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.
Crafton on Kes: 'That's pretty much an idiot right there' RELATED: Series standings " Full race results LONG POND, Pa. -- Matt Crafton and Brad Keselowski were involved in an early crash in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 on Saturday at Pocono Raceway that left the two-time defending series champion unhappy and in second place in the driver championship standings. Crafton and Keselowski made contact to bring out a caution on Lap 6 as the points leader entering Pocono went up to the outside and Keselowski made contact with his right side, sending both into the wall near Turn 3. The wreck left both with significant damage and ultimately Keselowski was out of the race, while Crafton's crew got to work to get him back on track. The No. 88 ThorSport Racing crew did get him back out, but he finished 56 laps down in 28th-place, his worst finish of the season. Keselowski, meanwhile, finished 30th. RELATED: 'Rowdy' wins at Pocono Crafton came into the race with a 14-point lead in the standings over Tyler Reddick . However, he left Pocono 11 points behind Reddick. The two national series champions -- Keselowski won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title in 2012 -- had a brief exchange in the garage before heading their separate ways. "That's your Cup champion," Crafton said while walking to examine his damaged truck. "That's pretty much an idiot right there right-rearing the guy racing for a championship. I guess maybe that's the way he wants his 19 truck to win the championship, but they've got a long ways to come right now. I'm telling you that." Crafton later added, "He's got another thing coming, I promise that truck won't win it. If that's the way he wants to do it, we'll get it done." Keselowski, making just his fourth Truck Series start of the season in the No. 29 Ford for his race team, told FOX Sports 1 he wasn't exactly sure what happened. "Something happened where obviously we made contact, I'm not entirely sure," Keselowski said. "After the 33 just passed me under in Turn 2, the 88 got a good run to pass me. We were entering Turn 3, and I heard someone say, the spotter, the 00 ( Kevin Harvick ) was going to make it three-wide. Then the next thing I knew, it looked like he went straight into the corner is what it looks like. Next thing I knew, we made contact. I was trying to get inline. "The last thing I want to do is wreck the points leader ... and end my own day as well. That's exactly what happened. These trucks are expensive, and it'll cost a lot to fix. I feel bad for Matt and his team, but I don't really know what to do differently. I was trying to fall inline. Somehow we just got together. "I have no interest in coming to the Truck Series and wrecking someone on purpose. Tyler Reddick is doing good job. He's got a ways to go to run with Matt. Matt's an awesome driver, and that's a great team. The last thing I want to do is go out and wreck him. I have no interest in going out and wrecking somebody intentionally." During a media availability on Friday, Crafton shared his thoughts about running with some of the Sprint Cup Series drivers in this race and in the series in general. "It's really cool to see the Cup guys come run the Truck Series. I wish more of them would. It always helps the Camping World Truck Series to get some of the Cup guys down here and for the regular Truck guys like myself we love to go race against them because they're great race car drivers. "They get to do it a lot more than we do. We get 23 races a year. Kyle (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick) and Austin (Dillon) and all of those guys get to run the ( XFINITY ) races and Cup races. They're definitely very good at what they do because they get so much seat time and it's very good for the series and I wish they ran more of them." The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be back in action on Aug. 15 at Michigan International Speedway for the Careers for Veterans 200 presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). MORE: Full 2015 Truck schedule FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Wally Dallenbach takes the Toyota Camry Test Car for a lap around Michigan International Speedway .
Drivers debate aero rules while at open test at Bristol Motor Speedway Maybe they aren’t completely sold on the high drag package that debuted this past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway , but after a couple of days to chew on the results, drivers seemed a bit less vocal in their level of disappointment with the platform. "I applaud NASCAR for trying, doing everything they can," Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards said during a break in Wednesday's open test at Bristol Motor Speedway . "They're trying all these different things to produce the best racing they can." Not exactly an endorsement for the Indy package, which will also be used in August when the Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway , but an understanding of what NASCAR officials are hoping to develop. However, Edwards, who finished 13th at Indy after winning the pole, remains steadfast in his belief that the continued reduction in downforce is the best route. "I believe the racing as we lose aero dependency, as they take downforce away, you're just going to see better and better racing," he said. "… I really think the more we go back toward that, the better off we're going to be." The high drag package featured a 9-inch spoiler (a 3-inch increase) as well as other aero changes. Downforce was impacted, but only slightly. Instead, the taller spoiler created a larger wake of air behind the cars. Ryan Blaney , 12th at Indy, said he thought the high drag package "showed promise." "There are good things and bad things you can take away from each package," the Wood Brothers Racing driver said. "That's what it's always going to be no matter what package you bring; there's always going to be positives and negatives and drivers are going to have different feedback about every one. "I thought the high drag package really helped us get big runs down the straightaways behind other cars and you could make a move getting in the corner. But Indy being a single-lane race track it was hard to kind of make a move in the corner. You had to kind of set yourself up for the straightaway." Michael Waltrip Racing driver David Ragan agreed that the taller spoiler and other configurations made for a better closing rate on others when coming off the corners and onto the long straightaways at Indy. "But once you got to their back bumper, once you pulled out, you really couldn't do anything with that run," Ragan, who finished 21st, said. "It was real easy to stall out. I'm not an aero specialist so I don't know if we could tweak on that … I thought the cars changed balance a lot behind other cars. … When I could run by myself, my car would be a little on the tight side and when I would catch a car, or if I caught two cars side-by-side in front of me, my car would shift to really, really loose really quick. "I think just all the air off of their cars was disruptive and I didn't have any consistent air on mine. You had to be on the wheel and on top of it making adjustments certainly when you were in traffic or by yourself." While Indy's 2.5-mile course is tight, one-groove and without much banking, Michigan should be a better barometer for the package. "I think you will see some bigger packs at Michigan ," Ragan said. "You’ve got a little more grip in the race track, you've got a little more banking, definitely more grooves so I think you've got more options to run two- and three-wide in the corners. "But I think my big concern is the handling for those guys that are in the middle of the pack. The cars in the top four or five are going to have a very good advantage just from the fact of having clean air. Those guys running 20th are going to have to fight a different fight because of handling. "It will definitely be, in my opinion, a little better going to Michigan just because the race track will promote a little better racing." Tire Chatter Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series teams competing at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway this weekend will run the same Goodyear tire codes and a combination that's been used at the 2.5-mile, three-turn track since 2012. According to Goodyear, the tire combination is used only at Pocono. Meanwhile, XFINITY Series teams competing this weekend at Iowa Speedway will use the same combination used there earlier this season. Indy Violations There were 31 pit-road penalties handed down during Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard, nearly half of which were due to team pitting before pit road was open. NASCAR officials announced a P3-level penalty Wednesday levied against the No. 98 Premium Motorsports team for an unattached weight that fell of the car during practice at IMS. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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