Wally Dallenbach takes the Toyota Camry Test Car for a lap around Michigan International Speedway .
Matthew Strickert and Kenny Bruce discuss the fast speed of Michigan International Speedway and pick which drivers could possibly hoist the trophy in the Quicken Loans 400.
Catch up before Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) What: 47th annual Quicken Loans 400 Where: Michigan International Speedway , 2-mile D-shaped oval in Brooklyn, Michigan When: Sunday, June 14, 2015 TV/Radio: FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Distance: 200 laps (400 miles) Green Flag: 1:16.30 p.m. ET Pit Road Speed: 55 mph Caution Car Speed: 65 mph Fuel Window: 40 laps On The Front Row " Complete lineup 1. Kasey Kahne , Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet (201.992 mph) 2. Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (201.613 mph) Failed to Qualify Brendan Gaughan , Premium Motorsports No. 62 Chevrolet Fastest In Practice First Practice: Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (202.492 mph) " Results Second Practice: Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (201.084 mph) " Results Third Practice: Jeff Gordon , Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet (198.604 mph) " Results Kahne's pole streak ends Kasey Kahne will start first in Sunday's 400-miler, thanks to his first Coors Light Pole Award since October 2012 at Kansas Speedway , a span of 90 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. "I think the competition is much closer," Kahne said of the qualifying dry spell. "I think the drivers, the teams are better than what they used to be. A lot of times a tenth (of a second) separates 15 cars. I don't remember it being quite like that when I first came into the sport when poles seemed to be easier to win at that time." Manufacturer mix With the automotive hub of Detroit not far from the 2-mile speedway , NASCAR's manufacturers place an extra emphasis on winning in their own backyard. Among current automakers in the sport, Ford has 34 wins, Chevrolet has 22 and Toyota four. Angling for a triple Hendrick Motorsports holds a modest two-race win streak at Michigan after sweeping the track's events last year with Jimmie Johnson prevailing in June and Jeff Gordon coming home first in August. History lesson NASCAR's premier series began racing at Michigan International Speedway in 1969, with Cale Yarborough winning the Motor State 500. Longtime team owner Roger Penske rescued the track from bankruptcy in 1973 and managed the facility until International Speedway Corp., took over in July 1999. While the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte remains NASCAR's longest race, Michigan once scheduled its own 600-miler for its second event. But rain shortened the race after 165 of 300 laps for an abbreviated distance of 330 miles. Driver Rating Best driver rating average at Michigan based on past 10 years: 1. Greg Biffle , 107.1 2. Jimmie Johnson , 102.5 3. Matt Kenseth , 101.3 Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet Former Michigan winners in the field Greg Biffle (4); Jeff Gordon (3); Kurt Busch , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Matt Kenseth , Ryan Newman (2); Kyle Busch , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Joey Logano , Tony Stewart (1). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Race marked Busch's first start in XFINITY competition since Daytona injury RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings BROOKLYN, Mich. – In his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race back from a broken right leg and left foot, Kyle Busch proved conclusively that he hasn't lost a step. Taking advantage of contact between the Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick and the Ford of polesitter Joey Logano —as those two drivers were battling for the lead—Busch passed Chase Elliott for the lead on Lap 122 of 125 and held on to win Saturday's Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway . Busch's series-best 71st victory, his second at the two-mile track, came nearly two months after the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sidelined by a brutal Feb. 21 crash into a concrete wall in Turn 1 at Daytona International Speedway . Busch returned to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action in the Sprint All-Star Race in May, but deferred his XFINITY Series comeback to Saturday's race at Michigan . "It feels good," Busch said after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "This is only a preliminary for what we’ve got to do on Sundays (in the Sprint Cup Series), but it's a start. You've got to start somewhere, right? "I can't say enough about this team. (Crew chief) Chris Gayle did an awesome job today with this race car. We messed up a little bit today on a pit call, but we made up for it. Hard racing today, man. It was crazy, the side-by-side action we got here. The track's kind of widening out, lending itself to some cool action." After a restart on Lap 116, the race unraveled for Logano and Harvick. As the two drivers fought for the lead in Turn 3, with Logano to the outside, Harvick's Chevrolet got loose and washed up the track into Logano's Ford. WATCH: Harvick, Logano discuss late contact at Michigan The right rear of Logano's Ford brushed the outside wall, but both drivers were able to continue, albeit after losing several positions. Harvick finished sixth, and Logano, who led a race-high 54 laps came home seventh. Harvick took responsibility for the incident. "I just got loose underneath him," Harvick explained. "I had a huge run down the back straightaway. That late in the race, I figured I need to try to win the race, and I got in there, and he was on the outside of me, but it was too late to not have contact at that point. "So totally my fault. I just got loose under him going for the win." Harvick's mea culpa was little consolation for Logano, who had the race's dominant car for most of the day. "We were racing for a win here, and it just seems like he drove in there pretty hard trying to slide me," Logano said. "I drove up in there, too, and he got loose underneath me and got into my left rear and up we both went into the race track. "It's unfortunate. I had a fast Discount Tire Ford, obviously the winning car, leading a ton of laps and up there at the end of the race. I was racing hard, and he just drove over his head a little bit." Despite his runner-up finish, Elliott left Michigan disappointed he couldn't find a way to keep Busch behind him in the closing laps. "I'll be honest—second does not feel good, to me at least," Elliott said. "I thought we had a car good enough to compete today… We finally got ourselves in position there. We had two even-numbered restarts where we were six and fourth (in the preferred outside lane) that put us in position there to have an opportunity on that last restart. "Obviously, the 22 (Logano) would have been really hard to beat, and Kevin got into him by accident and moved him up the race track. Obviously, that opened up our opportunity to have a shot at the win… (Kyle) is really good at what he does, and I don’t really have an excuse for it. So, yeah, he outran me." Kyle Larson finished third, followed by Chris Buescher , who extended his series lead to 25 points over Ty Dillon , who came home 13th. Elliott is third in the standings, 35 points back. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet ready to compete in the Irish Hills MORE: Daytona paint scheme revealed for No. 88 SHOP: Dale Jr. gear, paint schemes CONCORD, N.C. -- The paint schemes on his No. 88 Chevrolet continue to impress Dale Earnhardt Jr. , especially his look for this weekend. At a 7-Eleven just minutes from Charlotte Motor Speedway , Earnhardt showed off the fresh look that his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride, sponsored by AMP Energy, will have at Michigan International Speedway for the Quicken Loans 400 (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). "This is definitely unique," Earnhardt told NASCAR.com. "I like the idea behind the paint scheme and how it came about. I had a little influence on the paint scheme itself. I think it's pretty cool. I have never ran a car with purple on it, so that's new. "And I enjoy being involved in that part of it. I want to like the car that I'm driving. I want to like the way it looks, and that sort of is a bit of a motivating factor behind driving the race car in the first place, is to be able to design it and paint it yourself." So what influence did Junior have on the look that fans ultimately chose as the winner in a Facebook contest? "Some of the logo placements. The big deal on the door. They had some other things going on, where all that was a lot smaller, and I thought some of that stuff should get really blown up and be obnoxious on the side of the car to sort of give the car a little bit more of a dynamic look and some more energy. "They sort of had these little passion fruit emblems placed sporadically along the car and they were a lot smaller. And I just thought, 'Man this stuff should be coming at you and be really big.' " The Concord, North Carolina 7-Eleven location won the event and appearance from the sport's most popular driver by being the store of the 70-plus 7-Eleven's in the Charlotte area to sell the most AMP Energy drinks from May 18 to June 3. Passion Fruit is one of four new flavors AMP Energy recently introduced to its product line of energy drinks and is the one that will be featured on the No. 88 Chevrolet. Fans came in full force to see the Hendrick Motorsports driver, and the interaction with Junior Nation is something that the driver values tremendously, whether it is in person or through social media. Last month, Earnhardt crossed the one million followers mark on Twitter. "Trying to keep an understanding, I guess, of where they're at mentally with what we're doing, whether they're enjoying the marketing, the partnerships that we're creating. What they think about our racing and obviously our efforts out on the track. The best way to really get an understanding of that is to reach out and have conversation and let 'em rip. They tell you about the cars that they like, the partnerships you've created that they like and give you a good idea of where to focus your energy." RELATED: #TBT recalls Dale Jr.'s two Michigan wins This weekend, Earnhardt will be competing in the Irish Hills at the 2-mile venue at Michigan . He has two wins in 31 starts at the track and both of those wins snapped sizable winless streaks. Last year, Earnhardt finished seventh in the June race and fifth in the August race. The driver, who is fifth in the point standings and won at Talladega Superspeedway last month, feels good heading into the weekend. "I really enjoy racing there. Every time we show up to the racetrack, we go with new ideas because Greg (Ives, who is in his first year as the crew chief of the No. 88 team), he brings a lot more to the table that we didn't have last year. We ran great last year, but anytime you bring in a new guy, with new ideas, it adds to it and you hope that it improves and hope that it allows you to be more competitive. "The cars have been real fast and real fun to drive this year and that's a real, direct connection to Greg and his ideas and his ability to work with our lead engineer, Kevin (Meendering). I'm looking forward to it. We should run well, have fun. We've been enjoying ourselves this year, and it should be another week of that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver paces field with best speed of 191.215 mph RELATED: Full practice results Chase Elliott came out of nowhere to squeak to the top of the leaderboard in the final seconds of the day’s only XFINITY Series practice on Friday, making his way around Michigan International Speedway at a blistering pace of 191.215 mph. Aric Almirola had just bumped his way to the top seconds earlier to finish second at 190.446 mph. Brian Scott and Chris Buescher had been tied atop the leaderboard for most of the session before falling to third and fourth, respectively. The pair of series regulars finished with a 190.285 mph clip around the 2-mile track, enough to best Buescher’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate Darrell Wallace Jr . (190.134 mph, who placed fifth) and Scott’s Richard Childress Racing teammate and defending race winner Paul Menard (190.114 mph, who placed sixth) Kyle Busch , making his first return to XFINITY Series competition since a crash in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway sidelined him for several months, was seventh on the chart 190.019 mph. After rain washed out the first practice session, the final practice started nine minutes early and ran until 3:55 p.m. ET. Qualifying for Saturday’s Great Clips 250 Benefiting Paralyzed Veterans of America (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) is set to begin earlier in the day at 10:15 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Stewart-Haas Racing driver picks up second victory of season RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SHOP: Kurt gear BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Starting 24th in a backup car, Kurt Busch fought his way to the front of the field through intermittent rain showers and won Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway when a deluge halted the race after 138 of a scheduled 200 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr . was second when NASCAR red-flagged the event for the fourth time. Martin Truex Jr . was credited with third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski . The victory was Busch’s second of the season. He won for the third time at Michigan and for the 27th time in his career. "It's an unbelievable feeling to know what we went through, paced ourselves, and found the lead toward the latter part of the race when the rain came in," Busch said in Victory Lane. "You know what’s more special about this? Winning in Chevrolet's backyard. That’s what's most important about winning in Michigan , so thanks to Chevrolet." That his team had put in extra hours to ready a backup car after Busch hit the wall in Friday’s opening practice was not lost on the winning driver. "Yeah, you have to get down and dirty," Busch said. "You have to really roll up your sleeves, get your elbows dirty, and put the work into it. And (crew chief) Tony Gibson makes these guys work a little extra hard. "I always say thanks. I'm always there early with them. And it's a great team chemistry feel." Busch grabbed the lead for the first time on Lap 133 when Kyle Larson 's gas-mileage gamble came up short and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was forced to pit road for fuel just as a storm cell was advancing toward the speedway . Busch had pushed Larson to the lead after a restart on Lap 130, but Larson hadn’t gotten fuel since Lap 88, and crew chief Chris Heroy was gambling that the rain would arrive before Larson ran out of gas. As it turned out, the rain came three laps too late for Heroy's strategy to bear fruit. The heavy thunderstorm arrived on Lap 136, forcing NASCAR to throw a caution and then to red-flag the race for the fourth time two laps later, with Busch out. Busch also got an unintended assist from teammate Kevin Harvick , who led 63 laps in the race’s dominant car. Harvick held a lead of roughly four seconds when he brought his No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road on Lap 120, but the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion had to return to his pit stall two laps later because of a flat right front tire. Harvick lost two laps in the process and was 29th when NASCAR called the race shortly after 6 p.m. Earnhardt was on the inside beside Larson for the final restart, but the push from Busch propelled Larson to his short-lived lead, and Busch followed to the outside of Earnhardt's car. "When it came to the restarts, we didn't take off as well as the 41," Earnhardt said. "We saw the same thing at Charlotte, the 78 (Truex) and the 41 take off real good. "We were just kind of tight waiting on the front to work, don't have the good speed that they have the first three or four laps, and that was the difference today, and the 4 (Harvick) having the trouble he had. He had the field covered." If fortune favored Kurt Busch on Sunday, the same can't be said for brother Kyle Busch , whose car slipped on damp asphalt in Turn 3 and shot into the outside wall to bring out the third caution on Lap 52. In what may be the decisive blow to his prospects of making the Chase after missing the first 11 races because of injuries sustained at Daytona in February, Busch finished 43rd. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kevin Harvick leads earlier Saturday session RELATED: Practice 3 results Jeff Gordon topped the leaderboard in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 198.604 mph. Gordon, who is the most recent race winner at Michigan , edged Kyle Busch (198.571 mph), with Martin Truex Jr . (198.571 mph), Kyle Larson (198.495 mph) and Kevin Harvick (198.358 mph) rounding out the top five. Harvick led the first two practice sessions, including the one early Saturday that was delayed by weather conditions. Denny Hamlin spun in Turn 4 and brought out the red flag with about 35 minutes left in practice. Hamlin suffered damage to the right-front fender of his No. 11 Toyota when his tire blew. Hamlin was forced to go to a backup car. ( UPDATE: Hamlin's crew repaired his primary car and didn't go to a backup.) Just outside of the top five was Dale Earnhardt Jr ., followed by Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Brad Keselowski and Hamlin. Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 is set for 1 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM. Harvick tops second practice session Practice 2 results The fog in the Irish Hills couldn't put a damper on Kevin Harvick 's speed in the second of three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet posted a lap of 201.084 mph to pace practice on Saturday morning at Michigan International Speedway in a session that started 30 minutes late because of foggy, damp conditions at the track. Coors Light Pole Award winner Kasey Kahne finished second to Harvick, who also led Friday's opening round of practice. Kahne, who was the only other driver to top 200 mph, was followed by Kyle Larson , Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr . to round out the top five. Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson was 10th at 198.769 mph. The caution flag came out less than 10 minutes into the session because of debris in Turns 1 and 2. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kevin Harvick will also start from the front row in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 RELATED: Full qualifying results " See the 43-car lineup BROOKLYN, Mich. – Kevin Harvick had his sights set on a clean sweep of knockout qualifying at Michigan International Speedway —until Kasey Kahne had other ideas late in Friday’s final round. Kahne sped around the two-mile track in 35.645 seconds (201.992 mph) to knock Harvick off the pole for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Harvick, who posted a 201.613 mph lap in the final session, had topped the charts in the first two rounds, matching Kahne's pole-winning time in the second. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kahne's first of the season and the 27th of his career—but his first since the October 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway . Brad Keselowski (201.449 mph) qualified third, followed by Carl Edwards (201.067 mph) and Ryan Blaney (201.056 mph), who is running a partial schedule in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. With a 2012 repaving project having narrowed the racing groove at Michigan , Kahne underscored the value of starting up front—and staying there. "It's going to be really important," said Kahne, who also gets the benefit of selecting pit stall No. 1., closest to the exit from pit road. "The track is going to change a lot, though, come Sunday, with all the racing going on this weekend and then our practices (on Saturday). "The track will be a lot different Sunday. So, there will be some passing for sure, but it's not going to be easy. So track position will play a big role in being there at the end of the race." Harvick remains the only driver to sweep all three rounds of qualifying at a single track, a feat he accomplished last year at Michigan and Indianapolis, but he fell .067 seconds of doing so for a third time. "I don't know that I got everything out of it (the final lap), but the rounds were within seven hundredths (of a second) of each other, " Harvick said. "The guys were doing a great job, and Kasey just got a little bit better lap there than we did." With possible rain in the forecast, Blaney was nervous as qualifying approached, but not because of the competition. If rain had washed out time trials, the Wood Brothers Racing car would not have made the field, based on fewest qualifying attempts this season—a product of a limited schedule. "It was funny the way it played out," Blaney said. "It looked like two cells coming at us (on the radar), and a small slit in the middle of them, and we passed right through that slit. That was just kind of lucky for us. "Like I said, it would have stung knowing how good of a car we had in practice if qualifying rained out. We're fortunate to get it in, and it's a bonus to have a good race car." Brendan Gaughan , who unlike Blaney would have benefited from a rainout, failed to make the 43-car field.
Wet weather impacts opening Sprint Cup practice, delays XFINITY Series RELATED: Live weather updates from Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Rain came and went during Friday's opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway , and then the wet weather washed out the opening 60-minute NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, which was slated to run from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. XFINITY Series cars were able to hit the track for the scheduled final practice. Actually, the track went green about eight minutes before the scheduled start time of 2:30 p.m. ET, giving the teams a little extra time. Final XFINITY practice was set to run until 3:55 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 ahead of Saturday's Great Clips 250 benefiting Paralyzed Veterans of America (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). On-track activity started at 11:30 a.m. ET start at the 2-mile track in preparation for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM), the 15th of 36 races this season. But light rain under gray, threatening skies placed practice on hold two different times. Defending Sprint Cup Series champion and current point standings leader Kevin Harvick topped the session. Coors Light Pole Qualifying for Sprint Cup cars is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2.