Even with all the griping, warranted griping mind you, about debris cautions at Michigan, at the end of the day you have to find a way to persevere and win. And that is just what Kyle Larson did. Would he have won if the final caution had come out with about 20 to go? Maybe, maybe not. But the caution was called and he did win and that is all that matters.
On the way to Larson’s victory, Martin Truex, Jr grabbed two more stage wins giving him a league-leading 10. Call me crazy but I think Truex would rather have the race win, even in front a less than full stands.
All in all, it was your typical Michigan race and probably more notable for the Silly Season conversation than anything else. But first, let’s look at who had a good race.
Jimmie Johnson drove up through the field again and finished 10th after a spin in practice. Hendrick placed three drivers in the top 10. When was the last time that happened?
Dale Earnhardt, Jr finished 9th for his first top 10 in forever. He has a pretty good record the last few races at Sonoma, but if they have similar shifting issues as they did at Pocono, he will not have a good race.
Chase Elliott had another Harvick-like 2nd place finish and he is still looking for his first win.
Denny Hamlin paced Joe Gibbs Racing with a 4th place finish. When was the last time that happened?
Jamie McMurray continued his run of good finishes while teammate Kyle Larson steals the headlines. He finished 5th.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr also got a top 10 finish.
Erik Jones finished 13th after starting 14th so he never really gained much ground but he ran well and brought it home in one piece.
On the other hand….
Danica Patrick had another hard hit and finished dead last.
Clint Bowyer had a decent race going and was looking at a top 10 finish until that last caution.
Kasey Kahne had another bad race finishing 21st.
Brad Keselowski finished 16th and is looking forward to Sonoma.
So, Silly Season. It is starting to ramp up with some big names being thrown around. Let’s start with one of the bigger, Kasey Kahne. He is having a terrible season and is mires in 21st. Sure, a win solves some of his woes and gets him into the playoffs where anything can happen. The team is obviously capable of winning but they just can’t seem to put anything together right now.
Ryan Blaney’s deal with the Wood Brothers expires soon so would he move on? He is on lease from Penske and I don’t know if Roger Penske wants a third team or if they would extend the Blaney deal or move him to another Ford team. Otherwise, he could be snapped up by any number of teams, including Hendrick or Stewart-Haas.
Kyle Larson seems secure in his deal at Ganassi but who knows? We know he and Tony Stewart are tight. If Larson moves, and it’s a big if, SHR might be the place he lands.
Danica Patrick has a lot to consider. She has a clause where she can get out or be shown the door. We know she had a major sponsor issue this season and if she doesn’t have a big sponsor for 2018, she could move on, go back to Indycar or retire. She is frustrated in her performance and she can’t keep taking these big hits.
Erik Jones is on lease to Furniture Row from Gibbs. Will he stay there? Probably unless there is a major shake up at Gibbs.
Same goes from Chris Buescher at JTG Daugherty on loan from Roush. Unless Roush expands in 2018, which I doubt, Buescher may stay where he is or move to another blue oval team.
Alex Bowman is the prime suspect to replace Dale Earhardt, Jr in the 88 but that is not a given. Other possible candidates include Bubba Wallace (surprisingly out of the JGR car at Sonoma). William Byron is a top prospect in the Hendrick camp, but they might leave him for another year or two in Xfinity. Or bring him up and strike while the iron is hot.
Carl Edwards is out there lurking and always denies he is returning to any given ride that his name is mentioned for. We’ll see.
A lot of this will all start to churn even more once Brad Keselowski finalizes his deal with Penske. If that deal falls apart, this will all get even more silly.
Hope you all had a great Father’s Day! Onto wine country.