Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
Odds & Ends - Michigan
Michigan International Speedway Data
Race #: 23 of 36 (08-19-12)
Track Size: 2-miles
Banking/Corners: 18 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Race Length: 200 laps / 400 miles
Top 12 Driver Rating at Michigan
Greg Biffle 108.1
Matt Kenseth 105.4
Jimmie Johnson 105.0
Carl Edwards 104.7
Tony Stewart 98.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 97.2
Jeff Gordon 96.7
Denny Hamlin 94.3
Kyle Busch 94.0
Kurt Busch 91.7
Kasey Kahne 86.4
Mark Martin 86.3
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2012 races (15 total) at Michigan International Speedway.
2011 pole winner: Greg Biffle, Ford (190.345 mph, 37.826 sec., 08-19-11)
2011 race winner: Kyle Busch, Toyota (150.898 mph, 2:41:26, 08-21-11)
Track qualifying record: Marcos Ambrose, Ford (203.241 mph, 35.426 sec., 06-17-12)
Track race record: Dale Jarrett, Ford (173.997 mph, 2:17:56, 08-13-99)
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
Driver Highlights - Michigan
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
-- Two wins, eight top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 12.4
-- Series-best Average Running Position of 8.3
-- Series-best Driver Rating of 108.1
-- 240 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
-- Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 175.344 mph
-- Series-high 2,503 Laps in the Top 15 (85.2%)
-- 692 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), second-most
Kurt Busch (No. 51 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet)
-- Two wins, three top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 21.0
-- Average Running Position of 14.5, 10th-best
-- Driver Rating of 91.7, 10th-best
-- 138 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
-- 1,922 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%), ninth-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota)
-- One win, three top fives, five top 10s
-- Average finish of 16.6
-- Average Running Position of 14.1, ninth-best
-- Driver Rating of 94.0, ninth-best
-- 135 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
-- 2,014 Laps in the Top 15 (68.6%), seventh-most
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet)
-- Two wins, five top fives, nine top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 15.2
-- Average Running Position of 12.5, seventh-best
-- Driver Rating of 97.2, sixth-best
-- 158 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
-- 1,203 Green Flag Passes, third-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 174.842 mph, seventh-fastest
-- 1,949 Laps in the Top 15 (66.3%), eighth-most
-- 637 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Geek Squad Ford)
-- Two wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
-- Average finish of 8.4
-- Average Running Position of 10.4, fourth-best
-- Driver Rating of 104.7, fourth-best
-- 178 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
-- 1,054 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 175.185 mph, fourth-fastest
-- 2,391 Laps in the Top 15 (81.4%), second-most
-- Series-high 723 Quality Passes
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet)
-- Two wins, 18 top fives, 25 top 10s; five poles
-- Average finish of 11.3
-- Average Running Position of 12.0, sixth-best
-- Driver Rating of 96.7, seventh-best
-- 159 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 174.846 mph, sixth-fastest
-- 2,028 Laps in the Top 15 (69.0%), sixth-most
-- 552 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota)
-- Two wins, five top fives, seven top 10s
-- Average finish of 13.8
-- Average Running Position of 12.7, eighth-best
-- Driver Rating of 94.3, eighth-best
-- 95 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 174.765 mph, eighth-fastest
-- 1,731 Laps in the Top 15 (68.2%), 11th-most
-- 557 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)
-- Four top fives, nine top 10s
-- Average finish of 14.7
-- Average Running Position of 10.3, second-best
-- Driver Rating of 105.0, third-best
-- Series-high 293 Fastest Laps Run
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 175.314 mph, second-fastest
-- 2,237 Laps in the Top 15 (76.1%), fourth-most
-- 560 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)
-- One win, six top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 16.5
-- Average Running Position of 15.8, 12th-best
-- Driver Rating of 86.4, 12th-best
-- 117 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
-- 1,114 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
-- 540 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Ford 5th/3rd Bank Ford)
-- Two wins, 12 top fives, 17 top 10s
-- Average finish of 9.3
-- Average Running Position of 10.4, third-best
-- Driver Rating of 105.4, second-best
-- 148 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
-- 1,041 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 175.199 mph, third-fastest
-- 2,377 Laps in the Top 15 (80.9%), third-most
-- 673 Quality Passes, third-most
Mark Martin (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota)
-- Five wins, 18 top fives, 31 top 10s
-- Average finish of 13.6
-- Average Running Position of 14.7, 11th-best
-- Driver Rating of 86.3, 13th-best
-- 87 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
-- One win, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s
-- Average finish of 11.2
-- Average Running Position of 11.9, fifth-best
-- Driver Rating of 98.6, fifth-best
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 174.949 mph, fifth-fastest
-- 2,230 Laps in the Top 15 (75.9%), fifth-most
-- 635 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
2012 Pure Michigan 400 Storylines
Jimmie Johnson is the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader – and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Johnson, topping the standings for the ninth consecutive season, is among four drivers who can lock up a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
Marcos Ambrose did it again at Watkins Glen International and became the sixth winner ranked 11th through 20th to toss his helmet into the Chase “wild card” ring. Kasey Kahne remains the provisional leader but two-time Michigan winner Ryan Newman displaced Jeff Gordon in the No. 2 “wild card” spot with four races remaining in the regular season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke a four-year, 143-race drought when the series visited Michigan International Speedway in June. Drivers currently ranked among the top 10 had solid finishes. Seven placed among the top 10, the current top four in the top five.
One week after Carl Edwards made his 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series debut a winning one at Watkins Glen International, competitors go road racing again – but this time north of the border at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Edwards won’t be there but Canadian international star and 2008 winner Ron
Fellows will be at the controls of JR Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet.
Among the Canadian entrants joining Fellows are Patrick Carpentier, Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Tagliani. Elliott Sadler continues to lead the standings by 13 points over reigning NNS champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with Glen Coors Light Pole winner Sam Hornish Jr. ranked third.
Act 2 – the season’s second half – begins on Saturday for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The championship picture remains wide open with 35 points separating leader Timothy Peters from sixth-place Parker Kligerman. The gap at the top is even closer: Peters by eight over runner up Ty Dillon.
At least one title contender will debut in a new ride. Kligerman joins Peters and two-time series champion Todd Bodine at Red Horse Racing after driving in the year’s first 11 races for Brad Keselowski Racing.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
‘Five-Time’ Tops Standings For Ninth Straight Year
A third-place finish at Watkins Glen International has placed Jimmie Johnson in the championship lead for the ninth consecutive season, marking the longest streak since the current position-based points structure went into effect in 1975. Johnson was 37th in the standings following a 42nd-place finish in February’s Daytona 500. He last led the points nearly one year ago following the Sept. 6 Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson, Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski remain the top contenders for the No. 1 seed for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. Each has three victories worth nine bonus points that would be added to a base of 2,000 points when the standings are reset following the Sept. 8 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Top Four Drivers Can Clinch ‘Chase’ Berths In Michigan
Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 gives four competitors the opportunity to clinch a top-10 spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. The current top four in NASCAR Sprint Cup standings – Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – can lock themselves into the post season by leaving Michigan with a lead of at least 145 points over the 11th-place driver with three races remaining in the Race to the Chase. Biffle, who trails Johnson by a single point, is the only one of the four failing to make the Chase a year ago.
Johnson can also lock up at least a Wild Card berth win a win on Sunday – which could prove a tall task. Michigan is one of five active NSCS tracks at which Johnson has yet to win (Watkins Glen, Chicagoland, Homestead and Kentucky are the others). Brad Keselowski, who like Johnson has three wins, could mathematically lock up at least a Wild Card spot with a win, but only if Ryan Newman scores four points or less at Michigan. Tony Stewart, though he also has three wins, cannot officially lock up a Wild Card spot with a win.
Ambrose Boosts ‘Wild Card’ Derby To Six Winners
At least six different winners will battle for two “wild card” spots in the Chase over the four races remaining in the Race to the Chase. Marcos Ambrose, who won the Coors Light Pole at Michigan in June with a speed of 203.241 mph, added his name to the “wild card” derby by posting his second consecutive victory at Watkins Glen International. Kasey Kahne (11th in points) and Ryan Newman (13th) are provisional holders of the two “wild card” spots. Kahne won Michigan’s spring race in 2006. Newman is a two-time Michigan winner. Kyle Busch (14th), Jeff Gordon (15th), Ambrose (17th) and Joey Logano (18th) are remaining winners ranked 11th through 20th. Gordon has two Michigan wins; Busch one.
Earnhardt Looks For Win No. 3 At Michigan
Michigan was a drought-buster for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in June as the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet snapped a winless streak of 143 races. Earnhardt is one of four drivers ranked in the top 10 entering Sunday’s race with multiple victories at the 2.0-mile superspeedway. Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin also have two victories apiece. Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart has won once as has Kevin Harvick, one of two drivers among the top 10 still winless this season.
Seven members of the current top 10 posted top-10 finishing positions in Michigan’s June race. Hamlin, winner in two of his past five Michigan starts, was 34th, the only top-10 member finishing worse than 13th. Hamlin slipped to 10th in points at Watkins Glen and has five finishes of 25th or worse since the series visited Michigan’s Irish Hills earlier this season.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Etc.
Mark Martin’s five wins are the most at Michigan by an entered driver. Martin, driver of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, last won in June 2009. … Ambrose’s Watkins Glen victory broke Ford’s 14-race winless streak that followed Greg Biffle’s April 14 trip to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway. Ambrose is the season’s 14th different winner and ninth consecutive different winner. … Richard Petty Motorsports is the seventh different organization to post a victory in 2012. … The Wood Brothers and Roush Fenway Racing share the most victories by an owner (11) at Michigan International Speedway. RFR’s Carl Edwards won the track’s August race in 2008. The Woods last won in 1991 with Dale Jarrett. … Brad Keselowski’s fifth-place ranking is best by the Rochester Hills, Mich. native during the regular season. Keselowski, second at The Glen, finished fifth in last year’s final standings after qualifying for the Chase as a “wild card.”
NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES
Montreal: History Proves it’s One of the most Exciting Races of the Season
In its short, five-year history the NASCAR Nationwide Series stop at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has become one of the most anticipated and unpredictable races on the schedule. The inaugural event in 2007 had three drivers doing burnouts on the frontstretch after the race with only one taking home the coveted trophy. The following year, Canadian Ron Fellows won the race in historic fashion as NASCAR ran its first points race in the rain. The excitement continued in 2009 with Carl Edwards taking home the victory.
The race started in dry conditions, then a switch to rain tires before a finish on a dry track that featured Edwards clearing Marcos Ambrose on the final turn of the last lap. The next year provided an even closer finish with Boris Said edging Max Papis in a photo finish for his second national series win with a margin of victory of just .012 seconds in 2010.In 2011, Marcos Ambrose took home the victory after vowing earlier that year that he would keep returning to Montreal until he won.
Who will take home bragging rights in the series last road course race of the season? Buckle up because if the past foreshadows the future we are in for a ride.
Bragging Rights on the Line for Canadian Drivers
Ron Fellows is back for his third and final NASCAR Nationwide race this season with JR Motorsports to defend his victory at Montreal in 2008. He is the only former winner entered in the Napa 200. However, he will have a full field of fellow Canadian drivers looking to take over bragging rights. Among the Canadian entrants joining Fellows are Patrick Carpentier, Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Tagliani.
More To Watch:
Standings leader Elliott Sadler leads the charge for series regulars followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-13), Sam Hornish Jr. (-24), Austin Dillon (-29) and Justin Allgaier (-74). Stenhouse earned his first top-five finish at a road course last weekend at Watkins Glen. Hornish – who won his first NNS pole last weekend- is the only driver inside the top five in the series standings to score top-five finishes at both Road America and Watkins Glen.
Danica Patrick returns to the site of her stock car debut (on a road course) at Montreal. She had a solid run at Road America in June before a late race spin resulted in a 12th-place finish. Double-duty drivers include Hornish and Kyle Busch, still looking to score his NNS first victory in his own equipment for Kyle Busch Motorsports
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
Pure Michigan 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
We’ve got four races remaining until NASCAR's Chase for the Championship begins with a couple good battles going on to be one of the final 12 drivers. Jeff Gordon dropped out of the 12th position last week with Ryan Newman holding the final position among drivers that have one win. Kyle Busch is only six points behind Newman, but missed a golden opportunity last week at Watkins Glen to get his second win of the season. He leading on the last lap, but held on to finish seventh.
Carl Edwards has more points than Newman, Busch and Gordon, but doesn’t have a win on the year and isn’t in the top-10 in points. His only chance to make it is by winning one of these next four races. Joey Logano and Marcos Ambrose each have one win and could make the Chase by winning one of these next four races.
We should be in for a treat this week at Michigan, not only because of all the Chase implications making a few drivers a little more aggressive, but because it’s the site of where Dale Earnhardt Jr ended his 144 race winless streak. The June race actually turned out to be one of the more memorable of the season. The Junior storyline was huge, but the newly resurfaced track created great racing at speeds never seen before on the track by stock cars.
Between the test and practice sessions prior to the race, it was kind of easy to tell Junior had his best chance at finally winning. Now that’s he’s got that monkey off his back, all he’s trying to do now is win and gain bonus points for the Chase. The seeding for the Chase is determined by how many wins a driver has on the year. Junior has only one, but he's coming in this week as one of the favorites, something we rarely say about him and considering he's using the same car from June, the favorite status is warranted.
"The track has always been fun for me," Earnhardt Jr. said earlier this week. "It's really wide and up until they repaved it, you really used the whole racetrack in the corner. That's perfect -- you can't ask for any better situation than when cars go through the corner and everybody is sort of using a different line. That's what you want. I think over time the surface will age, and we'll get back to widening up the surface quite a bit. It has the characteristics as far as the way the corners are banked and the way the corners are laid out to widen back out again and be the great racetrack it's always been. So I really enjoy it. Even had I not won any races there, it's just a really fun track."
Jimmie Johnson took the points lead away from Junior last week, but comes to Michigan with it being one of five tracks on the circuit that he’s never won at. There’s no way to explain it. He’s one of the best at the sister track of California, but can’t seem to get it done at Michigan. He was runner-up in last fall and finished fifth in June.
“We had a really strong car there (at the June race) and I’m excited to go back," said Johnson, who will be using that same Michigan chassis this week, a car that also won the All-Star race. "Late in the race, I was running down the leaders and I blistered a right-rear tire. But, I understand that a great tire test took place at the track recently and they didn’t see any issues. So I feel like things are fixed and I’m looking forward to going back because I know we’re going to be strong. The way we’ve been running on the ovals, and also with our performance at Michigan in June, even though we blistered a tire, I really feel like I can win there and make that list one shorter for the tracks we haven’t won on. I really feel this is our best chance ever.”
Like Junior, Johnson is just trying to accumulate more wins for the Chase. He’s currently tied with Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski for the most wins with three each.
Carl Edwards has two career wins at Michigan and on paper, should have his best chance of winning among the four tracks remaining until the Chase. He is one of only two drivers to average a top-10 finish (8.3) throughout his career at Michigan. But based on his performances on horsepower tracks this season, Edwards doesn't look so good this week.
The two other Roush Racing drivers also fare very well at Michigan. Unlike Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth were both strong in Michigan testing and practices and each finished with top-5's. Kenseth is the other driver to average a top-10 finish (9.2) in his career at Michigan. As a car owner, Jack Roush has won 11 races at Michigan which ties him for the all-time track lead with the Wood Brothers.
Biffle finished fourth in June at Michigan and has two wins on the 2-mile track over his career and is feeling pretty confident about his chances Sunday.
“We had a really good test at Michigan after Indy and based on how we ran there earlier this year I’m definitely excited about going to Michigan," said Biffle, who will be using his third-place Brickyard chassis this week. "Michigan is home to Roush Industries and Ford, so it’s always fun to race there. We’ll try and get our 3M Ford back in victory lane.”
It’s been a long time since Tony Stewart won at Michigan (2000), but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t performed well. Over his last 20 starts he’s finished with an average of ninth-place, including runner-up on the new fast version of the track in June.
Another star performer from the June test and practice sessions was Mark Martin. He finished 29th in the race, but only Junior was rated higher than him prior to the race. He’ll be fast again this week.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #14 Tony Stewart (10/1)
2) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
3) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr (10/1)
4) #16 Greg Biffle (10/1)
5) #5 Mark Martin (15/1)
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Michigan
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Who's HOT at Michigan
• Tony Stewart has finished ninth or better in his last five starts.
• Two-time winner Carl Edwards leads all drivers with an 8.4 average finish.
• Two-time winner Matt Kenseth has only finished outside of the top 15 three times in 26 starts.
• Two-time winner winner Greg Biffle has the best driver rating in the last 15 races.
• June winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the fourth-best average finish (11.5) in the last 10 races among drivers entered in this weekend's race.
• Five-time winner Mark Martin leads all drivers with 31 top 10s.
• Kyle Busch has finished in the top three in two of his last three starts, including a win in this event last year.
• Jeff Gordon has finished sixth or better in five of his last seven starts.
• Clint Bowyer is coming off his third consecutive top 10 after recording a seventh-place finish in his first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing.
• Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in five of his last seven starts, including two wins.
Keep an Eye On at Michigan
• Kevin Harvick (7.0), Jimmie Johnson (7.5), Martin Truex Jr. (10.0) and Ryan Newman (11.0) are among the drivers ranked in the top 10 in average finish in the two races contested at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan) this season.
• Kasey Kahne, who involved in an accident in hist first Michigan start with Hendrick Motorsports in June, has recorded an average finish of 7.0 in the last five races of the season.
• Marcos Ambrose, last week's winner at Watkins Glen, is coming off his first top 10 at Michigan in eight starts after winning the pole.
• Juan Pablo Montoya finished eighth in June for his second top 10 in his last four starts at Michigan.
• Brad Keselowski, who scored his only top 10 (third) at Michigan last year in this event, will return in the same car he finished fifth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Greg Biffle
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Ricky Hamber: Kyle Busch
John Singler: Denny Hamlin
Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Michigan unless noted)
Jimmie Johnson: 3.5 average finish in last two starts; Runner-up in this event last year is best in 21 starts; Sixth-best average finish (9.2) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 720) that he finished fifth with at MIS in June.
Greg Biffle: Coming off eighth top five (fourth) in 19 starts; Last of two wins came in the 2005 June race; Has combined to lead 258 laps in last four starts; 11.2 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 817) that he finished third with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month.
Matt Kenseth: Has finished in the top 10 in the last four races; Third-place finish in June is 12th top five in 26 starts; Last of two wins came in this event in 2006; Second-best average finish (7.0) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 787) that he finished third with in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: Won the June race after leading 95 laps; Win was second in nine starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Tied for the seventh-best average finish (10.2) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 716) he took to Victory Lane at MIS in June.
Brad Keselowski: Third-place finish in this event last year is only top 10 in six starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 826) that he finished fifth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.
Martin Truex Jr: 16.4 average finish in five starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Has posted a 17.2 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
Clint Bowyer: Finished seventh in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in June; Finish was third consecutive top 10; 17.5 average finish in 13 starts; Fifth-best average finish (8.6) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 727) that he raced at MIS in June.
Tony Stewart: Has finished ninth or better in last five starts; Second-place finish in June was 11th top five in 27 starts; Best average finish (6.4) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 706) that he races at MIS in June and won with at Auto Club Speedway in March.
Kevin Harvick: Coming off eighth top 10 (10th) in 23 starts; Won this event in 2010; 11.8 average finish in last four starts; Tied for the seventh-best average finish (10.2) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 381) that he finished 11th with at Kentucky Speedway in June.
Denny Hamlin: Has finished in the top 10 in five of his last seven starts; Accident in June snapped two-race win streak in that event; 34.5 average finish in last two starts; 13.8 average finish and 148 laps led in 13 overall starts.
Kasey Kahne: Finished 33rd (accident) in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in June; Finished seventh in this event last year for seventh top 10 in 17 starts; Won the 2006 June event with Evernham Motorsports; 18.2 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 729) that he raced at Pocono Raceway in June where a cut tire sent him to the garage while running in the top 10.
Carl Edwards: Two-time winner; Leads all drivers with 8.4 average finish; Has finished in the top five in five of his last eight starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 739) that he finished fifth with at Las Motor Speedway.
Ryan Newman: 8.7 average finish in last three starts; 17.0 average finish in seven starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Scored two wins in previous 15 starts with Penske Racing; Third-best average finish (7.6) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 733) that he finished seventh with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month.
Kyle Busch: Defending race winner; 32nd-place finish in June snapped streak of consecutive top-three finishes; 16.6 average finish in 15 starts; Second in laps led (80) in the two races this season at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Fourth-best average finish (8.2) in the last five races at 2-mile speedways.
Jeff Gordon: Coming off consecutive sixth-place finishes; 11.3 average finish in 39 starts; Last of two wins came in the 2001 June race; 14.6 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
Paul Menard: 17.3 average finish in three starts with Richard Childress Racing; Fourth-place finish in the 2011 June race is only top 10 in 12 starts; 17.4 average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 397) that he finished 22nd with at MIS in June.
Marcos Ambrose: Won the pole and finished ninth in June; 24.8 average finish in eight starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 784) that he raced at MIS in June.
Joey Logano: 18.0 average finish in seven starts; Last of three top 10s came in this event in 2010; Has yet to lead a lap.
Jeff Burton: Last of nine top 10s came in the 2010 June race; 16.5 average finish in 37 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 367) that he finished 15th with at Pocono Raceway in June.
Jamie McMurray: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in five starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Last of four top 10s came in this event in 2008; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1208) that he finished 14th with at MIS in June.
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
Pure Michigan 400 Preview
By Greg Engle
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had a frustrating few weeks. After climbing to the top of the point standings, Earnhardt finished outside the lead lap at Watkins Glen and Pocono; this after finishing on the lead lap in the season’s first 20 races.
Last week at the Glen Earnhardt was on his way to a top 10 finish, something that would have been quite an accomplishment considering his record on road courses, but a late race mistake cost him; he came home off the lead lap and out of the points lead after only two weeks.
Earnhardt and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series head back for the second stop of the season at Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. For Earnhardt it’s an excellent chance to overcome the past weeks frustrations.
In June Earnhardt broke a four year, 143 race winless streak charging to victory here. Earnhardt wants to repeat that victory lane trip and plans to be aggressive Sunday.
“The track has always been fun for me. Even had I not won any races there, it’s just a really fun track,” said Earnhardt. “That’s the kind of race track you hope and pray to build. I think over time the surface will age and we’ll get back to widening up the surface quite a bit.”
With a Chase berth all but locked up, Earnhardt now wants to add race wins to gather the all important bonus points.
“On the way to getting that done, you want to win more races and we were really conservative all year long,” he said. “We feel like that in the position we are in now, we can gamble a lot more.”
Like Earnhardt, Denny Hamlin had a less than memorable finish at the Glen last week. Unlike Earnhardt, Hamlin is far from locked into the Chase. He’s tenth in the standings barely clinging to a spot in the Chase. But Hamlin has won two of the last five races here. In last year’s race, Hamlin suffered mechanical woes that left him laps down and he was caught up in a crash in the June race and will be looking for redemption this week. If Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs team can keep it together, Hamlin should shine Sunday.
Hamlin’s teammate at JGR, Kyle Busch was dominant for most of the race last week at the Glen. He wasn’t able to seal the deal however and lost in the closing laps. He’s the defending winner of this race, but he too had a terrible finish here in June. Busch however is looking to overcome that past adversity and could do so Sunday.
Tony Stewart is also coming off a rotten finish at the Glen. He was second here in June and could easily break a winless streak at Michigan dating back to 2000 Sunday.
Keep an eye on: Matt Kenseth and his Roush-Fenway teammate Greg Biffle finished third and fourth here in June. Once a force here, Fords have not won at Michigan since 2008. Any one of Jack Roush’s cars, including Carl Edwards, could take the checkered flag.
Party Crasher: Michigan is one of five active tracks that Jimmie Johnson has yet to win at (the others are Watkins Glen, Chicagoland, Homestead and Kentucky). Johnson was second in this race last year and fifth in June. With the momentum he and his Hendrick Motorsports team has been on of late, it would be no surprise if Johnson checks MIS off his winless record Sunday.
“We had a really strong car there (at the June race) and I’m excited to go back,” Johnson said. “Late in the race I was running down the leaders and I blistered a right rear tire. But, I understand that a great tire test took place at the track recently and they didn’t see any issues. So I feel like things are fixed and I’m looking forward to going back because I know we’re going to be strong. The way we’ve been running on the ovals and also with our performance at Michigan in the spring, even though we blistered a tire, I really feel like I can win there and make that list one shorter for the tracks we haven’t won on. I really feel this is our best chance ever.”
Bottom Line: 66 of 86 races have been won from a top-10 starting position, including 46 from the first four spots.
The deepest in the field a race winner has started was 32nd, by Mark Martin in the June race of 2009.
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
2012 Pure Michigan Driver Odds & Ends
DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON MICHIGAN: "The track has always been fun for me. It's really wide and up until they repaved it, you really used the whole racetrack in the corner. That's perfect -- you can't ask for any better situation than when cars go through the corner and everybody is sort of using a different line. That's what you want. I think over time the surface will age, and we'll get back to widening up the surface quite a bit. It has the characteristics as far as the way the corners are banked and the way the corners are laid out to widen back out again and be the great racetrack it's always been. So I really enjoy it. Even had I not won any races there, it's just a really fun track."
EARNHARDT JR. CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to Victory Lane at Michigan in June.
JIMMIE JOHNSON MICHIGAN: “We had a really strong car there (at the June race) and I’m excited to go back. Late in the race, I was running down the leaders and I blistered a right-rear tire. But, I understand that a great tire test took place at the track recently and they didn’t see any issues. So I feel like things are fixed and I’m looking forward to going back because I know we’re going to be strong. The way we’ve been running on the ovals, and also with our performance at Michigan in June, even though we blistered a tire, I really feel like I can win there and make that list one shorter for the tracks we haven’t won on. I really feel this is our best chance ever.”
JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 720 serves as the primary for Johnson at Michigan. This is the same chassis Johnson drove to a fifth-place finish at Michigan in June and won the All-Star race with in May. Chassis No. 669 serves as the backup.
TONY STEWART ON MICHIGAN: “Once it cleaned off, it seemed like the track got to be pretty good. It was still a relatively one-groove track, but it got better as the weekend went on. Hopefully, the racetrack will continue on that path and continue to widen out. It was a lot racier than I thought it would be, right off the bat, so I’m anticipating it’s going to be even better when we get back on it this weekend.”
STEWART CHASSIS CHOICE: This car debuted in spectacular fashion in March at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., as Stewart took Chassis No. 14-706 from its ninth-place starting spot to lead twice for 42 laps en route to the win in the rain-shortened race. Prior to Fontana, the car spent numerous hours in the wind tunnel. It is a clone to Chassis No. 14-640, which won round three at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 14-706’s second start, in April at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., was a bit quieter than its debut race. It started 23rd and gained 10 spots to finish 13th. Its third start came in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ longest race – the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. There, Stewart qualified 21st and finished 25th as Chassis No. 14-706 proved to be a handful throughout the 400-lap contest. The car redeemed itself in its fourth and most recent start in June at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where Stewart qualified eighth, led 18 laps and finished second. Chassis No. 14-706 has sat idle since, and it will return to Michigan for its fifth career start via Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
KEVIN HARVICK ON MICHIGAN: “We didn’t have the best race. We practiced really well during the weekend and were able to figure things out on the first tire, but when they changed the (left-side) tires and we weren’t quite as good. We had a few problems at the beginning of the race and had to make up ground all day. Our car was fast enough to make up ground and do the things we needed to do to get back into the top 10, but we still need to be better.”
HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 381 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Pure Michigan 400. Harvick drove this Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in July and a 13th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April of 2011. It was also driven earlier this season by Brendan Gaughan at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March as a No. 33 RCR Sprint Cup Series entry.
KASEY KAHNE ON MICHIGAN: “I’ve always liked Michigan because you could race anywhere on the track. The repaving made the groove a lot narrower. When it gets wider again, it will be a great race with a lot of speed and a lot of room to drive.”
KAHNE CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-729 for Sunday's race at Pocono. Kahne raced this car into the top 10 at Pocono Raceway in June before a cut tire sent him to the garage.
RYAN NEWMAN ON MICHIGAN: “I still don’t think that you have a 100 percent answer. They thought they had a 100 percent answer in the first test. The conditions can be so different in Michigan. It can be hot. That was the problem with the tire that we had – even when it got hotter, it got faster. The rubber liked to be on rubber. As the rubber laid down, the track got wider and everything was great except for the fact that the tire didn’t have the durability to go along with it. So hopefully we’ll be in a much better position with the reduced grip with the left-side tire. Basically they just went back with the same tire with a more modern construction, something that didn’t come out of the warehouse and give us the opportunity to know that the tires are new and not old tires and the consistency is going to be 100 percent as we hoped that they would be.”
NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 39-733: It's been two starts and two top-10 finishes for Chassis No. 39-733 since making its debut at IndianapolisMotor Speedway in July. At Indianapolis, Newman and his team overcame an ill-handling racecar and used quick pit work to help engineer a run into the top-10. The crew turned the car around in just a couple of days and took Chassis No. 39-733 to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway the following weekend. There, Newman ran in the top-10 for most of the rain-shortened race and finished sixth. Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn will mark the third start in four weeks for Chassis No. 39-733.
JEFF GORDON ON MICHIGAN: My wife (Ingrid Vandebosch) has given me things and my daughter (Ella) has given me things to put in the car for luck. Even fans have sent in things to the team. But I think when I won at Pocono it was the first time in quite a while that I did not have some sort of good luck charm in the car. So far, my theory holds true. It’s not about luck and good luck charms; it’s about going out there and performing and doing what you have to do as a team.”
“We were pretty solid here (Michigan International Speedway) in June and (Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt) Junior won, so we can certainly carry a lot over from that race. We also did the tire test here at the end of July. That test didn’t go spectacularly well for us, but we knew it was just more of a test to try and learn things.”
“We have to qualify better. Track position can play a huge role during the race, so it’s better to have early than to fight for it all race long. Right now, qualifying is a priority for us.”
PAUL MENARD ON MICHIGAN: “We ran out of fuel on the last lap and that cost us seven positions. We ran between 10th and 15th all day. We felt really good about the car after testing and practice and then Goodyear changed the left-side tires. We had a hard time figuring out the balance of the car with the new tires, so that put us behind for the race. We did not have a good practice on those left-side tires. When the race started we made some good adjustments and the car was competitive. I felt like at the worst we were going to finish 14th, but I think we could have gotten a top-10 finish.”
MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Menard will pilot Chassis No. 397 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2012 competition, this No. 27 Chevrolet was utilized for the first time at MIS in June, where Menard started from the 18th position and finished 22nd.
JEFF BURTON ON MICHIGAN: “It was a lot of fun. The speed was really cool. It felt like a brand new track with the new pavement. After going to certain race tracks for so long, it is cool when they change them because it brings something new. The speed was fast, but until you looked at the speed charts, you didn’t know you were going that fast because the pavement allows you to run that speed.
“I think we’ve started to move in the right direction. We went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and didn’t get the finish we deserved because we had a mechanical failure. We ran much better at Pocono Raceway earlier this month also, but still didn’t get the finish we deserved. We made a lot of changes in the way we are doing stuff and things certainly seem to be picking up.”
BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Burton will race chassis No. 367 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built new for the 2012 season, has been utilized twice this year at Kansas Speedway in April (started-12th, finished-22nd) and Pocono Raceway in June (started-20th, finished-15th).
JAMIE MCMURRAY ON MICHIGAN: “I am looking forward to going back to Michigan. It was incredible how smooth and fast the track was for the first race on the new surface in June. We had a decent car there and had a top-15 finish, but we know that we can be better. We tested in Nashville this week to try a few things take back to Michigan. The guys on this Bass Pro Shops team have been working hard and putting in lots of extra hours to make this team better and we are looking forward to seeing all of that effort pay-off.”
McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Kevin "Bono" Manion and the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Mercury team will race Chassis #1208 at Michigan. Chassis #1208 has raced at Las Vegas, finishing eighth; Kansas, finishing 14th; the Coca-Cola 600, finishing 21st and this season at Michigan, finishing 14th.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA ON MICHIGAN: "We were good at the Michigan race this last time around. Plus the Target team has gone there twice for a tire test and we felt like we were very good there. There’s a harder tire now so you’ve got to work on the car a little bit. But we feel like we’ve had decent speed there. Michigan was typically one of those tracks we never ran good at and now, with the new track surface, I feel like we have a legitimate shot at running up front and staying up there.”
MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Chris "Shine" Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will return to Michigan with Chassis #1209 after finishing eighth with this chassis earlier this season. Chassis #1209 also raced at Fontana, Calif. finishing 17th.
REGAN SMITH ON MICHIGAN: “We’ve had a good run the past three races, especially scoring a top-10 on the Watkins Glen road course. We’re a different team and credit goes to our crew chief Todd Berrier. We’ve been unloading the car with more speed and not playing catch-up all weekend. While I am excited about how we performed the past three weeks, I am really looking forward to Michigan this weekend. We had a great test there a few weeks ago. In fact, we packed up early at the test because we were dialed in. I would be awfully disappointed if we didn’t come away with another top-10 or better finish at Michigan in our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet.”
KURT BUSCH ON MICHIGAN: “Well we learned it was fast. I’m sure it will be more of the same this time around but the unknown for us a little bit is the tire. We weren’t able to do the tire test there after Indianapolis just for the simple reason of not having enough manpower. We felt like we were in good shape going into the race there in June but we made some changes that just sent us to the back. So we did learn some things about what not to do and hopefully that will be enough to help us. We are taking a great car with us this weekend. It’s the same car we ran in the top-five with at Kansas in the spring so hopefully between that and what we learned in June we’ll be in a competitive position this weekend.”
BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend’s Pure Michigan 400 will be the fourth race of the 2012 season for this chassis. This is the same car the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team competed with at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in late April. Busch qualified 14th and competed in the top-five for the majority of the race before an engine problem in the closing laps relegated the team to a 17th-place finish. The chassis was also used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, when Busch earned a season-best starting position of 12th and competed in the top-10 during the early portion of the race. Pit-road issues and an eventual accident resulted in a 35th-place finish. The car was built in 2011 and was used only once last season – the June race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where driver Landon Cassill scored a 12th-place finish after starting 12th.
MATT KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: “With the repave this year at Michigan, there still is a lot that we’re learning in regards to our set-ups. We were able to go up for aGoodyear tire test at the end of July and got a few more laps under our belt on the new surface which always helps. Michigan is one of my favorite tracks during the season and I always look forward to going there since it’s in the Midwest. Racing at Michigan is always a big weekend for us since it’s the headquarters for Roush Industries and Ford Motor Company, so we’ll look to have another strong run in our Fifth Third Ford.”
KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-787 (last run in the All-Star race)
GREG BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-817: Last ran Indianapolis - finished third; Backup: RK-786: Last ran Homestead - finished 35th
CARL EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: RK-739 Last ran Las Vegas, finished fifth
ARIC ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The team has prepared chassis No. 783 for the Michigan race. This Eckrich Ford was last on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.
MARCOS AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 784 for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Michigan International Speedway. This is the same Stanley Ford that Ambrose drove to the pole in the June visit to Michigan.
CLINT BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary chassis No. 727 has raced three times in 2012. It started 11th and finished 13 at Fontana, started 26th and finished 11th at Darlington and started 13th and finished seventh with a lap lead at first Michigan. Backup chassis No. 721 has served backup duty at multiple races, but has not raced. It served as the backup at Las Vegas, Fontana, Texas, Kansas, Darlington, All-Star, Charlotte, both races at Pocono and Michigan. Chassis No. 721 tested Pocono on June 6 and Michigan on June 14.
SAM HORNISH CHASSIS CHOICE: Hornish and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be utilizing their "PRS-825" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Michigan. This is the same car that AJ Allmendinger raced in the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The car was credited with an 11th-place start and 33rd-place finish after a broken hub spoiled a potentially strong run. The "PRS-819" chassis will serve as the backup Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for this weekend. This was the car that AJ Allmendinger drove to a second-place finish in the April Martinsville race.
BRAD KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-826 during Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Brad Keselowski last raced this chassis to a fifth-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. It has been updated to the current Penske Racing specification.
Re: Pure Michigan 400 Betting News and Notes
NASCAR Practice Notes & Driver Ratings
By Micah Roberts
Practice Notes - Michigan
Rating Driver Odds Practice 1 Qualified Practice 2 Practice 3
1 Greg Biffle 8/1 15th 13th 1st 1st
Notes: Two-time winner; only driver to top 200 mph during weekend; using third-place Pocono car.
2 Mark Martin 25/1 3rd 1st 4th 5th
Notes: Five-time winner, the last in 2009; great average speeds throughout Saturday sessions.
3 Matt Kenseth 8/1 21st 4th 7th 4th
Notes: Two-time winner; one of two drivers to average better than top-10 finish; using All-Star car.
4 Kasey Kahne 10/1 2nd 5th 2nd 6th
Notes: 2006 winner; fast in average speeds during practice indicating strength on long runs.
5 Tony Stewart 10/1 14th 14th 16th 7th
Notes: 2000 winner with a 9th-place average in past 20 starts; using runner-up chassis from June race.
6 Jimmie Johnson 5/1 1st 3rd 27th 2nd
Notes: No wins in 21 starts; engine change, starts from rear, but had fastest average speeds.
7 Carl Edwards 10/1 6th 2nd 3rd 8th
Notes: Two-time winner with track best 8.4 average finish; using fifth-place Las Vegas chassis.
8 Martin Truex Jr. 25/1 5th 7th 6th 13th
Notes: Two-time runner-up; one of six drivers to average over 195 mph in final practice session.
9 Kyle Busch 10/1 25th 23rd 9th DNP
Notes: 2011 winner; fastest 10-consecutive lap average; missed final practice to race in Montreal.
10 Clint Bowyer 30/1 11th 12th 17th 11th
Notes: Finished eighth or better in past three starts; one of six drivers to average 195 mph in practice 3.
* Note: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a top candidate to win at Michigan, as he did in June, but wrecked his primary car in the late stages of the final practice session. His back-up car finished third at Fontana, but got no laps during any of the three practices and will also start from the rear.
Betting Notes: Greg Biffle might have the fastest car on the track this weekend, but it looks like Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne may be the best overall when taking a closer look at average speeds. Jimmie Johnson was the best in that category, but the combination of never winning at Michigan and starting from the rear due to an engine change diminish his chances in my eyes. However, you won't find me even thinking about betting against Johnson in any matchup here.
Carl Edwards is also a driver that has a great shot at winning this week, something we haven't said in quite a while. Despite not being fast regularly on the big-fast tracks, he's still posted at odds of 10-to-1 this week, which doesn't make him very attractive. He hasn't won since Las Vegas in 2011, but he still has the best average finish at Michigan. His car owner has also won there 11 times as well.
Two drivers that should fare very well and be great looks in matchups are Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. The MWR team definitely has something working for them as all three look like candidates to win.
The best value on the board is Mark Martin. The driver no one is talking about that could make a major splash is Tony Stewart. And of course, there's Matt Kenseth who we kind of take for granted, but seems to always find himself inside the top-5 when every Michigan race is over.