3M Performance 400 Preview

Race: 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo
Date: Sunday August 17, 2008
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Channel: ESPN
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

This weekends race at Michigan International Speedway is one of four races before we lock in the top twelve drivers who will compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. If history serves us correctly, this weekend should and most likely will be dominated by Roush drivers.

Michigan is a 2 mile track that we raced at 2 months ago this year. It has 12 degree banking on the front stretch, 18 degree banking in the turns and 5 degree banking on the back stretch. It has a very long front stretch at 3600 feet and a 2242 foot back stretch. Theres plenty of room to get some high speeds going here. Michigan is a speedway thats relatively flat with great stretches and a great surface. Guys from the Roush garage are sure to be gearing up for a win this weekend.

If we check out the past winners, we see that Jr. actually won this race in June. Other than the win in June, though, Jr. is not typically close to victory lane here. More consistent winners and drivers include guys like Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle who both boast two or more wins here. Kurt Busch has a couple of wins here also as does Jeff Gordon. Carl Edwards has a win from last year. These types of tracks are great for Carl and he loves coming to them. They are really his specialty.

Assuming that the pattern continues with drivers like Gordon and Busch, I wouldnt expect them to be a factor this weekend. They have had bad rides, bad luck, and just a plain bad season in terms of what theyre used to. Gordon cant seem to get a single car to handle correctly no matter what track hes at. Busch always seems to get caught up in someone elses mess and is struggling in the points because of it. Carl Edwards is who I would put money on this weekend. Hes had a great year so far, climbing in the points and rarely dropping spots. Week in and week out, Edwards shows his consistency and his strength. Going to a track that hes notoriously good on will only embellish what a great season hes had so far. I would expect to see him up front all day long. Hes had wonderful communication with his team and crew chief and never misses a beat. If he can keep that up, this weekend should be a breeze for him.

Lets look at where our top 12 stand with four races left to go:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jeff Burton
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Tony Stewart
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Greg Biffle
11. Kevin Harvick
12. Matt Kenseth

Kenseth moved back into the top 12 last weekend after Watkins Glen, but hes only 22 points up on 13th place Clint Bowyer. Anyone from 8th on back is going to have to make some strong runs every single weekend through Richmond. No one is safe, so they need to step up their game now. This weekend, though, do not be surprised to see Roush drivers dominating. I would expect to see Edwards in victory circle with Kenseth and Biffle both having strong runs as well.