NASCAR Race Review: Michigan International Speedway

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in Brooklyn, MI. at the Michigan International Speedway for the Heluva Good!Sour Cream Dips 400, the fifteenth race of the season. This is a fast 2 mile track in the Irish foothills near Detroit.

Coors Light Pole qualifying took place on Friday, with 2 Kurt Busch starting on the pole with a speed of 189.984. 1 Jamie McMurray will join him on the front row. 09 is youngster Landon Cassill, making his NSCS debut. 66 Dave Blaney, 55 Michael Waltrip and 36 Johnny Sauter failed to qualify. 33 Clint Bowyer crashed in practice and is in a backup car. 18 Kyle Busch changed his engine after ten practice laps. They both will start from the rear.

Adam Sandler and Kevin James, actors in the movie Grown Ups start the engines. There is drafting in this massive track. They carry momentum past the car ahead after following directly behind. There is so much room to race on this track, they can race three wide side by side for position without anyone having to back off. I love this track! 2oo laps for 400 miles.

So, here we go! 1 leads the first lap. 2 comes back to take the lead. 9 Kasey Kahne is up to second after getting by 48 Jimmie Johnson and 1. 48 gets by 1 for third. 99 Carl Edwards goes to the bottom and many drive by him. 9 catches leader, 2. There’s two and three wide racing all around the track. 11 Denny Hamlin, 42 Juan Pablo Montoya and 24 Jeff Gordon battle for position. 1 and 24 battle back and forth. 31 Jeff Burton drafts with 24 and gets by 24 and 1. 24 and 11 pass each other back and forth. 24 touches the wall behind 39 and slides ahead.

The first caution comes out on lap 18. They were racing hard when 78 Regan Smith tapped 47 Marcos Ambrose, who went spinning into the wall, almost saves it but slides into the infield. Into the pits, it’s 2, 9, 48, 42, 39. 7 Robby Gordon stays out to lead a lap and then pits. Out of the pits it’s 2, 14 Tony Stewart, who took two tires and 48. 2 leads from the inside line. 42 gets by 14 for second. 48 and 39 battle, while 42 and 14 battle. They are four wide and 48 turns left past 11. 48 gets loose. 9, after drafting with 42, goes down past 42 and 11. 42 and 11 battle. 48 gets by 9 and they battle some more.

The second caution comes out on lap 47 for debris. 47 is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 33 is back in for repairs to the hood that is coming up from the car. 2 comes out of the pits from his number one pit and chooses the outside. 11 takes the lead. 48 is falling back. 2 is staying with leader 11 and not letting him get very far away. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets around 16 Greg Biffle for tenth. 9 and 42 battle for third, with 9 getting by. 42 crosses over and they battle some more. 29  points leader, Kevin Harvick slides in front of 56 Martin Truex, Jr. 20 Joey Logano, 56 and 5 Mark Martin are three wide battling for position.

88 and 18 Kyle Busch battle back and forth. 9, 48, 14 race each other three wide. 12 Brad Keselowski gets by 18 for 24th. And Green Flag Pitting starts. 11 pits and has trouble exiting the pits. There was no fuel pressure. Air was in the fuel line from nearly running out of gas. 2 and 9 battle for the lead and 9 takes the lead. 11 and 42 battle for third with 11 taking the spot.

The third caution comes out during the commercial. Team mates 83 Casey Mears and 82 Scott Speed get together. 6 David Ragan, exiting his pit stall, gets into 83 entering his. 38 Travis Kvapil gets his lap back. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. stays out to lead. 11 gets 2 sideways to get by. 24 and 11 battle for third with 9 getting in with them. 2 and 77 battle for the lead, with 2 taking the lead. 11 gets by 77 for second. 24 gets by 77 for fourth. 11 takes the lead. 16 gets by 48 for ninth. 18 and 17 Matt Kenseth battle for twelfth with 20 with them. 17 gets by 18. 20 gets by 18 for thirteenth. 31 and 24 battle for fourth with 24 keeping the spot. 14 drives to the inside of 31 to take third.

Green Flag Pitting starts up again. 9 is spewing water after overheating. 17 leads, then pits. He is also spewing water. When it’s all over, 11 is back in the lead. 43 A. J. Allmendinger blocks 77 and his back end slides. 77 gets by. 20 gets by 18 for eleventh. 18 gets into the wall. 48 gets by 18 who is too loose. 1 gets by 43. 29 is pitting early, which means he is tight and needs help.  31 and 88 pit, which starts Green Flag Pitting again. 11 pits and 9 leads. After it all, 11 is back in the lead.

The fourth caution comes out during the commercial, again for debris. 19 Elliott Sadler gets the free pass. The top eight stay out with 31 leading the rest into the pits from ninth. 18 has to fix the spoiler from when he got into the wall. 11 chooses the outside for the restart. 24 and 2 battle for third, but 2 keeps the spot. 88, 31 and 16 are three wide and 88 pulls ahead. 48 and 88 battle for sixth. 88 and 31 battle, but 31 can’t get by. 31 tries again and still can’t get by. (This is why I love Michigan. You “sway to the music” of the engines!)

11 Denny Hamlin wins his fifth race of the year and his 13th career. (Can we now say “anyone but Hamlin” instead of “anyone but Johnson”?)  2 gains a spot in the points, 17 looses a spot. 16 gains a spot from 99. 14 gains two spots, while 5 and 33 loose a spot, 33 now out of the top twelve. 88 moves up two spots, while 39 and 56 loose a spot each.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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