Race: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400
Date: Sunday June 13th, 2010
Track:Michigan International Speedway
Finally, some solid runs from those we’d expect to be up front! Denny Hamlin took the checkers and headed to victory lane last weekend at Pocono. This weekend, we are headed to Michigan, where we will be watching Denny along with some other of the top names who struggled last weekend. After a late race crash involving Kasey Kahne, several top contenders were forced out and limped back to the garage area. It seems as though tempers aren’t getting any better either, with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano making true to their rivalry. Honestly, it looked to be a racing incident with both guys fighting for the same track position and both could’ve given a little, but with patience wearing thin and the racing stretch reaching a peak, there is little room for niceness on the track.
This Sunday we are going to Michigan. Michigan is another endurance race as it’s a 2-mile D-shaped oval with 18 degree banking in the turns, 12 degree banking on the frontstretch, and 5 degree banking on the backstretch. The frontstretch sits at 3600 feet with the backstretch a bit shorter at 2242 feet. This race is just another is a long stretch of big tracks and extremely tiring races for these drivers. Michigan is truly going to prove who the top dogs are as we watch these guys try to maintain composure and, again, their equipment long enough to come up with a respectable finish.
This race is an interesting one because it’s one of those races that everyone really has a shot at. There are a lot of different components that come into winning this race. Tires are just as important here as luck. So long as these guys can cruise for a little while and not lose their tempers, we will be okay, but Pocono proved that late race tempers will flare.
Looking at the past winners here, we see that there are a pretty wide range of teams and drivers that have won. Brian Vickers is the defending pole winner here and the winner as well for the fall race. The summer race has Mark Martin as the defending winner, but Vickers still had the pole. Obviously, Vickers has the speed part figured out so he is one to keep an eye on and perhaps someone who will have a strong top 10 finish. Other winners include Roush drivers Kenseth and Edwards along with Greg Biffle. Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. also have wins here. After last weekend’s win at Pocono, I think that Hamlin is going to be a strong contender here as well. He has wins on 1/2 mile tracks, 1 mile tracks, and over 2 mile tracks. There’s no counting him out this weekend.
Another strong runner that we’ve seen come through the ranks a bit in the last few weeks is Juan Pablo Montoya. He’s one to keep your eyes on too. It’s just a matter of time before he gets to victory lane and these power races are what he’s used to and what will propel him to the checkers. In my opinion, though, I think that we are going to see a strong showing from Kyle Busch. Despite a bit of inconsistency, I think that he’s been prepping for a win. With a second-place finish last week, Kyle is coming off a strong run heading to a similar type of race. When it comes down to it, I think that Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Juan Montoya, and dark horse Tony Stewart are the ones to watch this weekend. They all have been strong recently and are starting to show their guns.
Here’s a recap of your current top 12 in the points:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Kurt Busch
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Jeff Burton
9. Carl Edwards
10. Greg Biffle
11. Mark Martin
12. Clint Bowyer
Tony Stewart is in the cat-bird seat in 13th just 1 point behind 12th place Clint Bowyer, so the battle is pretty intense for that spot. If he can prove to run strong this weekend, he can sneak his way in there. Michigan is going to truly prove who has it and who doesn’t. Also be prepared to see some revenge moves here as well since last weekend didn’t go as planned for a lot of the top dogs. Stay tuned for another exciting weekend of racing!