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Bowyer leads Stewart-Haas sweep in Michigan

57   //    11 Jun 2018, 05:00 IST
Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer claimed victory at the FireKeepers Casino 400 at a rain-hit Michigan on Sunday.

Rain delayed the start by more than two hours, and when it started, NASCAR teams kept one eye on the competition, and the other on the weather radar.

No one did that better than Bowyer's crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, who gambled on pit strategy late and saw it pay off when the rain returned. NASCAR quickly called the race, giving Bowyer his second win of the season and career victory number 10.

Bugarewicz's call to change two tyres during the race's third stage returned Bowyer to the track in the lead, but with everyone else behind him on four fresh tyres. If it had not rained, Bowyer would have been in trouble.

But the rain rolled in shortly after, ending the race with 67 laps remaining.

"When he said two tyres, I said, 'Oh man, I don't know,'" Bowyer told Fox Sports. "That was a gutsy call. Unbelievable!" 

"Fortunately enough this mist moved in and helped us out," Bugarewicz said.

Bowyer did his part, too, holding off a determined charge from his Stewart-Haas Racing team-mate Kevin Harvick on the restart to keep the lead.

Stewart-Haas Racing Fords swept the top three positions, with pole-sitter Kurt Busch finishing third.

Kyle Larson, who had won the previous three races at Michigan, was running eighth when he spun into the grass midway through the second stage.

Kyle Busch, who started the race at the rear of the field after NASCAR found non-compliant splitters on the number 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in pre-race inspection, finished fourth.

NASCAR also penalised JGR drivers Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones for the same infraction, and penalties could be forthcoming.

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