NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – News & Notes – “Quicken Loans 400” – Michigan International Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
News & Notes
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Quicken Loans 400
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, June 14
The Time: 1 p.m. (ET)
TV: FOX Sports 1, 11:30 a.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90
Distance: 400 miles (200 laps)
Truex Triumphs At Pocono, Carries Momentum To Michigan
Martin Truex Jr. finally closed the deal.
The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver led the most laps for the fourth consecutive race in last weekend’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway and fended off defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick for his first win of the season.
Truex’s victory was his first in 69 races (Sonoma, 06/23/13). Currently, he ranks second in the NSCS points standings, 39 points behind Harvick.
The New Jersey native’s 13 top-10 finishes tie Harvick’s total for the series lead. In NSCS history, only Lee Petty (1954, 1959), Richard Petty (1969), Truex and Harvick have collected 13 top 10s through the first 14 races.
To reiterate: In one year, two drivers have accomplished something that has only been accomplished by two NASCAR Hall of Famers and hasn’t happened in 46 years.
Truex will attempt to carry his momentum into Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). He has three top fives at the two-mile track: two second-place showings in 2007 and a third-place finish in 2013.
Gordon Ready To Fill Blank Space In Win Column At Michigan
Jeff Gordon showed the crowd incredible things last August at Michigan, leading 68 laps from the pole after setting the track qualifying record (206.558 mph), and pulling away from Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano for the win.
Gordon will try to visit Victory Lane again Sunday, for the second straight race in the Great Lakes State, filling his blank space in the win column and clinching a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The No. 24 Chevrolet driver’s three Michigan wins rank second among active drivers and his eight runner-ups stand as the most in history.
Gordon is coming off a 14th-place showing at Pocono. His third-place finish at Bristol was his best of the season. He currently occupies the 13th spot on the Chase Grid, 57 points above the cutoff line.
Harvick’s Historical Top-Two Streak
Kevin Harvick might not be happy about having just two wins, but he does have eight runner-ups that give him 10 top-two finishes on the year.
The 10 top-two finishes tie him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison (1972) for the most through 14 races in a season. The only other drivers with as many as nine top twos through 14 races are NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1971) and Cale Yarborough (1974 and 1977).
Harvick’s strong finishes have allowed him to build a 39-point lead over Martin Truex Jr. in the season points standings.
Biffle’s A Baller In The Great Lakes State
The kids would say Greg Biffle is a “baller” at Michigan International Speedway.
Biffle has made MIS his personal amusement park over the years, tallying a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-leading four wins there. The No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford driver also ranks first among active drivers at Michigan in driver rating (107.1) and is second in average running position (8.9), fastest laps run (311) and green flag speed (179.050 mph).
Currently 18th on the Chase Grid, 31 points below the cutoff, Biffle could use a win in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400.
Overall, RFR has more wins at Michigan than any other team. It has won there with Biffle (four), Mark Martin (four), Carl Edwards (two), Matt Kenseth (two) and Kurt Busch (one).
Michigan Man: Keselowski Still Searching For First Win In Home State
Brad Keselowski has won plenty of races in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
Seventeen to be exact.
One place he hasn’t won is his home track – Michigan International Speedway. He will try to visit Victory Lane for the first time in front of the home crowd in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400. In 11 starts at Michigan, Keselwoski owns three top fives (27.3%) and four top 10s with an average finish of 14.8. The numbers seem mediocre, but take away his first four starts at MIS and Keselowski’s average finish improves to 7.6.
Six Spots Remain In Chase With 12 Regular Season Races Left
With his win at Pocono last week, Martin Truex Jr. became the 10th driver to virtually lock himself into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Now, six spots in the Chase remain with only 12 races left in the regular season.
If the season ended today, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards would all make the Chase with their wins. Based on points Jamie McMurray (+73), Kasey Kahne (+63), Jeff Gordon (+57), Paul Menard (+31), Aric Almirola (+25) and Ryan Newman (+20) would all get in as well.
On the outside looking into the Chase are Clint Bowyer (-20), Greg Biffle (-31), Kyle Larson (-41) and Danica Patrick (-46).
A potential Chase driver also needs to be in the top 30 in points after race No. 26.
Lose Yourself: Logano Due For Epic Performance
Down the highway from Eight Mile Road, Joey Logano will attempt to lose himself in the moment and pick up his second win of the season in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
He led the most laps in last season’s August race at MIS, finishing third and will try to continue his four-race top-10 streak at Michigan, which includes a win from the pole (8/18/13).
Logano is coming off a strong fourth-place finish last week at Pocono Raceway where he fought his way up from the back twice after a rear-end gear change and a pit road speeding penalty.
Logano has not received the same amount of attention as Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. since his win at Daytona, but he continues to rack up strong finishes and is right on their heels at fourth in the points standings, one point behind Johnson for third. Through the first 14 races, Logano has seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.
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