Kyle Busch earns his first win of 2015 in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway and is one step closer to making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kurt Busch talks about coming up short at Sonoma but being happy for his younger brother, Kyle.
A stats-based look ahead to the 15th race of the Sprint Cup Series season DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA (June 8, 2015) -- Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan going into the Quicken Loans 400 on June 14 (FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET). MICHIGAN-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Safety-Kleen Ford) · Four wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Series-best Average Running Position of 8.9 · Series-best Driver Rating of 107.1 · 311 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · 1,427 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.050 mph, second-fastest · Series-high 3,265 Laps in the Top 15 (82.9%) · Series-high 920 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green) Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, four top fives, nine top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 21.3 · Average Running Position of 14.9, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 89.9, 10th-best · 179 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · 2,518 Laps in the Top 15 (63.9%), eighth-most · 652 Quality Passes, 12th-most Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet) · Two wins, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.6 · Average Running Position of 12.5, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 98.0, fifth-best · 197 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 1,549 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.673 mph, fifth-fastest · 2,674 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), fifth-most · 831 Quality Passes, fourth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 ARRIS Toyota) · Two wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 9.7 · Average Running Position of 11.4, second-best · Driver Rating of 100.5, fourth-best · 200 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 1,427 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.757 mph, third-fastest · 2,967 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), third-most · 861 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 PANASONIC Chevrolet) · Three wins, 19 top fives, 27 top 10s; six poles · Average finish of 12.1 · Average Running Position of 13.5, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 93.6, seventh-best · 232 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 2,546 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), seventh-most · 678 Quality Passes, ninth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet) · One win, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.0 · Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 90.2, ninth-best · 153 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 1,581 Green Flag Passes, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.365 mph, 10th-fastest · 2,161 Laps in the Top 15 (54.9%), 11th-most · 656 Quality Passes, 11th-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 KOBALT Tools Chevrolet) · One win, five top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 15.9 · Average Running Position of 11.5, third-best · Driver Rating of 102.5, second-best · Series-high 411 Fastest Laps Run · 1,342 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 179.188 mph · 2,857 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), fourth-most · 766 Quality Passes, fifth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · One win, eight top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.9 · Driver Rating of 89.0, 12th-best · 178 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · 1,553 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.475 mph, seventh-fastest · 2,238 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), 10th-most · 751 Quality Passes, sixth-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 18 top 10s · Average finish of 10.7 · Average Running Position of 11.6, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 101.3, third-best · 164 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 1,334 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.752 mph, fourth-fastest · 2,989 Laps in the Top 15 (75.9%), second-most · 833 Quality Passes, third-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 14.8 · Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 89.0, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.294 mph, 11th-fastest Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.9 · Average Running Position of 14.3, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.8, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.486 mph, sixth-fastest Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · One win, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s · Average finish of 11.7 · Average Running Position of 12.6, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 95.8, sixth-best · 104 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.377 mph, ninth-fastest · 2,610 Laps in the Top 15 (73.7%), sixth-most · 735 Quality Passes, seventh-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Michigan International Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 28 1 1 7 12 1 13.0 90.2 2 Martin Truex Jr . 18 0 0 3 5 1 18.0 79.1 3 Jimmie Johnson 26 0 1 5 11 3 15.9 102.5 4 Joey Logano 12 1 1 2 7 1 14.9 91.8 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 31 2 2 7 12 3 15.6 98.0 6 Brad Keselowski 11 0 0 3 4 0 14.8 89.0 7 Jamie McMurray 24 0 0 1 4 2 19.2 72.1 8 Kasey Kahne 22 2 1 8 10 3 15.9 89.0 9 Matt Kenseth 31 0 2 12 18 1 10.7 101.3 10 Jeff Gordon 44 6 3 19 27 6 12.1 93.6 11 Paul Menard 17 0 0 4 5 0 18.4 71.9 12 Kurt Busch 28 2 2 4 9 8 21.3 89.9 13 Denny Hamlin 18 0 2 5 8 2 15.3 88.2 14 Aric Almirola 6 0 0 0 0 0 20.5 72.2 15 Ryan Newman 27 1 2 5 7 2 17.1 77.6 16 Carl Edwards 21 1 2 9 15 0 9.7 100.5 * – Based on last 20 races at Michigan International Speedway . Michigan International Speedway Data Season Race #: 15 of 36 (06-14-15) Track Size : 2-miles Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 18 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 18 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 5 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 2 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,600 feet Backstretch Length : 2,242 feet Race Length : 200 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Michigan Greg Biffle ................................ 107.1 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 102.5 Matt Kenseth ............................. 101.3 Carl Edwards ............................ 100.5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 98.0 Tony Stewart ............................... 95.8 Jeff Gordon ................................ 93.6 Joey Logano .............................. 91.8 Kevin Harvick .............................. 90.2 Kurt Busch .................................. 89.9 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Michigan International Speedway . Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kevin Harvick , Chevrolet 204.557 mph, 35.198 secs. 06-13-14 2014 race winner : Jimmie Johnson , Chevrolet 143.441 mph, (02:47:19), 06-15-14 Track qualifying record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 206.558 mph, 34.857 secs. 08-17-14 Track race record: Dale Jarrett, Ford 173.997 mph, (2:17:56), 06-13-99 At Michigan International Speedway : History · Michigan International Speedway sits on more than 1, 400 acres in the "Irish Hills" of Southeastern Michigan. Ground-breaking took place on Sept. 28, 1967. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan was held June 15, 1969 – won by Cale Yarborough at a speed of 139.254 mph. · The track was known as Michigan Speedway during the time Roger Penske was the primary owner (1996-99). · The 2-mile speedway underwent a repave in 2012. Notebook · There have been 91 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan International Speedway since the first race there in 1969. Other than 1973, which had just one race, there have been two races each season since 1969. · The first race was 500 miles in length; the second was scheduled for 600. The track was re-measured to 2.04 miles for the last race in 1970 and both races in 1971 – with the race distance being 402 miles. All other races have been scheduled for 400 miles. · 373 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway ; 274 in more than one. · Bill Elliott leads the series in starts at Michigan with 61. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 44 starts. · Donnie Allison won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Michigan in 1969 with a speed of 160.135 mph. · 46 drivers have Coors Light poles at Michigan, led by David Pearson with 10. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six. · Six drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Michigan. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Michigan with five; fall 1976 through 1978. · Youngest Michigan pole winner: Joey Logano (08/16/2013 – 23 years, 2 months, 23 days). · Oldest Michigan pole winner: Mark Martin (08/19/2012 – 53 years, 7 months, 10 days). · 36 different NSCS drivers have won at Michigan International Speedway , led by David Pearson with nine wins; Greg Biffle leads all active drivers with four. · Eight drivers have posted consecutive wins at Michigan International Speedway , including four consecutive by Bill Elliott (1985 sweep and 1986 sweep). · Youngest Michigan winner: Joey Logano (08/18/2013 – 23 years, 2 months, 25 days). · Oldest Michigan winner: Harry Gant (08/16/1992 – 52 years, 7 months, 6 days). · Roush Fenway Racing has the most wins at Michigan in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 13: Mark Martin (four), Greg Biffle (four), Carl Edwards (two), Matt Kenseth (two) and Kurt Busch (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Michigan; led by Ford with 34 victories; followed by Chevrolet with 22. Toyota has four wins at Michigan. · 18 of the 91 (19.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jeff Gordon last season. · The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (18) than any other starting position at Michigan International Speedway . · 26 of the 91 (28.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the front row: 18 from the pole and eight from second-place. · 69 of the 91 (75.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Six of the 91 (6.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Michigan is 32nd, by Mark Martin in the spring of 2009. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in runner-up finishes at Michigan with eight; followed by Darrell Waltrip with seven and Kevin Harvick with five. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough leads the series in top-five finishes at Michigan with 21; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Michigan with 31; followed by Bill Elliott with 29. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Michigan with a 9.615. · Carl Edwards leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Michigan with a 9.714. · All active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Michigan International Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Michigan in his third appearance, the fewest previous starts among the active NSCS winners. · Kevin Harvick competed at Michigan International Speedway 19 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Among the active NSCS Michigan winners Kevin Harvick (19), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (17) Kyle Busch (13), Jeff Gordon (11) and Joey Logano (10) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win. · Jamie McMurray leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Michigan without visiting Victory Lane at 24; followed by Casey Mears at 23. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway was the June 10, 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Ricky Rudd with a MOV of 0.085 second. · There have been two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Michigan International Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2011 (200/203); and fall of 2012 (200/201). · Four of the 91 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 6/18/2006. · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway four times; most recently the spring of 2008 race. · One active driver has posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Michigan International Speedway : J.J. Yeley (6/17/2007). · Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver have posted their first career start at Michigan International Speedway : Carl Edwards (8/22/2004) and Landon Cassill (6/13/2010). · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Michigan with 1,058 laps led in 44 starts. · Four female drivers have competed at Michigan International Speedway
Practice leader Erik Jones will start on the pole in tonight's race RELATED: Full starting lineup " Practice speeds from Gateway Keystone Light Pole Qualifying got underway at Gateway Motorsports Park, but four minutes into the 20-minute opening round, a downpour put a hold on the session at the 1.25-mile track before ultimately washing out the three rounds of knockout qualifying. Since qualifying did not resume, NASCAR set the starting grid based on practice speeds, per the rule book. That puts Erik Jones on the pole position since he topped the lone practice session with a fast lap of 136.766 mph. Jones was also the fastest among the 16 drivers that made a lap during the opening round qualifying before the rain moved in, clocking a lap of 136.087 mph. Second-fastest in practice was JR Motorsports' Cole Custer (136.591 mph), who will start on the front row with Jones. Rounding out the top five from their top speeds in practice are ThorSport Racing's Matt Crafton (136.579 mph) and Johnny Sauter (136.285 mph), and GMS Racing's Brandon Jones (136.240 mph), respectively. Custer won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award for this race last year, an event that was ultimately won by Darrell Wallace Jr . There is no Air Titan at the track but there are jet dryers at work to dry the Illinois facility. The American Ethanol Presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren is the eighth race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2015. The 160-lap, 200 mile event is set for 8:30 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1 as well as MRN and SiriusXM. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR.com’s Marty Snider and Chris Rice talk about Kyle Busch’s win at Sonoma Raceway and the intensity being turned up at Daytona International Speedway as drivers look to lock themselves in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kurt Busch celebrates as winner of the Quicken Loans 400 in a make shift Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway.
Bruce: Challenges run deep for two-car organization After 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, Clint Bowyer finds himself 17th in the points standings, a position that's better than a lot of folks in the garage today. By picking up one or more spots between now and the fall race at Richmond, Bowyer would likely find himself in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Of course, a win would all but seal the deal as well. But there's a long stretch of lonesome asphalt between the Michael Waltrip Racing driver's current residence and Victory Lane these days. Competitive isn't a term that's been over-used this season at MWR when it comes to the organization's two Sprint Cup Series teams. Bowyer has managed only three top-10 finishes, no top-fives, and has led just two laps in 2015. The No. 15 team has been MWR's best this season, and that tells you all you need to know about the current status of the Cornelius, North Carolina-based group, co-owned by Michael Waltrip and Rob Kaufmann. The group's second entry, the No. 55, has been fighting to find its footing since the beginning of the season, with no apparent success. Primary driver Brian Vickers has been sidelined by yet another bout of blood clots -- his return isn't expected this season -- and the team's roster has featured three different drivers in his absence. David Ragan , the former Front Row Motorsports driver who took a short stint driving in relief of the injured Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing , is the most recent to settle into the seat, and only time will tell if stability provides any benefits. On Tuesday, MWR announced a crew chief swap between its two teams, moving Billy Scott from the No. 55 to the 15 and Brian Pattie from the 15 to the 55. Pattie's been to Victory Lane -- once with former Sprint Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya and three times with Bowyer. Scott, the former lead engineer for the No. 55, was handed the reins of that team after the conclusion of the 2013 season. It's a different approach, if not exactly a new one. Crew chief changes are one of the first lines of defense a team tries when results fail to meet expectations. Team chemistry is one of the few things that can't be measured on a set-up plate or with a template. No one knew that pairing crew chief Cole Pearn with driver Martin Truex Jr . this year at Furniture Row Racing would produce substantial results. Yet Truex just ended a 69-race winless streak, sits second in the points standings and has led the most laps in the past four Sprint Cup Series races. But while Pearn has proven to be a big plus for Furniture Row, his addition isn't the only reason behind the turnaround. The team is also putting fast race cars on the track each week. Competitive cars. MWR currently is not. Given that some drivers have been unable to find their comfort zone with the new rules package for 2015, perhaps that's worth consideration as well. But no one, save for the unheralded Brett Moffitt , has managed to crack the top 10 in the team's No. 55, suggesting that the problem goes deeper than the drivers' ability to adapt to the new less-horsepower, lower downforce platform. "We've got to make our cars better," Bowyer said during a break in Wednesday's open test at Darlington Raceway . It's a refrain the 36-year-old has made on more than one occasion this year. Asked who was ultimately responsible for such matters, Bowyer took a side street if not the high road, choosing instead to confirm how much he's looking forward to working with Scott. "Yeah, but we did change crew chiefs. … Billy’s a quiet guy but he's a fun person. He's a very, very smart person, very capable of doing this job," Bowyer said. Changing crew chiefs might solve some of the MWR's ills. It remains to be seen whether it will cure the disease. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JR Motorsports driver scored first 21 Means 21 Pole Award there in 2014 LONG POND, Pa. -- Rewind the clock back to a year ago: Cole Custer had made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts that resulted in two top-15 finishes. In his third race, the NASCAR Next product really turned heads at Gateway Motorsports Park, site of Saturday night's American Ethanol presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Custer scored his first 21 Means 21 Pole Award for the event last year as well as his first top-10 finish (a sixth-place result) in a NASCAR national series event. "I'm really looking forward to it just because we were so fast there last year," Custer told NASCAR.com at Pocono Raceway , where he ran in the Pocono ARCA 200 last weekend. "I think we are going to bring a real great truck and we are going to have a lot of speed. We are really looking forward to that one. We have it circled on our calendar." The 17-year-old California native ran a nine-race slate last year with Haas Racing Development. That includes a victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last fall, where he led 148 of 175 laps en route to becoming the youngest winner in NASCAR national series history. This season, Custer is helping to build the foundation for the truck operation at JR Motorsports, the Dale Earnhardt Jr .-owned racing team. "It's such a great organization," he said. "It's one of the top ones in NASCAR. It definitely helps us on the truck side trying to bring fast race cars to the track." Gateway will be the third of 10 planned races Custer will run for JRM this season, and part of a stretch that sees him run three races (Dover, Gateway and Iowa) in four weeks. Custer is not of age to run at tracks under 1.25-miles per the NASCAR rulebook. "You got to be good in (Turn) 1," Custer said of what he considers a key at Gateway. "You got to get your car turning. You are probably not going to be able to be perfect in both ends because the corners are different. Just being able to turn through Turn 1 and then being a little on the loose side in Turns 3 and 4. It's different a tricky track." To fill the gaps in his schedule, Custer is running a handful of ARCA events as well as some NASCAR K&N Pro Series races this summer. Moving between different series and cars is a bit of an adjustment for the young driver. "It's a little bit difficult," Custer said. "It usually takes you about half a practice session or so to get used to the different cars. Once you get used to it, it's just like anything else with driving. I think it makes you a better driver just from getting different feels and everything." That track time in other series could pay off big for Custer when the Truck Series hits Iowa for his fourth start of the season on June 19 for the American Ethanol 200 (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Custer finished eighth in the Truck Series race there last year. "I'm looking forward to Iowa, too, just because I won there in the past (2013) in the K&N Pro Series. I really like that track and I feel like we were pretty good there last year. We weren't dominant, but I feel like we got a real good package this year and I think we are going to be strong there." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Buescher: '(The Cup drivers) are really aggressive ... I need to learn from that' BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Every outing is a learning experience for NASCAR XFINITY Series point leader Chris Buescher . Saturday’s Great Clips 250 benefiting Paralyzed Veterans of America at Michigan International Speedway was no different. In a race that saw Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Busch return to Victory Lane and defending XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott finish second, Buescher had to fight to regain ground lost late in the season’s 13th race. “It was one of those days where we just lost a lot of momentum on restarts, and that’s on me,” the Roush Fenway Racing driver said after battling back to finish fourth at MIS and speaking briefly with team co-owner Jack Roush. “I’ve got to get better. “You bring all these Cup guys in and they’re really aggressive and they know how to do it and I need to learn from that. I need to figure out what they’re doing better than I am.”Buescher battles back for fourth-place finish at Michigan Buescher led twice for 23 laps in the 125-lap race. He inherited the lead on Lap 94 when then-leader Joey Logano and a handful of others hit pit road for fuel under caution. He held the top spot until Logano’s Team Penske Ford shot between Buescher and Busch to regain top spot on Lap 106. Although he slipped back several positions, additional restarts and a fast car enabled Buescher to pick his way back through the field. But the winner of two of the past three races prior to Michigan couldn’t pull off the comeback. “A lot of (what you learn) is just where to position yourself,” he said. “The outside had a huge advantage. When we were leading there, I let the 54 (of Busch) get to the outside of me. That’s on me. I didn’t need to let that happen. I’m not a fan of blocking, I think it’s part of it; you have to do a little bit of it to salvage these restarts.” Contact between Logano and Kevin Harvick in the closing laps allowed Elliott to move to the point and Busch to second. With three laps remaining, Busch powered his way into the lead. Buescher didn’t know if he’d have enough time to make a run at the leader as the laps wound down, noting “I knew it’d be close.” But he enjoyed having the car under him that at least gave him a chance. “I told the guys with about 25 to go that this was fun,” Buescher said. “This is how we need to show up to the races each week. “It was awesome and they did a heck of a job and it is a great points day but I really wish we had a chance to run for the win there.” Buescher now leads Ty Dillon (who finished 13th at Michigan) by 25 points. Elliott, Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace round out the top five. The series now moves to Chicagoland Speedway for the June 20th event under the lights at the 1.5-mile track. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule