Clint Bowyer wins rain short­ened Michi­gan race

Manteca Bulletin - - Sports -

BROOK­LYN, Mich. (AP) — After 120 laps and two stages, the race could now be of­fi­cial. Any driver in the lead might con­ceiv­ably win if rain in­ter­vened.

Clint Bowyer had fin­ished sec­ond to team­mate Kevin Har­vick in the sec­ond stage, and both came to pit road. Bowyer took only two tires — and felt that de­ci­sion by crew chief Mike Bu­garewicz ul­ti­mately won him the race.

“It was a gamble on his part,” Bowyer said. “It was un­char­ac­ter­is­tic for him. That’s part of grow­ing and blos­som­ing as a crew chief and be­ing one of the elite.”

After that quick pit stop, Bowyer had out­side po­si­tion on Har­vick on the en­su­ing restart and was able to take the lead. Rain halted the race not long after that, giv­ing Bowyer his sec­ond NASCAR Cup Se­ries win of the year.

Har­vick fin­ished sec­ond, and pole win­ner Kurt Busch fin­ished third, com­plet­ing a sweep of the top three for Ste­wart-Haas Rac­ing. Kyle Busch was fourth, the lone Toy­ota near the top in a race dom­i­nated by Ford. Four more Fords — Paul Me­nard, Brad Ke­selowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney — rounded out the top eight.

Blaney won the first stage and Har­vick took the sec­ond. On the pit stop mo­ments later, Bu­garewicz made the de­ci­sion to go with only two tires, fig­ur­ing other lead­ers would do the same, since bad weather could ar­rive shortly and track po­si­tion was im­por­tant.

“When we were com­ing on pit road, I was 100 per­cent sure two tires was the right call. We got about three- quar­ters of the way down pit road, I was about 70 per­cent sure,” Bu­garewicz said. “When he slid into the pit box, I was about 50 per­cent sure. By then, we were leav­ing. It was too late.

“Clint asked, ‘Are we the only one with two?’ ‘Yeah, we’re the only one with two.’”

Bowyer didn’t have to race much longer in his No. 14 car. He had the lead when Ricky Sten­house Jr. went into the wall, bring­ing out a cau­tion. The rain put a stop to the race after 133 of the planned 200 laps on the 2-mile track at Michi­gan In­ter­na­tional Speedway.

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