Clint Bowyer along with Stewart-Haas Racing teammates made it a 1-2-3 finish at Michigan International Speedway, sweeping the FireKeepers Casino 400. The No. 14 of Bowyer, with Kevin Harvick and pole winner Kurt Busch, made history with the first 1-2-3 finish for Stewart-Haas Racing in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race while marking Bowyer’s 10th career Cup win and SHR’s 46 points Cup win.
Ford Motor Company also brought home the Heritage Trophy, awarded to the winning manufacturer at Michigan.
“Congratulations to Clint, Tony, Gene and the Stewart-Haas organization,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was a strong showing by the Ford’s this weekend with Kurt taking the pole Friday and to see seven Fords finish in the top-10 was great. We always want to run good, but when you’re in Michigan it's extra special when you can help bring the Heritage Trophy back to Dearborn and the Ford family.”
The Ford Fusions powered by the Ford FR9 EFI engines all ran strong from the time they were brought off the haulers at Michigan International Speedway with the No. 41 of Kurt Busch winning the pole at 203.361 mph. The Ford teams went onto lead 121 out of the 133-lap race.
After a rain delay start to the race, the Ford Fusions showcased their speed as Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney won Stage 1 and SHR Harvick won Stage 2. As the weather moved in just after the completion of Stage 2, a strategy call by Mike Bugarewicz, Crew Chief of the No.14 decided to take two tires. In the showdown between teammates, Bowyer held off Harvick on the final restart and was able to retain the lead before rain shortened the 200-lap race and stopped the event.
“That was a gutsy call,” commented Bowyer on Bugarewicz’s 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!' The rain came just in enough time. 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.”
In total, seven Ford’s topped the leader board to end the race; Bowyer (P1), Harvick (P2), Busch (P3), Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Paul Menard (P5), Team-Penske teammates No. 2 Brad Keselowski (P6), Joey Logano (P7) and Ryan Blaney (P8) and just outside the top-10 was No. 10 Aric Almirola (P11).
“I think it's a real honor to drive the Roush‑Yates engines when you get to a place like this because you can be a lot easier on your car,” commented Harvick after the race. “Doug Yates and those guys, they like to make big horsepower on the big end of the motor, put a lot of effort into this particular race weekend.”
The Ford Performance teams will ride this momentum out to Sonoma Raceway on June 24th. Reference the full 2018 schedule on Roush Yates Engines.