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Michigan Viewer's Guide
Toyota expected to have a difficult season, but I would be surprised if they thought it was going to be this difficult. Race teams always say the same thing, "As long as we're headed in the right direction, we can hang together." While they may not win in the backyard of the Big Three Chrysler, Ford and General Motors this weekend, any improvement and sign that they're going in the right direction will be good for Toyota.
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|Speed Mail Steve|
Pit PerspectiveAs the season wears on, the tire with its different compound has become more of an issue. Some teams struggle with it more than others. It's difficult for these teams and drivers to find the feel that they want. They're constantly searching for more grip. According to Chip Ganassi, racing is basically getting horsepower to the ground and getting the best grip out of your tires. That's the elusive quest for many teams. The more I talk with crew chiefs this year, it just seems like the new construction of the tire is making it a little more difficult for their drivers to say exactly what they need. This week's race is kind of like Pocono, where you've got to have a lot of horsepower as well as a good handling car. You've also got to be able to turn, and even during qualifying, drivers had a hard time getting their cars turned.
Finish LineIf you don't live in Michigan or if you aren't directly linked to a race team, it's hard to understand how much NASCAR has always wanted the support of the auto manufacturers. The sport works hard with those manufacturers to make sure that they're getting out of the sport what they need because they're in the business of selling cars. It's important to win in Detroit, a great sports town as well so. During the race, we'll see if there's a NASCAR version of Justin Verlander, the Detroit Tigers pitcher who threw a no-hitter on Tuesday.
NASCAR on FOX and SPEED host and reporter Steve Byrnes has covered racing for more than 20 years.