The FireKeepers 400 began after a 1-hour, 43-minute rain delay. And 74 laps later, precipitation pushed the drivers out of their cars during a red-flag stoppage that lasted nearly an hour before the 200-lap race was postponed.
Shortly before the race was suspended, Tyler Reddick took the lead after a restart and was followed by Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and points leader Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Busch’s race ended after just 14 laps because he spun out and hit a wall after making side-by-side contact with Ryan Blaney. Truex, meanwhile, stayed on the track to take the lead.
While Busch’s place in the playoff is secure with three wins, the next driver to crash 20 laps later is in a precarious position.
Chase Elliott, who lost control of the No. 9 Chevrolet with no one around him because of a tire failure, likely needs to win one of the last three races to earn a spot in the postseason. He raced for the title the last three years and won the Cup championship in 2020.
Last week at Richmond, Chris Buescher became the 12th playoff-eligible race winner this year and that left four playoff spots available with four races — including Michigan — remaining in the regular season.
Soon after Truex won the first stage, William Byron, who has four wins this year, hit a wall without any contact from another car to send another notable driver off the track.
Josh Berry, filling in for the suspended Noah Gragson in the No. 42 Chevrolet, had the fourth accident in the first 50 laps of the caution-filled race.
Corey Lajoie and Blaney later bumped each other on the track while jockeying for position side by side and had a tense conversation about it on pit row.
With spots in the playoffs at stake, tensions will likely run high again on Monday afternoon.
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing