Parks Pit Report: Firekeepers Casino 400

Clint Bowyer got told he won while on pit road. He made sure the fans got a post-victory celebration, one where he could see them as well.

When NASCAR implemented the new stage racing format beginning last year, one question that was asked initially at it’s introduction dealt with rain.

It was a simple question, because the new format changed what an “official race” definition was.

For many years, the rule NASCAR went by in races was when the race reached the halfway point plus one lap, it was deemed an official race.  That meant no matter what happened as far as weather or anything else like a sudden power outage or things out of NASCAR’s control, it can be considered an official race and officials can say the event is over.

With the new stage format, the length of race stages often went beyond the halfway point.  So, the question became what does NASCAR do to say a race is considered official.

Ironically, the answer was pretty simple.  Officials decided that when the second stage of the event was complete, the race was official, and it was a race to either the checkered flag, or the skies.

Ironically, not once was that ever used, because every race was ran to the distance, or even pushed to the next day if the race was never started or was suspended before making it to the second stage conclusion.

This was a good idea for the sport because rather than say the halfway point was an official race, each event now was going well beyond what could be considered the halfway lap, meaning there was still an immediate goal to achieve, and then the ultimate goal of the big victory.  What it also means is that even if a race goes say to lap 100 of a 200 lap race, the race now isn’t official, and if rain arrived, they would have to actually suspend the race instead of calling it.

Rain has never been a fan of NASCAR, and now I guess there’s a bigger loophole to go through in order for a race to be deemed official, or over as was the case in Michigan.  It only took 10 more laps past the official point till the rain decided to open up,, and then not long after, officials said, “That’s it.  Call it.”

Oh rain, you never will be a fan of NASCAR, and that’s sad.

STAGE 1:  Ryan Blaney

STAGE 2:  Kevin Harvick

RESULTS:  1-Bowyer  2-Harvick  3-Kurt Busch  4-Kyle Busch  5-Menard  6-Keselowski  7-Logano  8-Blaney  9-Elliott 10-McMurray

NOTABLE FINISHES:  13-Byron  14-Dillon  18-Truex Jr.

CAUTIONS:  8 for 30 laps.  Lap 27-29 (Competition Caution); 37-40 (#43, 38 Incident-T2); 58-59 (#6 Spin-T4); 62-65 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 67-71 (#19, 21 Incident-T4); 87-90 (#42 Spin-T4); 122-125 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 130-133 (#17, 95 Incident-T2).

LEAD CHANGES:  9 among 7 drivers.  Kurt Busch 1-46; R. Blaney 47-61; K. Larson 62; K. Kahne 63-71; K. Harvick 72-87; P. Menard 88-90; K. Harvick 91-122; K. Kahne 123-124; K. Harvick 125; C. Bowyer 126-133.

TIME OF RACE:  2 Hrs, 15 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  132.723 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  Under Caution

POINTS (Earned/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]):  1. Kyle Busch, 664 [25]; 2. Harvick, -75 [26]; 3. Logano, -98 [7]; 4. Keselowski, -150 [4]; 5. Bowyer, -154 [10]; 6. Truex Jr, -158 [13]; 7. Kurt Busch, -171 [2]; 8. Hamlin, -196 [1]; 9. Blaney, -207 [4]; 10. Larson, -221; 17. Menard, -337 [1]; 18. Dillon, -372 [5].

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