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Michigan Viewer's Guide
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Pit PerspectiveThis week, Kyle Busch announced officially announced he'll go to Joe Gibbs Racing next year, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. learned he won't be able to take the No. 8 with him to Hendrick Motorsports. Even though they will be going in different directions, those drivers and teams will give 100 percent to make the Chase. Some people may wonder why teams won't switch now, but NASCAR is different than other sports. Teams have sponsor commitments. Plus, they are still in contention for the championship, which means a lot to racers with a handful of races left. If Dale Jr. and Kyle should falter and not make the Chase, it would change the dynamic, but right now, making the Chase is still a strong motivator for their respective teams.
|Speed Mail Steve|
Chase Perspective9th through 13th: Newman has always been good at Michigan, and Kurt Busch is strong in the transfer spot. The drivers in 9th through 11th Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are under a lot of pressure. Harvick has two top-five finishes at Michigan, but he hasn't been to victory lane. And Michigan will also give us a clue about how they will run at California.
Finish LineMichigan is the kind of race that mirrors Daytona because it's so fast, both in time and in speed on the track. You'd better unload fast on Friday and get better during the weekend and then during the race. You've got to have the engine tuned just right with plenty of horsepower. Michigan is deceptive because it's so big and seemingly forgiving, but it requires a tremendous amount of performance from the car, team and driver. If a team doesn't have a fast car off the truck, I don't know that the crew can do enough on race day to overcome the cars that are fast off the truck. The car is a bigger part of the equation at Michigan than it is at Watkins Glen or Bristol.
NASCAR on FOX and SPEED host and reporter Steve Byrnes has covered racing for more than 20 years.