It’s raceday in the Irish Hills of Michigan and here’s what you need to know.
Today, the NASCAR circus makes its second stop of the season at Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400. Today’s race will be the second race with the high-drag package. This is the same package that was used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway three weeks ago. It didn’t deliver the results NASCAR was expecting, but it should be better suited for the relatively high banked, wide sweeping turns of Michigan.
Basically what NASCAR is looking for with this package is pack racing. This is not going to be Daytona or Talladega pack racing. Truth be told, I don’t know what to expect. As such, I’m going into this race with low expectations.
From what I’ve seen in practice this week, the key to this race will be developing a lead foot and holding down the gas all the way around the two mile track. Passing for the lead will also be a hard part today. In the past, high downforce cars have created such a wake in the air that makes it easier to pass when multiple cars are in front of you. However, this same wake effect makes it harder to get around the leader who’s got clean air to give his car the best performance. If the leader is able to pull away from the field like they have in the past, this’ll probably be the last time we’ll see this package.
Matt Kenseth will lead the field to the green flag today. Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards will join him in the first three spots. Teammate Kyle Busch qualified sixth, but will start from the rear of the field after wrecking his car in final practice. Joining him will be Austin Dillon, who would’ve started fourth, after losing his engine in the final practice session. Defending race winner Jeff Gordon will start 21st in his 46th and final race at Michigan International Speedway.
I’ll be back after the race to give you a rundown of the Pure Michigan 400. Tomorrow, I’ll give you a more detailed summary of the race. I didn’t do it last Monday like I promised because we in the NASCAR world were paying respect to Buddy Baker who had died in the early hours of Monday morning.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the race.