The luck of the Irish certainly didn’t help NASCAR get a full 400-mile race in at the Michigan International Speedway in the state’s Irish Hills.
Clint Bowyer, however, did have the luck of the Irish on his side as he was in command of the race when the rains hit, ultimately ending the race 67 laps short of the 200-lap distance.
Rain had been threatening the race the entire day, even after a near two-hour delay to start the race.
As the caution flew for seventh time of the race at the end of the second stage, Bowyer and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz opted to take two tires rather than four like the rest of the lead lap cars. It turned out to be the race-winning move when contact between Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. resulted in a caution only three laps after the restart. Bowyer was able to hold the lead over teammate Kevin Harvick when it poured over the track. Bowyer’s win was his second of the year and 10th of his career.
“It took something crazy on a restart to be able to get Kevin. That was a gutsy call. When we went out there on two tires I looked in the mirror and I was so far ahead of everybody else I was like, ‘Oh man, we are in trouble!’, Bowyer said.
“The rain came just in enough time. I was trying to hold him off. I was cutting him off and taking his line away pretty bad. If it wasn’t for a win you wouldn’t be doing that. He was so much faster than me in one and two. I got down in three and just had to take his line because that bear was coming.”
Harvick finished second followed by Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Paul Menard.
For Menard, it was his first top-five of the year and first with the Wood Brothers after leading laps early in the race.
“We had a good car today and all weekend. We didn’t qualify as good as we would have hoped and went from the back and got put to the back twice. Once I sped and another time we got door slammed,” Menard said. “I am really proud of my guys. We made a gutsy call to stay out on no tires with a bunch of laps on it. Gutsy call. We had the car to hold on though, so it worked out.”
Sixth was Brad Keselowski with Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray rounding out the top-10.