It didn’t take long for the Defiance, Ohio native to make his presence known at the venue he considers his home track on the NASCAR circuit. By the race’s one-quarter mark, Sam Hornish Jr. was running consistently in the top 20 after starting well back in the pack. But as it turns out, the Mobil One team would be the strongest performer out of the Roger Penske stable, running in or near the top 15 for Michigan’s middle segment while his teammates floundered with poor handling cars and engine issues. However, things would get even more interesting for Hornish as the race entered its final stages.
2. Would You Like Fries With That? – Joe Gibbs Racing driver phenom Joey Logano, continuing to live up to high expectations set by the sports media and NASCAR insiders — such as respected veteran Mark Martin — set a new mark for the youngest driver, at 18 years and 21 days, to ever to win a Nationwide Series race. Logano, piloting the JGR No. 20 Toyota, crossed the finish line more than two seconds ahead of runner-up Scott Wimmer in the Meijer 300 at Kentucky. “Three starts, two poles, one win. He’s OK,” said a very pleased Dave Rogers, Logano’s crew chief. What were you doing at 18?
Rain on Friday afternoon washed out NASCAR qualifying at Michigan International Raceway, meaning the starting grid was set by owner points — leaving the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet and the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy as the odd teams out. But while the teams on the bubble breathed a sigh of relief, their calm was short-lived, as they now had to deal with starting the race in the back of the field in a car that has been highly criticized for not running well in traffic. So, which teams towards the back of the field were able to navigate their way to the front? See for yourself as we break down the hunt for the Top 35 in this week’s Bubble Breakdown for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Raceway.
Joe Gibbs Racing scored its 10th win in 16 Nationwide Series races on Saturday night, and this time added a fourth winning driver to its roster. Joey Logano, after scoring his second consecutive pole award, scored his first career Nationwide Series win in convincing fashion, leading five times for 76 laps, including the final 54. Logano took the lead for the final time on lap 147 when he passed teammate Kyle Busch. Busch, who started at the rear of the field after missing qualifying due to running the truck race at Michigan, rocketed to the front of the field and led 85 laps before wrecking himself late in the running in a single-car incident.
Erik Darnell took the checkered flag 0.005 seconds ahead of Johnny Benson to win the Cool City Customs 200 Saturday afternoon. Darnell survived a late-race restart and a photo finish with Benson to score his first win since Kansas last April. Scott Speed narrowly beat Todd Bodine to finish third; Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top five.
1 – Car that fell to the back of the field at the start of racing at Michigan.
(No. 15 Paul Menard for an engine change)
Petty Enterprises’ announcement on Wednesday that they had sold a portion of the family business that has been around as long as NASCAR has been on the track was not really a surprise. But on some level, it is a disappointment. Boston Ventures, by all accounts, is a wealthy, stable company with pockets deep enough to fund new technology for the two-car team, and are even talking already of adding a third team to the stable. That part is help sorely needed. Petty Enterprises was a team that time had nearly passed by.
In the summer of 1967, I had a summer of racing that was the envy of my middle-school buddies and still, after all these years, at the forefront of my childhood memories. That is the year that the Thompsons – “Big” Tommy and “Little” Tommy – attempted to set the USAC racing world on its ears. And to this day I have never been entirely sure why we attempted it.
We’ve really had some good finishes in both series the last few weeks, and I’m excited to be a part of Michael Waltrip Racing. We brought home a top 10 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which was a career best for me at the Sprint Cup level. A 10th-place finish for that event — which is a very tough race — proves the capabilities of this race team. We just need to start doing that on a more consistent basis, and soon we’ll be in the situation where we’ll be finishing in the top five.
This weekend, the drivers of the Craftsman Truck Series head to Michigan International Speedway for the Cool City Customs 200. Of course Kyle Busch will be running all three races, but I want to ponder a hypothetical question–what if there were no more Truck Series?
Q: Why does NASCAR forbid crews from working on the cars during a red flag? And what’s up with Dover? That was the most boring race I have ever witnessed. They should move that race to a track where you can pass.
During Wind Tunnel on SPEED Channel Sunday night, another driver complained to Dave Despain that NASCAR needs to install better cooling systems in the Car of Tomorrow because of driver discomfort in the current model. But Despain responded in the same manner that I felt, stating that he does not think that improving the cooling system in NASCAR racecars should be a priority, because he has a little bit of trouble feeling sorry for men who get paid millions of dollars to drive them little more than a few times a week.