Michigan International Speedway – Pure Michigan 400 Preview
Posted by: Candice Corrigan, follow @candicecorrigan
August 17, 2012
Date: Sunday, August 19, 2012
Location: Michigan International Speedway —Brooklyn, Mich.
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Distance: 200 laps/400 miles
Broadcast: TV- ESPN with coverage beginning at noon ET
Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) or Sirius XM Channel 90
The surface may still be new, but familiar faces continue to dominate the recently repaved Michigan International Speedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his way to Gatorade Victory Lane here in June, ending a nearly four-year winless streak. Today, veteran Mark Martin earned his fourth pole of the season for Sunday’s race in his 15th qualifying attempt of 2012.
“I am surprised. I am surprised,” Martin said. “I was surprised in 2009 at what we were able to accomplish, very similar kinds of things that we have accomplished this year. I was surprised in 2011 when we were not able to accomplish anything special and I was surprised again this year to be able to accomplish what we’ve been able to.”
Martin knows his success in qualifying today was no fluke, though. Martin was one of 27 drivers that participated in the Goodyear tire test at the end of July. Martin referred to his dominance at that test as just “crazy.”
“I feel good about it for multiple reasons, mostly because at the test it was absolutely insane how much faster we were than everybody else,” Martin said. “I wish the race was that day because you come back the next day and more times than not it’s not that way.”
The tire test at the end of June was scheduled after teams experienced problems with severe tire wear at the first race on the repaved surface. Goodyear switched out the left-side tires the day prior to that race because of blistering caused by the high speeds and heat of the new surface. For this race, Goodyear has brought a redesigned tire combination to combat tire blistering and shredding.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne both felt confident with the new tire in their interviews this afternoon. Kahne did mention concerns with the lack of racing groove the new surface offers.
“The biggest thing to me is just being able to move around,” Kahne said. “That first race it was about one-and-a half lanes that you could really get in and push your car and not have it jump into the gray or anything like that. Hopefully this race we will get at least two lanes, maybe even three, as time goes on.”
Speaking of time, it’s running out for the drivers that are still hoping to make their way into the Chase. Only three races remain until the Chase field is set at Richmond International Raceway on September 8.
Kahne and Ryan Newman have possession of the two “Wild Card” positions going into this weekend. But, four other drivers outside the top-10 have a single win so far and could quickly snatch one of the positions away – Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano. It’s still not too late for even more drivers to jump in the mix by earning a win.
Busch and Logano are two of the three Joe Gibbs Racing cars, all of which had problems in the June race at MIS. Logano won the Nationwide race the day prior and Busch is the defending winner of the Pure Michigan 400. A rebound for JGR would boost the confidence and positions of the teams.
Even with a new surface and better tires, don’t expect Sunday’s race to be all smooth sailing. Shark week may be coming to an end, but the Chase waters are still full of NASCAR’s “Card sharks.”
Complete Starting Order for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway
|1||55||Mark Martin||Toyota||Aaron’s Dream Machine||199.706||36.053||Leader|
|2||99||Carl Edwards||Ford||Geek Squad||198.626||36.249||-0.196|
|4||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Fifth Third Bank||198.183||36.330||-0.277|
|5||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||197.878||36.386||-0.333|
|6||21||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center||197.781||36.404||-0.351|
|7||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||197.650||36.428||-0.375|
|9||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||197.433||36.468||-0.415|
|10||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / Pittsburgh Paints||197.163||36.518||-0.465|
|11||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger / AARP||197.115||36.527||-0.474|
|12||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||197.012||36.546||-0.493|
|14||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Mobil 1 / Office Depot||196.877||36.571||-0.518|
|15||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Wix Filters||196.732||36.598||-0.545|
|16||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||196.501||36.641||-0.588|
|17||22||Parker Kligerman||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||196.249||36.688||-0.635|
|18||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||196.217||36.694||-0.641|
|19||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||196.180||36.701||-0.648|
|20||29||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Jimmy Johns||196.052||36.725||-0.672|
|21||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Office||195.956||36.743||-0.690|
|22||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||195.822||36.768||-0.715|
|23||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||Interstate Batteries||193.299||37.248||-1.195|
|24||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Mercury||193.268||37.254||-1.201|
|27||191||Reed Sorenson||Ford||Plinker Tactical||192.709||37.362||-1.309|
|30||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||192.539||37.395||-1.342|
|31||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Inception Motorsports||192.359||37.430||-1.377|
|33||119||Jason Leffler||Ford||Plinker Tactical||192.205||37.460||-1.407|
|34||26||Josh Wise*||Ford||MDS Transport||192.179||37.465||-1.412|
|35||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||192.118||37.477||-1.424|
|36||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Taco Bell||191.790||37.541||-1.488|
|37||34||David Ragan||Ford||Long John Silver’s||191.724||37.554||-1.501|
|38||23||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||189.943||37.906||-1.853|
|40||32||T.J. Bell+||Ford||Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome||185.118||38.894||-2.841|
|42||36||Dave Blaney+||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||-||-||-|
|43||98||Mike Skinner||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||189.939||37.907||-1.854|
Posted: August 17th, 2012
Categories: Featured, Nascar Sprint Cup Series, Results.
Tags: Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, kasey kahne, Kyle Busch, marcos ambrose, Mark Martin, Michigan International Raceway, NASCAR, Pure Michigan 400, Wild Card