Michigan International Speedway – Quicken Loans 400 Preview
Posted by: Candice Corrigan, follow @candicecorrigan
June 15, 2012
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2012
Location: Michigan International Speedway —Brooklyn, Mich.
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Distance: 200 laps/400 miles
Broadcast: TV- TNT with coverage beginning at noon ET
Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) or Sirius XM Channel 90
For the second weekend in a row, NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will attempt to master new grooves and moves on an unfamiliar track surface. While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been coming to Michigan International Speedway for 44 years, this Sunday will be much faster.
At Pocono last weekend, the track repave produced high speeds and ample racing action. This weekend, speeds have already exceeded 200 mph during practice for the Quicken Loans 400 on the 2-mile layout at MIS.
Drivers were given the opportunity to test their cars on Thursday and showed excitement, and a bit of nervousness, toward the new surface and speeds.
On a teleconference call, Brad Keselowski addressed comments that the speeds may be too fast. He said, “Well, to me, too fast is when we start flying in the grandstands,” said Keselowski. “Until then, it’s just a matter of how much pride you have and how much heart you have being a race car driver.”
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said after practice on Thursday that speeds may decrease as more cars take to the track and temperatures increase.
“With the cool temperatures (in the 60s) and the track conditions, we’re pretty sure these are the fastest speeds we are going to see at this track,” said Pemberton. “Once the track takes on more rubber and the temperatures go up (temperatures are expected to approach the 90-degree mark this weekend), you should see the speeds go down some.”
One of teams’ primary concerns with the faster speeds is tire wear. During practice on Friday, tire blistering was noticeable after just 15 laps on track. Goodyear’s Director of Race Tire Sales Greg Stucker said Friday that as more rubber is laid down on the track, Goodyear expects tire wear to decrease. “The blistering is definitely heat related,” Stucker said. “It’s aggravated by particular set-ups, that’s why we’re seeing it more predominantly in some people and not at all in others.”
So whose set-up will prevail this weekend? Mark Martin’s Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota has been quick so far, capturing the fastest speed in Thursday’s morning test session and Friday’s first practice. But will initial speed even be indicative of the race results?
Sunday’s race at MIS marks nearly four years since Dale Earnhardt Jr’s last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, which came at Michigan in June 2008. Could this be his weekend?
Statistics have little ground for predicting the outcome of this one until all 43 cars take to the track on Sunday. Fans should tune in as the uncertainty could produce some major points shakeups and a lot of racing action this Father’s Day weekend at MIS.
Posted: June 15th, 2012
Categories: Featured, Nascar Sprint Cup Series, Track News.
Tags: Brad Keselowski, Brian Pemberton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Goodyear, Mark Martin, Michigan, NASCAR, Quicken Loans, repave