Michigan International Speedway is a long, wide track that allows the action to spread out rather easily. This produces long green-flag runs and some tough decisions to make in the late stages of the race. If there are a limited number of pit stops then the track position earned in qualifying may play an important role in the outcome. Auto Club Speedway, which held its lone race of the season in late March, is the only other 2.0-mile track on the schedule but is a little flatter than MIS.
Practice sessions: Friday, Aug. 16, at 12 p.m. EDT, 3:40 p.m. EDT; Saturday, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m. EDT
Qualifying: Saturday, Aug. 17, at 9:35 a.m. EDT
Race: Sunday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m. EDT
Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Shape: D-shaped oval
Length: 2.0 miles
Turns: 18 degrees
Front stretch: 12 degrees
Back stretch: 5 degrees
Drivers to keep an eye on
Clint Bowyer | No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing
Dillon: a real crowd pleaser?
Since 2011 Bowyer has finished inside the top 10 in all five Michigan races. In fact he's finished seventh each of the last three starts. Perhaps most impressive is that Bowyer's average starting position was just 22.8 for those events.
Bowyer has remained second in points for each of the last five races this season with 17 consecutive top-20s. Ten of those results have come inside the top 10.
Carl Edwards | No. 99 Best Buy/Geek Squad Ford | Roush Fenway Racing
After years of qualifying poorly at MIS, Edwards has started on the first two rows for the last two races. Edwards captured the pole back in June and finished eighth, giving him a dozen finishes of 12th or better since 2007.
Edwards has continued to qualify well, starting in the first three rows five of the last seven races.
Kyle Busch | No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing
Busch was a stout performer at Michigan back in 2011, finishing third in the spring and claiming victory in the summer. Things were uneven the next year, but Rowdy got back into the top five in June by finishing fourth.
Busch is coming of a win last week at Watkins Glen and has now recorded nine finishes of 12th or better the last 10 races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. | No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports
Last year Earnhardt won the spring race at MIS with 95 laps led and returned in the summer to place fourth, pacing another 25 circuits. Earlier this season, he led 34 more laps but blew an engine to finish outside the top 35.
Earnhardt took a streak of six finishes inside the top 15 into Watkins Glen. He had a good chance to extend that mark but was involved in a wreck with 10 laps to go.
Matt Kenseth and more, plus two to avoid
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
Don't miss these great reports....