Race in Michigan about bragging rights to car execs

Jun 14, 2011 3:05 AM

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series travels to Michigan this week for the first of two races this season.

Because of being so close to the Motor City, this event takes on an entirely different aspect than what we see week after week at other tracks. This race is about bragging rights among all the executives in the luxury boxes rooting for their model of car to win the race.

The Ford gang has had the most bragging rights over the years, but they haven’t won since the fall of 2008 with Carl Edwards during his shining season. The last two years have seen two Chevys and two Toyotas win.

The initial Toyota win, even though the Japanese manufacturer makes more cars in the United States than the other NASCAR models, was like a dagger to the heart of all three of the other manufacturers.

This year we should see Ford come to forefront again as the Roush-Fenway stable of drivers are once again on top their game after a two year hiatus.

Carl Edwards is a two-time winner at the track and has a track best 6.3 average finish in his 13 starts. His worst finish was 22nd in 2006. Every one of his other 12 starts has seen him finish 12th or better.

Edwards is the current points leader and has done so by being one of the best on these types of tracks which requires lots of horsepower and good handling.

His teammate, Matt Kenseth, has the next best average finish at the track. Even though Kenseth hasn’t won at Michigan since 2006, he has always runs well. In the fall race last season he finished fifth, his 10th top-five finish on the track. Overall he has two wins at Michigan and comes in with two wins on the season.

The next top candidate to win is another Roush driver, Greg Biffle. He won the 2004 and 2005 season at Michigan and has a 12.3 career average finish on the track. He’s been just a notch below what his other teammates has done lately in 2011, but did finish fourth in the fall race last season.

The wild card of the race could be Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has three straight top-10 finishes coming in to this weekend. It’s been 107 races since Junior last won a race, but that win was at Michigan in 2008, his first season with Hendrick Motorsports.

In that race, Junior won the gamble with fumes in the fuel tank. He’s running very well right now and might be able to win the race straight up on the performance of his car rather needing to gamble.