The irony of Michigan’s first race of the season is sponsored by a casino, because in the late going, gambling seemed to be something everyone had to do. It was a gamble just to even start the race, but it happened, although a few hours later than originally planned.
It was a gamble to get through the first stage, and then a gamble to make it through the second stage to ensure the race was official.
An even bigger gamble was how far it would go after that, because it was clear the chances of making the full distance were not very good. It was a race to the weather, and some teams decided to go with strengths to make it there. But, one decided to go all-in with their own bet, and placed belief in their driver to do his job to get to victory.
The gamble looked weak after two corners, but after four, it seemed to work out better than expected.
Suddenly, it came, and the skies opened up as though Noah’s Arc was struggling to fill with the animals. NASCAR did not wait long to decide this was it, and after 133 laps, the gamble that the No. 14 team took with Clint Bowyer paid off. A second win on the year, and a likely guarantee to join his teammate as a title contender for 2018.
That gamble paid off for Bowyer, but cost a few participants a victory this week. Although, a solid finish certainly was nothing to worry about, as half the field finished solidly in the top-10. Here’s the new standings after the rain-shortened Firekeepers Casino 400:
Sal Sigala Jr. – 565 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 18th (3) 17
Ashley Hobbs – 541 – Kyle Larson finished 28th (5) 26
Penny Whitecotton – 537 – Kevin Harvick finished 2nd (5) 25
Trisha Rodisch – 535 – Kevin Harvick finished 2nd (4) 22
Rob Tiongson – 535 – Kyle Larson finished 28th (2) 10
Misan Akuya – 521 – Kurt Busch finished 3rd (4) 22
Dustin Parks – 493 – Brad Keselowski finished 6th (0) 2
Rob Blount – 472 – Kevin Harvick finished 2nd (2) 13
Billy Fellin – 457 – Kyle Larson finished 28th (3) 19
Ashley Hull – 343 – NO PICK SENT (2) 12
Next Race: It’s always good to take a break when the opportunity comes, and in NASCAR those breaks do not come very often, especially when it comes to having an off weekend from racing. The sport only has two weekends during the season where the top tier series gets a chance to rest, and for the first time in a while, that weekend comes to give the drivers a chance, at least some, to celebrate being a dad.
Father’s Day will not have a race, a day where normally they are at Michigan. But, the schedule for this year allowed an early break before the summer stretch begins.
When NASCAR comes back in two weeks, it is a road trip of sorts. A road trip back to California, but also a road trip to a different course, a style that will be seen on three occasions this season. The trip to California is one to the Sonoma Valley, so there is a certainty that some of the best wine in the country will be sipped at some point on the weekend. It’s also certain that some different names could be near the front. Drivers who are average on road courses may be at a disadvantage, but ones who excel could be the ones to steal a victory and make it into the playoffs.
The participants have a week off to relax, and think, about who to choose for Sonoma Raceway. Those picks are due by Thursday, June 21, at 10 p.m. ET for the Toyota-Save Mart 350.