Earnhardt Jr. heads to MIS with full head of steamPublished 8:38am Thursday, June 12, 2014
BROOKLYN — There are plenty of story lines as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits Michigan International Speedway this Sunday.
The Quicken Loans 400 is the 15th race of the season, which means there are only 12 races remaining to qualify for NASCAR’s post season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes to Michigan with a full head of steam having won last week at Pocono, which was his second win of the season and locked him into The Chase.
Earnhardt Jr. last won multiple races in 2003.
Here are some things you need to know about this weekend:
• Prior to winning the Daytona 500, Earnhardt’s Jr.’s last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins came at MIS, including the 2012 Quicken Loans 400, where he broke a 143-race winless streak. His previous win came in June of 2008, also at MIS in the LifeLock 400. He has an average finish of 16.3 and has led 347 laps at Michigan International Speedway. In 29 starts at MIS, Earnhardt, Jr. has 10 top 10 finishes. He has won two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2014.
• Greg Biffle and Joey Logano were the winners of last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races at MIS. Biffle won the Quicken Loans 400 in June, while Logano recorded his first win for Penske Racing at the Pure Michigan 400 in August.
• Joey Logano had a track qualifying record of 203.949 mph to garner the pole for the 2013 Pure Michigan 400. That speed made MIS the fastest track in NASCAR. The speed was the ninth-fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history and the fastest pole-winning speed other than Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway.
• A whopping 13 drivers qualified for the June race at MIS in 2013 with speeds at 200 mph or more. Carl Edwards led the way, qualifying with a speed of 202.452 mph.
• The Quicken Loans 400 features eight drivers who have won multiple times at MIS. Biffle has four wins while Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman each have two victories.
• Gordon currently leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Point Standings with 498 points. Kenseth is second with 482. Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.
• Gordon has 954 laps led in 42 starts at Michigan International Speedway, the most laps led by an active driver. Biffle is second on the list with 593 laps led.
• Johnson has yet to win in the Irish Hills in 24 Cup races. In fact, MIS is just one of five Sprint Cup Series tracks overall that he has not won at in his brilliant career.
, a list which also includes Chicagoland, Homestead-Miami, Kentucky, and Watkins Glen. MIS is the only track left on the list that hosts two Sprint Cup races a year. His average finish at MIS is 16.8.
• Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are the only active drivers to average a top-10 finish at MIS. Edwards ranks first all-time at MIS with an average finishing position of 8.3 among drivers, with at least five Sprint Cup starts since 1969. In 28 career starts at MIS (19 Cup, 7 Nationwide, 2 Truck), Edwards has 21 top-10 finishes (15 in Cup, 4 Nationwide, 2 Truck). Edwards’ first career Sprint Cup Series start came at MIS in August of 2004.
• The Quicken Loans 400 will be the 90th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS. In the 89 previous races, there have been 43 different pole winners. David Pearson leads with 10. Jeff Gordon has five poles, the most among active drivers.
• There have been 89 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.
• Donnie Allison won the first pole. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was won by Cale Yarborough.
• The race winner has started from the pole 17 times, the most productive starting position. Joey Logano (August, 2014) was the last driver to win from the pole. 67 of 89 races have been won from a top 10 starting position, including 47 from the first four spots.
• 35 different drivers have won races, led by David Pearson (nine); 20 drivers have more than one victory at Michigan.
• Roush Fenway Racing has 13 wins at MIS, more than any other team. The Wood Brothers are second with 11 wins.
• Four Keselowskis have raced at MIS. Bob, and his sons, Brad and Brian, have challenged the two-mile track. Also, Ron Keselowski, Bob’s brother, has started races in the Irish Hills. They have combined for 14 starts in ARCA, three starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, nine starts in the Nationwide series and 18 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ron also started three USSC races. They have two Nationwide wins (Brad) and one ARCA victory (Bob).
• Keselowski will be making his 10th career Sprint Cup Series start at MIS in the Quicken Loans 400. His best finish at MIS is second, achieved at the Pure Michigan 400 in August of 2012.
• Cale Yarborough leads all drivers by wheeling four different makes of cars to Gatorade Victory Lane in the backyard of the automotive capital of the world. Yarborough won in a Buick, Chevrolet, Mercury, and Oldsmobile at MIS.