Haas Racing and/or Team Penske.
SHR took the top three finishing spots with Clint Bowyer winning his second race of the season. He beat his teammate Kevin Harvick as Harvick now has six runner-up finishes in his last 11 Michigan starts. Pole sitter Kurt Busch led 46 laps and would finish third. Combined, they’d lead 103 of 133 laps on Sunday. The fourth driver in Aric Almirola would finish 11th.
The remaining spots went to the Penske trio and their alliance car with the Wood Brothers. Paul Menard gambled to not pit and stretch his fuel at the end of the second stage and that would pay dividends. He finished fifth in the stage and was able to now pit with the leaders. He would come out up front and earn his first top five finish of the season in his No. 21 Ford with a fifth place run.
Brad Keselowski finished sixth in his No. 2 Ford for his 12th top 13 finish in his last 14 Michigan starts. Joey Logano brought his No. 22 Ford home seventh for his 10th top 10 finish in his last 11 Michigan races, all coming with Penske. Ryan Blaney won the first stage and would finish eighth in his No. 12 Ford for his second top five finish in the last four races in the Irish Hills.
Combined Ford drivers would lead all but 12 laps on Sunday and further prove that they are the kings in the series in 2018.