This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Sunday's visit to Michigan International Speedway culminated in a frantic eight-lap dash to the finish where Ryan Blaney held off a frenzied attack from multiple cars behind, narrowly beating Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson to the finish line. Blaney's restart was the key to picking up his second victory of the season after the Chevrolet-powered teammates dominated the race, leading more than 150 of the 200 laps run. After getting to the front, Blaney simply placed his car in the ideal spot to keep the charge from behind at bay through the final miles. The win marked the seventh consecutive Michigan victory for Ford and gives Blaney an extra bit of confidence ahead of the playoffs.
Only one more regular-season race remains for drivers to earn their spots in the championship battle. The unpredictable high banks of Daytona International Speedway await in a race that could shake up the fight for the final playoff positions. The battle remains an intramural fight between Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon, both of whom suffered nightmare afternoons at Michigan. The gap between the two is just 25 points, but a win from any almost any other driver not currently locked into the playoffs could mean both would end up on the outside looking in.
Ryan Blaney – Blaney didn't start Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 well, but he sure finished it strongly. He took command at the front on the final restart and was able to hold off charges from