So we are back to the wide, fast 2-mile track at Michigan this weekend and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will be using what is termed the "high drag" aerodynamic package.
Obviously we have already raced this package once a few weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The rub comes that the similarities between a flat track like Indy and a place like Michigan with a reasonable amount of banking are very, very small for these teams.
So I think we enter the weekend with a lot of unknowns.
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I can tell you from talking to them, that’s the way the drivers and teams feel. If you look back at Indy, you tend to believe that come Sunday in Michigan we’re going to see Team Penske battling Joe Gibbs Racing for the checkered flag. If you look back, I think those two organizations have run something first and second the last five or six races.
So obviously those two groups are rising to the occasion no matter what style of track they are on or no matter what rules package that NASCAR mandates.
When we were at Michigan in mid-June, Kurt Busch was the winner in a rain-shortened event. Is Kurt Busch the guy to beat Sunday? Well, we just really don’t know because this time at Michigan it really truly is a different rules package.
The biggest thing I am going to be watching is the four Hendrick cars. They swept both Michigan races last year. Quite honestly, since Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Daytona, they have absolutely fallen off the map. They only have three top-five finishes since Daytona. So is this the weekend that they can get their act back together?
The other question mark is despite who runs well this weekend with this high-drag rules package, we simply don’t know yet if it will apply to any of the races in the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup.
We also know, as much as I hate to promote it, that this could be a fuel-strategy race. We saw Pocono three weeks ago come down to it, and last Sunday at Watkins Glen came down to it as well. So don’t be surprised if we see Michigan come down to a fuel-mileage race, too.
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