Whose house? Manufacturers set for backyard Michigan brawl
JUN 12, 2014 9:22a ET
Our traveling circus we lovingly call NASCAR is in the Irish Hills this weekend in Michigan. Historically, Michigan has been Ford's and more specifically Greg Biffle's playground.
Now granted, Hendrick Motorsports has been kicking butt and taking names of late, but at Michigan Hendrick has only won four times in the past 25 races. Then next week we go to Sonoma where the Hendrick cars used to dominate, but have only won one time out of the last seven.
So these next two race weekends would seemingly be an open door for the Ford and possibly Toyota camps to make up some ground. We've seen over the years how Ford fights furiously to win at Michigan. It's in the manufacturer's backyard and it's very important to them.
As I mentioned earlier, Greg Biffle expects to win. I think Michigan native Brad Keselowski being in a very fast Ford car would like nothing more than to visit Victory Lane here, of all places.
I liken Michigan and the Ford camp back to the days when Darrell Waltrip and I were with car owner Junior Johnson when it came time to go racing at North Wilkesboro. When we went there it was "win or else face Junior."
That was Junior's backyard and he didn't stand for anyone coming and taking wins from his backyard. It's the same for Ford, the Roush-Yates engine program, etc. They simply can't fathom letting another manufacturer win at Michigan. It simply means that much to them.
So I look for both Brad and his teammate Joey Logano to be unbelievably fast this weekend. I think after letting one slip through his fingers last Sunday at Pocono, Brad is going to be pretty intense and a handful to deal with on the racetrack.
Despite how he's been running of late, I think Greg Biffle rolls into Michigan simply knowing he can win there. Also, after a disappointing race at Pocono, I look for Gregâs teammate Carl Edwards to rebound and try to get something going. I know all the talk about his contract and future of where he will be in 2015 might have that entire team including Carl a little sideways right now, but Carl is too good of a competitor, especially at Michigan, not to be a factor.
When it comes to Toyota, I think the manufacturer is still a little bit off in handling. I also think Toyota is still a little bit off in horsepower, which is at a premium at Michigan, so I think Toyota is going to consider itself lucky if it can leave Michigan with a win. I, for one, will be very surprised to see a Toyota win Sunday.