7 things you need to know about Sunday’s race at Michigan
It’s off to the Irish Hills of Michigan this week, where Sunday the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will compete in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Here are seven things you need to know about Sunday’s race, with coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on FS1:
— Sunday’s race will be the 15th of 26 races in the Sprint Cup regular season. Nine different drivers have already won races and are all but locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. That leaves seven open slots and a lot of drivers eager to win and get a slot in NASCAR’s playoffs.
— In June 2012, Dale Earnhardt broke a four-year winless streak at MIS when drove to victory in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, which on that day carried a Batman-themed paint scheme for the movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
— Carl Edwards has two Michigan wins and is the only driver with a single-digit average finish here. Edwards’ average finish at Michigan is just 9.652. Jimmie Johnson has led 646 laps here, most of any active driver, but he has only one win at this track.
— NASCAR will experiment with a new lower downforce package this weekend, which should cut cornering speeds and improve passing. The same package will also be run later this summer at Kentucky Speedway.
— NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson was the best ever at this 2-mile track, earning 10 poles and nine race wins, both of which are records. Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle has won four times at MIS, tops among active drivers. In fact, his last victory in any Cup race was right here 2013, 107 races ago.
— Kyle Larson’s crew chief, Chad Johnston, was suspended for this race because of a lug nut violation at Pocono. He’s the third crew chief suspended for lug nuts in the last two races.
— There have been six different winners in the last six Sprint Cup races at Michigan. The last repeat winner here was Biffle, who won in the second Michigan race in 2012 and the first in 2013. Since then, Joey Logano, Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth have all won here.