The Frontstretch: What Can Fans Expect At Michigan... Mind-Blowing Or Mundane? by Ellen Richardson -- Wednesday June 12, 2013

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What Can Fans Expect At Michigan... Mind-Blowing Or Mundane?

Ellen Richardson · Wednesday June 12, 2013


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Following a less-than-dramatic Party In The Poconos 400, the Sprint Cup Series will make their way to Michigan International Speedway on this Father’s Day Sunday. As I think back to trying to keep my eyes open through last Sunday’s not-so-mind-blowing race, several questions come to mind as to what fans might be able to expect for this weekend’s Quicken Loans 400.

Like many fans who have voiced concern over TNT’s initial start to their six-week coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, the first question that comes to mind is…

Will TNT continue to keep us bored to death or will they head back to the drawing board before Sunday?

I have to admit that I was actually intrigued and willing to give TNT a shot at giving fans a more exciting viewing experience this NASCAR season, but after what I saw last Sunday I have to admit to flipping the channel to the Nationwide race very often to avoid being bored to death. I was also about to lose my mind trying to actually watch racing among the Walmart ads. I have to agree with my fellow writer Phil Allaway in his TNT Drops Ball On Debut column (LINK:, “the commercials were so pervasive on Sunday that there was no flow to the telecast at all. TNT was taking breaks for three to four laps, then coming back for five-ish laps, then four more and back to commercial.”

WTF? I realize that sponsorships like these assist in paying for the hefty price tag that NASCAR has continued to tag onto the Sprint Cup Series, but seriously? This is why I am praying that TNT realizes its mistake and takes their race coverage plan back to the drawing board before this Sunday’s race.

Now, onto the actual on-track racing. Let’s just hope that this Sunday’s Sprint Cup race will be much less mundane and not result in another complete domination.

Will the Toyota Racing teams continue to struggle at Michigan International Speedway?

As many fans are well aware, Toyota scaled back its horsepower at Pocono to ensure their engines would last until the finish, however, the move resulted in a not-so-great showing for these teams last Sunday. And while Denny Hamlin said that this is something that Toyota Racing Development is going to work through, it will definitely be something to keep an eye out for in Michigan. In fact, I have to wonder if slowing these cars down is something that fans are going to watch considering this is the sport of racing.

Can Brad Keselowski show Jimmie Johnson how it’s done at his home track or will Junior Nation see a wish come true?

Both Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports fans, please don’t get upset because I am not bashing on Five-Time here. I just love a great battle and I believe that there will certainly be one at Michigan.

I just happened to spend a little time on Brad Keselowski’s Reddit AMA forum earlier this week and he mentioned that his home track was, of course, one of his favorite tracks. It has been my experience that most drivers who return to their home track are often competitive and will do whatever it takes to have the best finish in front of their home town crowd. Just remember, many of these drivers were once your Saturday night short trackers, and once that excitement is in your blood it never leaves you.

Of course, we can’t forget last year’s winner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Although he hasn’t been off to the greatest start this season, Junior brought his worshipping crowd home a third-place finish last week at Pocono and seems to be fueling his fire for a serious hot streak that could explode at Michigan. I imagine that this would be an ideal Father’s Day gift for you Earnhardt legacy following Dads out there!!

Speaking of Father’s Day, this brings me to my final question…

Will Michigan International Speedway or NASCAR pep up this event with a tribute to those Dad’s out there?

Throughout my years watching NASCAR, I have always seen the mothers saluted through special opportunities both on and off track, but I have rarely seen any true salute to those hard working fathers out there. Don’t get me wrong; a few drivers were interviewed last year, prior to the start of the race, about what their dads meant to them, etc., but what about special opportunities like calling the start of the race the way that the mothers of the drivers do?

Instead, two Michigan area athletes (who have nothing to do with racing) will be serving as the grand marshal and honorary starter for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400. Wow! Way to pay homage to not only NASCAR Sprint Cup Dads but those Dads in the audience who are spending their special day cheering on their favorite driver.

While I have yet to hear of any other exciting Father’s Day celebrations at this two-mile speedway, I am hoping that something exciting can be quickly assembled to pay tribute to those wonderful Dads out there who continue to do everything possible to make their children’s dreams come true.

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06/12/2013 08:39 AM

Sounds like the Party in the Poconos ended up a wake. Don’t expect NA$CAR to do anything that makes sense, except to Brainless Number One and his toadies.

The Mad Man
06/12/2013 10:27 AM

Despite the commercials, TNT was much better than Faux. The reason? No Waltrips screaming, babbling, shilling, or cheerleading for the drivers from Felon Motorsports & its subsidiary SHR, no cheerleading for the JGR & MWR drivers, no shilling for the MWR sponsors, no overuse of gimmick camera shots, and no force-feeding of the most over-hyped, under-performing driver in NA$CAR history, Princess Sparkle Phony. I’m sure TNT will get a call from Daytona for deviating from the provided script

I’m sure Michigan will be as boring and predictable as ever. Early wrecks, long green flag stretch with everyone running single file, several mystery debris cautions to keep NA$CAR’s pets from being lapped or to give them a free pass, and then an actual race during the last 10 laps.

06/12/2013 11:23 AM

Tons of speed, tons of downforce with new car = aero dependance and no passing

06/12/2013 11:53 AM

Well they say hope springs eternal, but I’m not expecting much better racing at Michigan than what we saw at Pocono. I also don’t plan to spend my Sunday inside trying to watch a race in between commercials. Do I prefer TNT over Fox? Absolutely, I can listen to the announcers on TNT, I never do with Fox unless I take the mute button off so I can find out whatever happened on the replay.

Sorry but NASCAR “racing” has become so boring and predictable. What happened to the fun? Oh yeah, that’s right, Brian France says everything is great.

Johnson & crew are doing a great job of domination, which is boring for anyone who is not a fan of the 48. If there was good competition and some rivalries, it would at least be interesting. Instead, everyone is just logging laps and points racing for seeding for the chase.