The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps : Michigan Edition by Matt McLaughlin -- Wednesday August 15, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps : Michigan Edition

Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday August 15, 2007


2007 Michigan “2” Driver Handicaps

Jeff Gordon – Gordon has two wins at Michigan, with the most recent triumph coming in 2001. Overall, he has 20 Top 10 finishes in 29 Cup starts in the Irish Hills, with an average finish of 10th…not too shabby.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has run moderately well at Michigan in his short career, with all three of his Cup finishes here falling between ninth and fourteenth place.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth won this race last year, then crashed and burned to 42nd here in June. That finish was only the second time in the last nine Michigan Cup races that Kenseth failed to score a Top 10 result. He also won here in 2002.

Tony Stewart – Stewart won here in 2000 and has Top 10 results in eight of the last ten Michigan Cup races. He also finished third in the last two Cup races run here…and oh yeah, he’s won three of the last four Cup races to date.

Carl Edwards – Edwards won here in June and has Top 5s in four of his six career starts in the Irish Hills, giving him a seventh place average finish at the track. With Roush Fenway Racing the winner of six of the last eleven Cup races at Michigan, Edwards is bound to be a favorite to complete the sweep.

Jeff Burton – Who knows what Burton’s car will look like this weekend, but if history’s any indication, you won’t be seeing it running up front. Burton hasn't managed a Top 10 finish at Michigan since 2002, and he has just four Top 5 results here in 27 starts. Ouch.

Jimmie Johnson – Michigan has been one of Johnson's weakest tracks on the circuit. He has just three Top 10 finishes in eleven starts here, averaging a mediocre sixteenth place finish.

Kyle Busch – Despite his sixth place run here in June, Busch is averaging a 22nd place finish after five Michigan Cup starts. He did win a Busch Series race here in 2004, though, so he probably doesn't need a Garmin to navigate the track.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer took to Michigan like a trout to the trombone with two 30-something finishes here last year. He rebounded somewhat to come home sixteenth back in June.

Kevin Harvick – While he finished second here in 2003, this track hasn't been made Harvick all that Happy. He has just two Top 5 finishes and a total of five Top 10s in thirteen career Michigan Cup starts. He did win a Busch Series race here in 2003…but doesn’t he win one everywhere?

Martin Truex, Jr. – Truex led 54 laps here in June en route to a second place finish, his best performance at Michigan to date.

Kurt Busch – Busch won a Cup race here in 2003, but that was his only Top 5 result at Michigan. He's averaging a 20th place finish over 13 starts throughout his career at the track.

Ryan Newman – Newman won back-to-back races in the Irish Hills back in 2003-04, but he has been locked out of the Top 10 in the six races run here since.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – While Junior's struggled at Michigan early in his career – going nearly three full years before scoring a Top 10 finish at the track – he appears to have turned things around at the 2-mile oval as of late. The No. 8 car has finished in the Top 6 in each of the last three Michigan Cup races.

Greg Biffle – Biffle won back-to-back races here in 2004 and 2005, the highlight of Top 10 results in six of his nine Cup starts at Michigan. On the downside, he finished 38th here in June. Biffle also won two Truck races here and finished second in a Busch Series race.

Casey Mears – While he's averaging a 19th place finish at Michigan, Mears did come away with a solid fourth place result here in June.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray's eighth place finish here in June was just his second Top 10 result in nine Michigan Cup starts. That's not going to get your face plastered on a box of Wheaties anytime soon.

Mark Martin – Martin has won four Cup races at Michigan, with the most recent coming in 1998. (Wait a second; someone besides Jeff Gordon won a race back in 1998? Oh yeah, right). After 43 Cup starts at Michigan, Martin has scored 27 Top 10 finishes and averages about a twelfth place result each race.

Juan Pablo Montoya – It's almost inevitable Montoya will score his career best finish at Michigan this weekend. After all, he's only started one race, and in that, he crashed out en route to a 43rd place finish. The Columbian called it his worst race of the year in an ESPN pre-race interview on Sunday, so clearly, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte has three victories at Michigan to go along with Top 10 results in half of his 30 Cup starts. But in the last six races at this track, Labonte hasn’t finished better than 14th.

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