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New pit-lane rule proves to be success at MIS for NASCAR

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Brooklyn, Mich. – NASCAR’s decision to allow the choose cone rule for Saturday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 proved to be a success.

The rule allows drivers to pick a lane after they exit the pit lane following a pit stop.

It ends the jockeying on pit road where drivers jostle for position based on the lane they want to restart in.

Ryan Blaney, aboard the Ford No. 12, felt the rule “had a good impact on the race.

Denny Hamlin (11), Joey Logano (22), Kevin Harvick (4) and Tyler Reddick (8) compete during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

“Obviously the best car won the race (Kevin Harvick won Saturday’s race) but I thought it was unique seeing what everyone was going to do and trying to figure out what you wanted to do,” Blaney said. “I lined up on the top and I chose the bottom a good bit. I chose the bottom a decent amount when I was trying to get back up there because you jump about three rows and you figure you can maintain or maybe gain.

“I thought it was great. I thought they did a really good job implementing it the rest of the year besides next week. I was a fan of it, for sure.”

Joey Logano is also a fan of the rule, believing it puts more decision-making into the hands of drivers.

“You can actually have your own fate in your hands a little bit so you can make those decisions yourself,” Logano said. “I am good with it. I like it. I am glad it went this way.

“It definitely adds something to the race. There is a lot to think about going to it and you see a lot of drivers really pick up a lot of spots here today by making that bet. It is a lot to study which is what I am going to do after this. There is a lot to study on how these restarts work now. A lot for everybody to learn. A lot to take advantage of and it evolved a lot through the race from what it was in the beginning to the middle and end where it was much different. It is cool. I like it.”

Oh so close

Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills) finished second Saturday and was denied an opportunity once again of winning in his home state.

Keselowski was frustrated, but not disappointed.

“I'm not going to sit here and complain about it,” Keselowski said. “I could be sitting 35th right now with a wadded up race car.  It certainly beats that.  But you know, I've heard this analogy over and over again that when you go to the Olympics, the best thing that can happen to you is you win the gold and the worst thing that can happen to you is not that you don't place or not that you place with a bronze, it's when you get silver because silver is when you knew you were so close.”

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Saturday’s victory was the 54th of Kevin Harvick’s career, tying him with Hall of Famer Lee Petty.

It was a humbling piece of information for Harvick.

“I am honored. I have been very fortunate to work with some good teams and have some good race cars,” Harvick said. “When you start talking about names like Lee Petty and Rusty Wallace and Junior Johnson (next on the wins list) and all the names that are around us on that list is just an honor to be around them.

“I know that comes with a lot of responsibilities for our sport and I ask myself all the time if I have done enough or am doing enough to help make this sport go forward. It is an honor to be around those names.”

Twitter: @tkulfan