What a drag. All the focus when NASCAR came to Michigan was the return of the high-drag aerodynamic package that already saw one weekend of action, with less than favorable reviews. But, surely because of the wider surface, there could be a difference in how the package would work.
The race distance was the same, 400 miles, but outside of that, the track is completely different from when this package was first introduced in Indianapolis. Sweeping corners, multiple lanes, and higher speeds could make the action a lot different.
What it did was make a majority of the field have an extremely loose condition, and trying to make a pass through the corner required a lot of nerve, patience, and speed.
Overall, the package again failed to provide what was needed for better racing, and better competition.
The overall story that took the headlines this time wasn’t the package, nor was it fuel, but in fact was domination. The No. 20 of Matt Kenseth started the afternoon on the pole, and for nearly 75 percent of the race, he was the one the field had to chase down to try and beat. At times, he was getting beat, but he and the team never lost focus.
Kenseth would not be denied, starting first and finishing just the same. He too now has stated that he will be a force in the Chase come September.
That victory in a shocking twist was not one chosen by the writers, although many of them had strong finishes at the end of 200 laps. In fact, positions 1-6 are separated by less than a race, and with three events left before the reset, every lap is more critical than the last.
Here’s where everyone stands after the Pure Michigan 400:
Misan Akuya (747) Joey Logano finished 7th – 2
Rob Blount (744) Kyle Busch finished 11th – 2
Sal Sigala Jr. (742) Kyle Busch finished 11th – 3
Rob Tiongson (732) Joey Logano finished 7th – 4
Patti Rodisch (716) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 4
Ashley McCubbin (711) Kyle Busch finished 11th – 1
Kara Martin (703) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th – 2
Dustin Parks (683) Jeff Gordon finished 17th – 3
Mary Jo Buchanan (663) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th – 1
Klarissa Mitchell (648) Joey Logano finished 7th – 0
Next Race: In the last four weeks NASCAR has visited a flat track shaped like a rectangle, a triangle, turned right on a road course, and visited a D-shaped track with multiple lanes. But something that the sport has not seen since early in the spring is a track that’s less than a mile. Not only that, but it’s been since April that NASCAR has visited the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
That wait is now coming to an end, because one of the most popular, most famous, and most anticipated short-track races of the entire year happens in six days.
It’s time to head back to the bull ring in Bristol, Tennessee, to run 500 laps on the high banks at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The lights will be on, the action will be hot, and it will not be a surprise if some aggression comes to the forefront.
Writers, let’s not get into a fight yet, because the green hasn’t even waved. But, make sure by Thursday, August 20, the picks are locked in by 10 p.m. ET for the Irwin Tools Night Race.