Roush Fenway Racing cars ruled the roost at Michigan International Raceway with their Ford Mustangs finishing first, second and fifth in Ford’s home territory. Carl Edwards was forced to race hard to take the win from teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the last few laps with fellow RFR racer Trevor Bayne bringing his car to the line behind Kyle Busch and Paul Menard.
Between them Edwards and Stenhouse led one hundred of the 125 laps and the finish was always going to be this pair battling to the line. When Stenhouse passed Edwards for the lead on lap 103 the latter thought the race was a done deal but his crew chief, Mike Beam, calmly told him over the radio, “Don’t worry, with ten to go you’ll start reeling him in, you’ll catch him with eight to go and pass him with seven.” That is exactly how it played out.
“Ricky drove his heart out — that guy is unbelievable,” Edwards said in victory lane. “I didn't think I was going to be able to get him, but it was like his car got tightened up. Man, he did a good job. â€¦ I thought Ricky was setting sail. I didn't think I was going to be able to catch him. His car, I don't think, was balanced as well as mine was, and he was somehow making it go that fast. So he's someone I'm a little nervous about for the future.”
Menard and Busch spent the last part of the race scrapping for third place. Both had figured in the top five for the best part of the race, Busch being lucky to do so having scraped the wall as early as lap four, causing contact between Bayne and Justin Allgaier as he did so.
Menard’s fourth along with Elliott Sadler finishing in eighth place gave Kevin Harvick‘s team two top-ten places.
There are now only seventeen points covering the top four in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship. Stenhouse takes the top spot just two points clear of Sadler and four above previous leader Reed Sorenson; behind them is thirteenth place finisher Justin Allgaier.
Next Saturday the series goes to Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, one of the road courses which tend to polarise NASCAR drivers. Some really enjoy manhandling stock cars around the twisty tracks, others such as Kyle Busch are happy to vacate their seat to let someone else drive.