Saturday, 22 June 2024

Drivers expect aggressive, strategic race today at Michigan International Speedway

Posted On Monday, 10 June 2019 07:56 Written by
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Cup cars practice on Friday at Michigan International Speedway. After being postponed Sunday, the Cup race is now rescheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. Cup cars practice on Friday at Michigan International Speedway. After being postponed Sunday, the Cup race is now rescheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

BROOKLYN, Mich.— It was a dreary day Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, and the fans who showed up held out hope of getting the race in, but it was not to be. Despite the track’s best efforts not to lose the track, and drivers Bubba Wallace and Corey Lajoie cheering up the fans with some football toss fun, Mother Nature would not cooperate and let us get a race in.

So here we are, on a Monday, awaiting a 5 p.m. start in Brooklyn, the start time delayed both by ongoing weather on Monday and FS1’s commitment to air Women’s World Cup matches.

Leading the field to green this afternoon/early evening will be Joey Logano of Team Penske, who led a strong qualifying effort by the Ford camp.

Logano said he anticipates teams will use different approaches throughout the race, but he’s happy to have the first pit stall.

“I am sure strategy will change things up. There will be two-tires, four-tires, no-tires and everything will get mixed up at some point, but I think being in that first pit stall is going to lessen that risk of getting back there and getting stuck. If you can kind of keep yourself up there I think it will be important for tomorrow's race,” he said.  

Kyle Busch, arguably the hottest driver on track right now, said his car works better out front, but struggles in traffic.

“We were pretty good in practice and it was really good by itself. Really good out front and led pretty well. Had decent speed up there, but after a few laps, guys were able to attack us and get to our side – stuff like that,” he explained. “Traffic was not very good, it was really, really hard to keep in the wake of the guys in front of you and be able to make time on him. Then to be able to get a good enough and big enough run to make a pass.”

The idea of this package leading to Daytona/Talladega style drafts at Michigan has been broached, but Kurt Busch did not share that sentiment.

“It is still too much about handling here,” Kurt explained. “It’s a two-mile track and it’s almost like the speeds are too high for it to blend into a Talladega or Daytona style draft.” 

One thing that’s certain, according to Stewart-Haas Racing’s Daniel Suarez, is that today’s race will be aggressive, especially on restarts.

“In today’s racing, nobody gets respect. I don't know if you have been watching the races but it is way different than two years ago,” Suarez said. “When I came to the Cup Series in 2017 everyone was very polite. In the first part of the race is somebody was faster than me, I would let the guy go. Right now, lap two, we are driving hard against everyone. The stages play a part in that, but the biggest part is track position and the package. It is so hard to pass.  We can’t give one position up.”

He continued: “There is no more respect, no more polite drivers out there. If you are polite, you won’t last. If you don't make positions, you will lose positions. You lose five spots on that restart and it is going to take you a full fuel run, if you are lucky, to get them back. It is one of those things where you have to be at least decent on restarts to be good on the long run.”

Tyler Reddick earns fuel mileage win at MIS
While Sunday’s race got washed out, there was one winner crowned over the weekend at MIS when Tyler Reddick used pit strategy and saved enough fuel to pull out a win in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Michigan International Series.

When the caution flag flew on lap 78, Reddick pitted when leaders Christopher Bell and Cole Custer stayed out. This proved to be part of his winning strategy, as Bell and Custer both had to pit for fuel with 10 laps to go, leaving the lead the Reddick. He held on to win his third race of this season, and his first at MIS.

“We bring great race cars to the track each week,” Reddick said. “All the guys at the shop work really hard on these Chevrolet Camaros. All the guys with Richard Childress Racing are outstanding every single day.”

Also impressive on Saturday was Noah Gragson, who surged in the final segment to earn a second-place finish. He was followed by Michael Annett, Paul Menard and Justin Allgaier in the top-5.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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