These next couple weeks for NASCAR are going to be the most intense, and likely the most stressful, for all these teams. Obviously when the pandemic hit, it was easier for the teams at the shop considering they only had to prepare one car each week for racing, or say two cars for two races in one week as we saw with Darlington and Charlotte.
Preparing for a mid-week race was tough, as we saw with Martinsville and Kansas, but it was not a stretch to get things done in a timely manner.
But, the Pocono weekend this year showed the true skill of both the teams at the shop, and those that are on the track roster. For the first time, at least up to that point in the season, the Cup Series had potentially two cars in each hauler, one for a backup just in case things went awry in race one. Pocono had the true double-header when the year began, and up to that point still had the only one ever done in the history of the sport. Two races, two days, one car.
However, more schedule changes meant some tracks were going to get a taste of action in the same time span.
So, for the next two weeks, NASCAR is doubling down on action.
This weekend, officially, marks the most miles NASCAR will put in one weekend for the Cup Series in the 72-year history of the sport.
Michigan International Speedway is hosting a pair of 200-lap events on Saturday an Sunday. A two-mile track, hitting 210 MPH into the first corner, will host a total of 800 miles in Cup competition, which is 125 miles more than what Pocono hosted.
Right here, in this instance, will be the hardest challenge for these teams. Already knowing there’s no qualifying is one thing they can deal with, but each team will have a second car in the hauler just in case for some reason the primary for Saturday cannot run on Sunday. Minor fixes to the body are not as bad, since we saw that happen at Pocono for some cars, but not every car could potentially make the Sunday show just because of a bad wreck, or engine failure, or something in the car that could be illegal after the race.
Still, this extremely fast, extremely wide, and extremely fun speedway certainly is going to be one the drivers could enjoy. The options this track gives are endless, not just in the lines to make it around, but also in strategy.
We could see a winner Saturday who stretched just enough fuel to take the checkered flag, then turn around on Sunday and see a side-by-side run to the line.
This is going to be a fun weekend for us all, even if fans are not in the stands.