Fuel strategy elevated Austin Dillon to his first stage win of the season in stage 2 of the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The Richard Childress Racing driver took advantage of an early yellow to make his lone stop of the stage and rose to the fore late as stage 1 winner Joey Logano and many of early leaders made their final stops.

Joey Logano picked up from where he left off from the opening stage and led the opening nine laps until Kyle Weatherman’s crash in Turn 2 on Lap 69 brought out the stage’s lone yellow flag.

A majority of drivers pitted and gave them insurance to make the remainder of the stage without a pitstop. Alex Bowman led the group off pit road and resumed the race in ninth ahead of Almirola and Truex, Jr.

Kevin Harvick also benefitted from the yellow as the Free Pass got him back on the lead lap.

Seven drivers stayed out under the yellow led by Logano with Erik Jones in second ahead of the Fords of Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski.

Logano led the next 59 laps with Kyle Larson riding in second ahead Logano’s Team Penske compatriots Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski in third and fourth as Chase Elliott completed the top five. Logano saw his chances of a stage win zapped when he needed a short pitstop for fuel with just seven laps remaining the stage.

That forced the hand of the rest of the leaders to pit and promoted Dillon to the lead with three to go ahead of Harvick, who tore his way through the field after restarting in 32nd place.

Dillon kept Harvick at bay and took the stage win with ease. Martin Truex, Jr ended up third while Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five.

Kyle Busch also claimed stage points with a sixth-place finish ahead of Dillon’s teammate Daniel Hemric in seventh. Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman took eighth and ninth ahead of Chris Buescher in tenth.

 

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