When leader Joey Logano headed for pit road because of a cut tire with only four laps remaining in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on Saturday, Paul Menard inherited the lead and drove on to his second-career Nationwide win in his first start of the 2014 season.
“Right rear had a cut in it somewhere,” Logano said. “The No. 6 car (Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford) was running with garbage flying off his car everywhere.”
Bayne was involved in an incident with Dylan Kwasniewski that brought out the yellow flag for the fourth and final time of the race with about 45 laps remaining in the 125-lap event.
Logano wound up finishing 16th. Sam Hornish Jr. finished second after overcoming a spin to bring out the first caution of the race on lap two.
“We were able to work our way back up there, just didn’t have anything for the No. 33 there at the end,” Hornish said. “We didn’t give up; we kept working hard.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, Kyle Busch was fourth, and Brian Scott rounded out the top-five.
After Ty Dillon and Menard each led laps early in the race, Kyle Larson ran up front for 46 laps, many of those with Chase Elliott behind him in second.
After taking over first and second, both Larson and Elliott opted to stay out during the second and third cautions that came out for debris on laps 51 and 66, while almost everyone else pitted during at least one of the yellow flags. As a result, they were running on older tires than the rest of the race field when the final yellow flag waved, forcing them to spend enough time on pit road for four tires, while others took fuel only.
When the race restarted for the final time, Elliott and Larson were well outside the top-10, running around 15th. Both drivers had a hard time gaining track positions at first, but finally made their ways into the top-10 by the end. Elliott wound up finishing sixth, while Larson had to settle for eighth.
Menard moved up to second on the final restart, but almost as soon as he raced up to second, he gave up the spot he gained and then some. But he recovered, and with just under 20 laps to go, moved back up to second.
“The best car won today,” Menard said. “I thought we gave it away on the last restart.”
Regan Smith finished seventh, Dillon was ninth, and Chris Buescher finished 10th.
– Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images