Michigan gives final sneak peek at proposed '17 aero package
The prospective 2017 aerodynamic rules package for NASCAR's premier series will receive what likely will be its final dress rehearsal this weekend at Michigan International Speedway . NASCAR officials announced the move July 28, one month ahead of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). The 400-mile race is expected to be the last step before NASCAR's competition department delivers final, formal aero rules to teams as preparations for next season begin. The rules at the 2-mile track this weekend will be a repeat of what the series competed with earlier this year in a 400-mile event won by Joey Logano . The rules are designed to reduce the over-stabilizing effects of downforce and sideforce with smaller spoilers, fewer cooling fans, and a neutral body alignment that eliminates rear axle offset, or "skew." The Sprint Cup Series began the season with a five-stage process for testing and validating the potential 2017 rules setup. With last month's announcement, there's an unexpected sixth stage, intended to help competition officials accumulate more data and feedback before finalizing the package. Similar incarnations of the package went through testing at Michigan (May 17) and Kentucky Speedway (June 13-14) before being used in race conditions at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 21), Michigan (June 12) and Kentucky (July 9). Competition officials have indicated they do not intend to adjust aero rules for any of the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, which begin Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway . The reduction of downforce and other aerodynamic stability has been an evolving philosophy during the last two seasons. The guiding principles behind the trends involve placing more control and input into the drivers' hands, and promoting side-by-side racing by minimizing the advantages of undisturbed, "clean" air for leading cars. Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway , several drivers mentioned their desire for further testing of the package at more varied tracks before the 2017 rules are decided. Carl Edwards , winner of the series' two most recent Coors Light Pole Awards, still said he was encouraged by the push toward lower downforce, saying, "I think that the less we have, the better." " Michigan is a tough place because even though we're reducing downforce, there is still a lot of it, but it's a very high-speed track so any aero changes, they are magnified there," Edwards added. "Hopefully the track has aged some there. It's a little hotter the second time back and there's a little more rubber down, and hopefully it provides a really good race. "I hope it's a good test of that package. You test it at a new repave like Kentucky and you test it at a really, really fast single-groove track right now like Michigan and it's really hard to gauge where it's at, but I really applaud NASCAR trying and going that direction. I think what you've seen this year with all the great racing and the passing and all that is due in large part to the reduced downforce. If we can keep going that way, it's going to be good." </p>
Fantasy Fastlane: Pure Michigan 400
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Paint Scheme Preview: Michigan and Road America
See the new looks for Michigan and Road America here.
Spencer Gallagher officiates wedding at Michigan
Spencer Gallagher is a man of many talents. A race car driver and newly discovered wrestler/dancer/hugger (for reference, see his "fight" with John Wes Townley ), Gallagher is also an officiant in race track wedding ceremonies. Nope, not kidding. Surrounded by guests and a bridesmaid doning a Kasey Kahne T-Shirt, Gallagher performed a marriage ceremony for a couple in Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday afternoon. They even got to ride away in a pace car. . @23SpeedRacer performing a ceremony in @Gatorade Victory Lane @MISpeedway ✔️ Congrats to the newly weds! pic.twitter.com/BRh5rPk6GV — GMS Racing (@GMSRacingLLC) August 25, 2016 The event was documented via NASCAR Snapchat (username: nascar) and is available for viewing for 24 hours. Congrats to the happy couple!
Preview Show: Michigan
Marty Snider and Chris Rice preview the upcoming weekend at Michigan International Speedway. They talk bubble drivers for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Chris Buescher and Kyle Larson's outlook, and make fantasy picks.
Alfalla retakes points lead on last-lap pass at Michigan
Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) captured his second victory of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series by passing Brad Davies off Turn 4 on the final lap at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday evening. The finish marked the second-straight race that has been decided by a last-lap pass for the lead, although unlike one race earlier at Watkins Glen, there was no contact or controversy after the Michigan thriller. Davies played a good strategy to take the lead during the last round of pit stops and held the top spot for 20 laps due to repeated crashes and yellow flags. Alfalla had the better car and was on fresher tires, but never got a long enough run to challenge for the lead. His chance finally came on the final restart with two laps to the flag. When the green flew, Davies got a good jump on Alfalla, but the two-time series champion had closed up to the leader's bumper as the pair took the white flag. Alfalla was not close enough entering Turn One so instead of charging in over his head he was patient, backed up the corner, and got a great run on exit. Alfalla closed quickly down the backstretch and dove to the bottom entering Turn 3 as Davies protected the top. His fresh tires were too much for Davies as Alfalla passed uncontested off Turn 4 and took the checkered flag .05 of a second in the clear. Logan Clampitt ( High Performance Motorsports ) came home third, combining a solid pit strategy with a fast car and steady driving. Justin Bolton ( The TEAM ) was fourth, ahead of Andrew Fayash in his first top-five result. Alfalla started on pole and had the fastest car for much of the race but only led 46 of 125 laps, largely due to pit strategy. Instead of changing two tires and losing position on a subsequent long run, Alfalla opted for four fresh tires each time down pit road. This decision meant he had to fight through traffic on several occasions, but Alfalla used his experience to cleanly and effectively move through the field. During the middle segment of the race the field strung out and allowed some differing strategies to develop. Some sim racers chose a three-stop strategy in hopes fresh tires would make up for the extra trip down pit road, while others opted for a two-stop strategy. Alfalla chose the two-stop strategy and was helped out by a timely yellow flag on Lap 81 just before he was going to make his final pit stop. All but one car on the three-stop strategy also chose to pit, allowing Alfalla to keep nearly all of his track position, which put himself in prime position to win the race. From there, the race turned into a series of short sprints broken up by frequent caution flags. Seven of the nine cautions flew in the last 45 laps, making track position more important than a typical Michigan race. The win vaulted Alfalla back into the championship lead with three races remaining in the season. He now enjoys a 15-point advantage over PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing Team ) after Stergios struggled to a 14th-place finish at MIS. PJ's brother, Jake, is still hanging onto third, but his margin over Chris Overland shrunk to just four points after a Tuesday's disappointing 31st-place result. Dylan Duval is fifth, but is only seven points clear of Kenny Humpe after finishing 35th at Michigan . Only three weeks remain in the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze season, and Darlington Raceway looms large as the next race on the schedule. Widely considered to be the toughest oval on the circuit, Darlington requires impeccable car control and patience to succeed. For Alfalla and Stergios, the goal is simple: get out front and stay there, away from potential carnage that can be common farther back in the field. Can Stergios close the gap on Alfalla, or is Alfalla primed to edge closer to his third world championship? Tune-in to iRacing Live in three weeks to catch the sim racing action from The Track Too Tough to Tame!
Young drivers are the best bet at Michigan
Marty Snider and Chris Rice, along with Andrew Kurland of the Checkered Flag Crew, make fantasy picks for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speeway.
Ben Kennedy makes special visit to Michigan elementary school
Bristol NCWTS winner, Ben Kennedy, along with Michigan International Speedway and NASCAR Acceleration Nation pay a visit to Ezra Eby Elementary School near MIS to educate fourth and fifth graders about the science behind racing.
Relive Junior's drought snapping victory at Michigan
Watch as Dale Earnhardt Jr. win at Michigan International Speedway after four years and 143 races in 2012. Junior led for 95 laps in his 'Batman' paint scheme.
Streak to the Finish picks for Road America and Michigan
NASCAR.com's Chris Rice and Jonathan Merryman make their picks to finish in the top ten at Michigan International Speedway and Road America.