James Buescher celebrates with his son, Steston, for the first time after his Michigan National Guard 200 victory.
James Buescher breaks down his Michigan National Guard 200 win and how the victory will turn the team's season around.
Kyle Busch was frustrated by his second place finish, while Joey Logano was upbeat in commenting on his fourth place finish in the Michigan National Guard 200 .
RELATED: See all 43 cars " Full starting lineup The pit stall assignments are out for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, and Coors Light Pole Award Winner Matt Kenseth got to pick first on where he will pit. Kenseth chose pit stall 1 to service his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota; which is the first pit stall off pit road leading into Turn 1. Second-place qualifier Denny Hamlin , in the No. 11 Toyota, has the pit stall just in front of the start-finish line at the 2-mile track. Carl Edwards (starting third) will pit in the 22nd pit stall, just past start-finish line. Austin Dillon 's No. 3 Chevrolet (starting fourth) will be pitting in the second pit stall, right behind Kenseth while Tony Stewart (starting fifth) chose the fourth pit stall. Kenseth, Hamlin and Kasey Kahne (starting 11th) all have openings in front of them on pit road. The Pure Michigan 400 ( 200 laps, 400 miles) on Sunday, Aug. 16 at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM)
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results Matt Crafton soared atop the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series leaderboard Friday afternoon, posting the fastest lap in final practice at Michigan International Speedway. The two-time defending series champion registered a fast lap of 186.659 mph in the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota. His time was almost a tenth of a second faster than Daniel Hemric , who was fastest in Friday's opening practice for Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation (Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Hemric turned a slightly faster 186.210 mph lap in final practice in the NTS Motorsports No. 14 Chevrolet. Cameron Hayley also backed up his second-fastest speed in the first session with a third-best 185.907 in the final session behind the wheel of the ThorSport No. 13 Toyota. Cody Coughlin , a 19-year-old development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing , was fourth-fastest in preparation for just his second Truck Series start, driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota. He was just ahead of Austin Dillon , who rounded out the top five in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet. Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch was sixth-fastest, just ahead of points leader Tyler Reddick . Keystone Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 9:40 a.m. ET Saturday (FOX Sports 1). Hemric hangs on to top spot in first practice Daniel Hemric shot to the top of the leaderboard in opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Michigan International Speedway. Hemric, driving the NTS Motorsports No. 14 Chervrolet, turned a fast lap of 185.009 mph on the 2-mile track. The 24-year-old driver is scheduled to make just his 16th start in the series in Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). NASCAR Next product Cameron Hayley was second-fastest in the ThorSport Racing No. 13 Toyota at 184.186 mph. Michigan native Erik Jones was third-fastest at 184.082 mph on his home track in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota. Alex Bowman , set to make his truck series debut for JR Motorsports, was fourth-best, followed by fellow Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch to complete the top five. Johnny Sauter , last year's winner at Michigan , was sixth-fastest in the ThorSport Racing No. 98 Toyota. He was slightly faster than two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton , his ThorSport teammate in the No. 88 Toyota. Spencer Gallagher 's scrape with the Turn 2 wall halted practice with approximately 13 minutes left in the 55-minute session. His GMS Racing team unloaded a new No. 23 Chevrolet after his primary truck suffered significant right-rear fender damage.
RELATED: Full race lineup Matt Crafton , who lost the series points lead in the most recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, won his first Keystone Light Pole Award since 2012 with a top speed of 184.502 mph in Saturday's qualifying at Michigan International Speedway. The last driver out in the final round, Crafton was fast enough in his No. 88 Toyota to knock Daniel Hemric (183.833 mph) to the second position. Austin Dillon , Ben Kennedy and Timothy Peters round out the top five for the Careers for Veterans 200 presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation, which is scheduled for later today (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Qualifying at the 2-mile track consisted of two rounds, with each truck taking one timed lap in the opening round, then the 12 fastest advancing to the final round in which they ran another timed lap. The rest of the top 12, in order of starting position: Cameron Hayley (sixth), Erik Jones , John Wes Townley , Johnny Sauter , Kyle Busch , Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney . Daniel Hemric , the last truck on track in the opening round, knocked Tyler Young off the bubble and to a 13th-place starting position.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Kenseth gear BROOKLYN, Mich. -- From Matt Kenseth 's point of view, the competition package NASCAR used at Michigan International Speedway could well have had a big, bright bow on it. The Coors Light Pole-sitter for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Kenseth quickly exhibited his mastery of the high-drag aerodynamic package, leading 146 of 200 laps in winning for the third time this season, the third time at Michigan and the 34th time in his career. The 2003 premier series champion had to survive a restart with 13 laps left, after Jimmie Johnson spun off Turn 4 to cause the eighth and final caution of the race. With a push from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin , Kenseth cleared Kevin Harvick after the Lap 187 restart and went on to win by 1.722 seconds. "Denny did a spectacular job pushing me," Kenseth said of the last run. "From the restart zone to about Turn 2 was like a superspeedway race -- whoever got locked up -- and those Chevys could really hook up. "Denny did a heck of a job giving me a good push there to get by. Honestly, the toughest one was with the 3 (Dillon, with the two drivers swapping the lead after a restart on Lap 131). We went back and forth a few times and made some contact there, and it was hard to get away from him. My car took about five laps to get going, but once it got going, it was pretty stellar." Harvick ran out of fuel under green on Lap 114 but recovered to finish second. Martin Truex Jr . ran third, followed by Austin Dillon (who started from the rear of the field after an engine change) and Hamlin. Kenseth's victory was the fifth for Joe Gibbs Racing in the last six Sprint Cup races but Kenseth stopped short of declaring the JGR cars the favorites for the series championship this year. There are three regular-season races left before the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs start at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 20. "It's early to talk favorites -- there's so much racing to do, and there are 16 teams (in the Chase) that are capable of winning races on a weekly basis as well as a championship," Kenseth said. "It's one week at a time like always. "It's been a great week, and we've had a great couple months. We definitely have some momentum built. The guys gave us a rocket today and gave us rockets the last couple months. We're just going to work hard to try to keep it rolling." Harvick, the reigning series champion, has finished second in five of his last six starts at Michigan , and he notched his seventh runner-up result since winning his second race of the season at Phoenix in March. "We had an up-and-down day, that's for sure," Harvick said. "The first half of the race or so (we) really struggled with the handling of the car. The guys did a great job of getting that, and then ran out of gas and came back and didn't lose a lap and were able to have a good enough handling car to drive back up through there. "Just really proud of my team and everything that they did. I didn't have anything for the 20 (Kenseth) today, but for everything that we overcame, it was still a good day." Despite starting from the rear of the field, Kyle Busch finished 11th, solidified his position in the top 30 in points and moved closer to a spot in the Chase. Now 29th in the standings, Busch leads 30th-place Justin Allgaier by 18 points and 31st-place Cole Whitt by 23. A four-time winner since returning from an 11-race injury absence, Busch must be in the top 30 after 26 races to lock up a spot in the Chase. Clint Bowyer 's Chase hopes took the hardest hit on Sunday. After running consistently in the top five, Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota bounced off the outside backstretch wall on Lap 126 -- the result of contact with Ryan Newman 's Chevrolet -- and careened into the inside wall. Bowyer finished 41st and dropped one position in the standings to 15th, 23 points ahead of Aric Almirola in 16th and 26 ahead of Kasey Kahne in 17th. Bowyer currently is in the final Chase-eligible position. If the next three races produce one or more unique winners, however, his Chase spot could be in serious jeopardy.
NASCAR's new high drag package gets its second shakedown of the season this weekend as Sprint Cup Series teams return to Michigan International Speedway for Sunday's running of the Pure Michigan 400 . The rules configuration debuted last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and produced mixed results. While much data was accumulated, the competition on the relatively flat, 2.5-mile track appeared to be generally unaffected by the changes. Changes included a 9-inch spoiler on the rear deck (increased from six inches) with a 1-inch wicker bill; a rear fascia extension panel similar to those used for superspeedway events, a 2-inch leading edge on the splitter and a 43-inch splitter extension panel (radiator pan). "The original (aero) package ... was for Michigan ; we had built this package specifically for Michigan and then worked to implement it into Indianapolis," Steve O'Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, told NASCAR.com on Tuesday. "We feel comfortable with the package we have set up ... but we certainly learned some things at Indy. "If we can improve the car in a more efficient manner, then we're going to do that. We've talked to teams about what gear ratio should be implemented, and we'll have some adjustments potentially for Michigan , and then that dialogue will continue Friday (at the track)." Four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon expects the combination of speed and less front-end downforce on a trailing car, created by the taller spoiler on the lead car, to create excitement as well as uncertainty. "I can promise you if you get in the corner behind somebody it's going to be a white knuckle experience," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "It was at Indy so I know it's really going to be one at Michigan . You are going to be really searching for clean air." Gordon called the aero package "great if you are in a straight line." "It offers some really cool drafting opportunities and if you have some momentum that you carry off the corner it's really cool," he said. "As soon as you get behind a car and you need downforce, it takes it all away. "A big wide track like Michigan , as long as we can get away from the cars in the corners I think that it has the potential to create that big draft and momentum down the straightaways which is what we are all hoping for." Former series champ Brad Keselowski said cars will need to be "staggered" to run different racing grooves through the turns at MIS "to try to keep your downforce in the corner when you need it to keep the car going through the corner as fast as possible." "At Indy," the Team Penske driver said, "you don't have a lot of width to really pull that off, but at Michigan I think there's quite a bit more width to the track, especially down in Turns 3 and 4 to where you could possibly pull that maneuver off." Ray Evernham, the former crew chief who helped guide Gordon to three of his four titles, said the narrow racing groove and tighter corner radius at Indy led to more off throttle time but presented less room to make a move. At Michigan , "it's multiple grooves and pretty wide. "So I think they'll get more of the passing they're looking for," he said. Evernham said he doesn't believe the current configuration is a "fix-all" as officials seek to dial in different aero packages for several venues hosting Sprint Cup Series events. "I understand they have to have drag to keep the cars from running 200 -plus mph and flying through the air, but I think if you take enough downforce off them they’re not going to be going that fast anyway no matter how big or how fast the motors are," he said. "You've got to have drag. I get that. But, if you can't get to that throttle, you’re not going to use that ... horsepower. I would like to see them continue to take more out. I think these guys are spending a lot of time and I know a lot of money doing nothing but wind tunnel and CFD and I just don't think that's healthy for the sport." NASCAR also debuted a low downforce package earlier this month at Kentucky Speedway. That package is scheduled to be used once more this year -- when the Sprint Cup Series travels to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for next month's BoJangles' Southern 500. Neither the high drag nor new low downforce package is currently scheduled for use in any of this season's final 10 races that make up the Chase for the Sprint Cup . Goodyear: Same for Cup but NCWTS gets a tweak Goodyear officials say the same tire combination used earlier this year at MIS will be used this weekend in the Sprint Cup Series. It will be just the second time this particular right-side tire has been provided at the 2-mile track. Competitors in the Camping World Truck Series will see a change in the right-side tire, which should improve wear. It is the same combination used earlier this season at Kansas Speedway. At Mid-Ohio, site of the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 , XFINITY Series teams will use the same build of tire used there since 2013. The tire was also used this past weekend at Watkins Glen and will be used when the series travels to Road America later this month. Wet weather tires will also be provided in case of inclement weather at Mid-Ohio, one of three road-course venues on which XFINITY Series teams will be competing during a four-week span.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase standings Below is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Michigan International Speedway. 1. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth followed up his first Michigan pole with his third win in the Irish Hills. " WATCH: Two out of three for Kenseth 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick led 15 laps before running out of fuel on Lap 114 and rallied to earn his 16th top-five finish, a series best. 3. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . A loose wheel initially cost Truex track position, and he spent the day fighting for his seventh top-five finish of the season. 4. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon took the lead after not pitting during the competition caution and continually battled for the lead before earning his career best finish. " WATCH: Dillon: 'It was a fun day for us' 5. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin lined up from outside pole -- his best Michigan start -- and employed the high line en route to his sixth top-five at the two-mile oval. 6. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards had a strong day overall but did have a little trouble. He had to drop from second to 11th for not maintaining car speed under caution, but he rallied from that. 7. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . After running as high as second, Logano quietly steered his ride to his 17th top-10 finish of the season. 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman honored mentor Buddy Baker by putting the late NASCAR legend’s name above his passenger side door for the race weekend. " MORE: See Newman's tribute to the late Buddy Baker 9. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The Rochester Hills, Michigan , native improved eight spots on pit road after just taking fuel during the competition caution and held steady in the top 15 for the remainder of the race. 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt restarted 15th on Lap 188 and picked up five spots in the closing laps to earn his 14th top-10 of the year. " MORE: Dale Jr. moved by gift from fan 11. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kyle Busch qualified sixth but started from the rear of the field after wrecking his fast primary in the final practice. The team struggled to put the same setup in his backup. " WATCH: Busch: 'It wasn't what we wanted' 12. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard and his team chased a tight-handling condition that was predominant exiting the turns around Michigan's two-mile oval. 13. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felx Sabates. Larson made the most of his day despite getting into the wall to achieve his fourth straight top-15 result. 14. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola led Laps 173-175 before hitting pit road for fuel with 25 laps to go. " MORE: Almirola misses some practice due to illness 15. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne salvaged his day, which at first seemed dampened thanks to a pit road speeding penalty during the competition caution. 16. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates . Around Lap 160, McMurray reported that his engine sounded funny, but he managed to finish the race. 17. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . " When I come in, I need ice water, ice bags, everything," Gordon radioed his team, hinting at the extreme in-car temperatures; which escalated to over 150 degrees. " For more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 18. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan lined up 13th, but experienced an aero issue getting into Turn 2 and spun to bring out the first caution flag. 19. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish picked up five spots on pit road when he stopped for right-side scuffed tires and lined up 13th for the Lap 188 restart. 20. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The spring Michigan winner cut a tire with less than 60 laps to go and had to make an unscheduled pit stop. 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart told his team early that he was having trouble keeping the car under him, and that became a reality on Lap 136 when he spun in Turn 4 to bring out the seventh caution flag. 22. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne used the wave around to improve upon his 25th starting spot. 23. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle's day could be summed up in seven words: No side bite and no rear grip. 24. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . When Tony Stewart spun on Lap 136, Blaney got into the wall trying to avoid him and sustained a flat tire and fender damage. 25. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . While running 23rd, Patrick radioed to her team with 54 laps to go that her loose-handling car was a handful in traffic. " MORE: Danica press conference set for Tuesday 26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . At the outset of the race, Stenhouse reported that his car was plowing tight and that made forward progress difficult. 27. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt made his best Michigan start on Sunday and encountered rising temps thanks to debris on his grille late in the race. 28. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger was running 29th with 25 laps to go and was thankful the caution flag waved on Lap 183 so he could get fuel and make it to the end. 29. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier was running 21st when he hit pit road under the competition caution. A hung lugnut cost him time and he resumed running 30th. 30. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . After making his best Michigan start, DiBenedetto snagged his best Michigan result. 31. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman worked to find a comfortable line during his fourth Michigan outing. 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . "I've never been this loose in all my life," Gilliland radioed his team, who continually made adjustments throughout Sunday's 200 -lap event. " For more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 33. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Burton didn’t have high hopes after opening the race with a loose-handling condition, but he still managed to score his best Michigan finish. 34. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Midway through the race, Moffitt decided to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a loose wheel. 35. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett's forward progress was halted when he had to serve a penalty after his crew went over the wall too soon during Lap 60 green-flag stops. 36. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill pitted on Lap 73 so his team could get a fan blowing on the power steering pump to cool down the boiling fluids. During the stop, his team learned the pulley came off the front of the pump. 37. Josh Wise , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Wise's team tinkered on the handling of the No. 32 and added a round of wedge in the final pit stop; he went on to pick up six spots. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was quiet on the radio during his 15th outing at Michigan . 39. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It was a day to forget for Johnson, who experienced a litany of issues on Sunday -- everything from cutting a tire to overshooting his pit box to spinning on track. " WATCH: Johnson's troubles 40. Travis Kvapil , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kvapil mostly stayed off the radar Sunday until he overshot his stall during Lap 60 green-flag stops and made it difficult for neighbor Dale Earnhardt Jr . to pit. 41. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's promising day was cut short when he was spun on the Lap 126 restart and made contact with the infield wall. " WATCH: Bowyer's bad day 42. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Overheating issues sidelined Mears just past Lap 50 when his water pressure gauge read zero. 43. Timmy Hill , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. A cracked oil cooler made for a frustrating start for Hill, but an errant oil pan and subsequent smoke prompted NASCAR to park the No. 98.
RELATED: See all 43 cars " Starting lineup for Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Matt Kenseth 's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew woke a sleeping giant just in time for qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) at Michigan International Speedway. But Kenseth jokingly credited a sleepless night -- brought on by worry over teammate Denny Hamlin 's lack of punctuality -- for his pole-winning effort in Friday's time trials at the two-mile track. Getting the most out of the high-drag aerodynamic package in force at the event at Michigan , Kenseth covered the distance in 36.458 seconds (197.488 mph) to win his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at MIS and the 16th of his career. Hamlin (196.990 mph) was second fastest, and Carl Edwards (196.276 mph) claimed the third starting spot, as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three positions on the grid for the 23rd Sprint Cup race of the season. Austin Dillon (195.918 mph) qualified fourth as the top Chevrolet in the field, followed by Tony Stewart (195.477 mph) in a Chevrolet and Kyle Busch (195.450 mph) in the fourth JGR Toyota. Joey Logano , last week's winner at Watkins Glen, qualified 10th as the only Ford driver to crack the top 12. Based on practice speed, Edwards was a favorite to win the pole, but Kenseth, who was 10th on the speed chart in the opening practice session, closed the gap in time from qualifying. "We were a long ways off Carl in practice, and I don't even know what changes they made, but they changed a lot of stuff that really woke this thing up and had some speed," Kenseth said. "I knew I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 good, but Denny put up such a fast lap, and I got into (Turn) 3, and I was bound and determined that I was going to make it wide open. "I had the first half of the corner. It was the second half that was starting to get exciting. I got sliding up the track and bogged down a little bit. I wasn't sure that we were going have it, but I have to say thanks to those guys (the crew). They gave me a car with a lot of speed." In Hamlin's view, Busch's return from an injury has achieved a critical mass of four talented, veteran drivers at JGR who can benefit from each other's expertise. "When you have drivers that you can feed off of, like the three teammates that I have, it makes a difference, and so that's where you're seeing the results," Hamlin said. That didn't prevent the driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry from throwing a barb toward the 43-year-old teammate who beat him for the pole. "Matt was probably too old to remember to lift there," Hamlin said of Kenseth's qualifying run. Kenseth provided a different perspective. "I could say it's because I didn't get enough sleep," Kenseth said. "I flew up with Denny today, and he likes to come to everything at the last minute. I didn't sleep last night thinking that we weren't going to make it up here, so it's really just for lack of sleep. I get to credit Denny for the pole." Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Logano completed the top 10. Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field.