Race: Carfax 400
Date: Sunday August 16, 2009
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
This weekend is the weekend for Ford to show its stuff. We are headed to Michigan International for the second time this year, and this tends to be a track where the Fords and, in particular, the Roush drivers do exceptionally well.
Michigan is a big track with a lot of speed. It’s a 2 mile D-shaped oval with 18 degree banking in the turns. The frontstretch boasts 12 degrees with the backstretch at 5 degree banking. The frontstretch is 3600 feet with the backstretch at 2242 feet.
This is the track where Dale Jr. won his last race, although I can’t see him doing that again. The defending winner of this particular race is Carl Edwards. Mark Martin won here in the Spring race this year. Other winners include Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle. I think that we are going to see a charge from all three of those drivers as we head closer and closer into the Chase.
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At Michigan, the name of the game is tires and equipment. Fuel also plays a role here as well. On Sunday, I am going to assume that we are going to see a charge from all Roush drivers. I am going to look for Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle to be prominent in the front of the pack, with Matt Kenseth trailing. I think that Matt can do well, but he hasn’t stepped up this year really at all. He’s teetering on the brink in the top 12 so it’s inevitable that he’s going to try something to do better.
My pick: Greg Biffle
Assuming there is no rain delay this weekend, I am going to go out for a long shot here and pick Greg Biffle. He hasn’t impressed me much this year, but this track is a track that he can do well on. This place has been good to him in the past and he’s been solid this year. By solid, I mean that he’s running top 10 or top 15 runs. He’s hasn’t been exceptional, but this track may allow him to show that he is capable of that status.
We are going to need to keep our eyes peeled for the typical superstars like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, but this track isn’t necessarily their best. They will most certainly have strong runs though. I want to see Jr. do well and this is a place where that is possible, so look for Jr. to be somewhere near the top 5.
Here are your current top 12 in the points:
1. Tony Stewart
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kurt Busch
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Carl Edwards
7. Juan Montoya
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Ryan Newman
10. Greg Biffle
11. Mark Martin
12. Matt Kenseth
Kenseth needs a remarkable showing this weekend as does 13th place Kyle Busch. They are both on the bubble and very close to not being in the Chase at all this year which is shocking to me. Mark Martin and Greg Biffle could also use some good runs to solidify their place in the points and also to gain some more positions.
Including this weekend’s race, there are only 4 races left until the final top 12 are set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Heading out of Michigan, we hit 2 short tracks and an intermediate. It’s shaping up to be an interesting close to the race for the Chase. Stay tuned for an exciting Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Raceway.