Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan, in three minutes:
Three things to watch
1. Jimmie Johnson leads the Sprint Cup Series with four wins this season and won this race a year ago.
2. The Wood Brothers have started 86 consecutive Cup races at Michigan. Sunday, they start fifth with up-and-comer Ryan Blaney.
3. It’s been nearly three years since Kasey Kahne started on the pole. Five of his 17 career wins came from the top starting spot.
▪ At this point last season, there were the same number of different winners in the Cup series as there are now – 10. Only two of the 10 drivers are different – Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth, which tends to show teams that were good last year are strong again this season. Six spots in the Chase remain with only 12 races left in the regular season.
▪ Jeff Gordon has received several nice honors during his final full-time season in the Cup series. He added another on Friday when Phoenix International Raceway announced it will be renamed “Jeff Gordon Raceway” for one day, Nov. 15. The race is next-to-last in the Chase and the results determine the four drivers who compete for the championship the following week at Homestead, Fla.
▪ If Roush Fenway Racing is going to get things turned around this season, Sunday would be an ideal time to start. Roush driver Greg Biffle has earned four wins at the track. RFR has earned more wins at Michigan (13) than any other track.
Three picks for your fantasy team:
Kevin Harvick: In 14 races this season, he’s finished first or second in 10 of them and he’s been among the fastest cars in every practice session this weekend.
Jeff Gordon: Last August, Gordon led a race-high 68 laps to win at Michigan for the third time in his career. Another win this weekend would lock him into the Chase.
Kyle Larson: For the first time this season he is coming off consecutive top-10 finishes and has been fast in practice all weekend.
He said it
“Certainly the last four weeks have been great. I feel like we have shown and proved that we can battle with (anyone) week in and week out.” – Martin Truex Jr.
More resources needed: Furniture Row Racing is proud of its success as a one-car operation and driver Martin Truex Jr.’s victory last weekend at Pocono ensures the organization will make the Chase for the second time in three years.
The team, however, is sponsored by companies owned by its team owner, Barney Visser, and receives only marginal support from Chevrolet.
“We are in a sport that is real expensive. We truly can’t afford to do it. We can do it. When I say we can’t afford to do it, I mean at the level we want to push it to in order to be able to be in position to win a championship,” said team general manager Joe Garone.
“We need more resources. Chevrolet has been a great partner. But they are spread (out). To get to the level we need to get to, we need to get a lot more support.”
Gordon says ‘It’s all good’: A very frustrated Jeff Gordon and his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, had an uncharacteristic blowup over their team radio late in last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Pocono.
The exchange got so heated, Gordon’s spotter, Eddie D’Hondt, chimed in at one point and said, “Guys, let’s just settle down.”
“It is all good. We are big boys. We respect the heck out of one another and we had great conversations this week,” Gordon said. “I think it’s actually been more positive that we kind of got that out there and had this heated moment.”
Quicken Loans 400
Where: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.
Track type: 2-mile paved oval.
Race distance: 400 miles, or 200 laps.
Green flag: 1:16 p.m.
Weather: High in the upper 70s with a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms.
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: Motor Racing Network.