The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the FireKeepers Casino 400.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer is the defending race winner. The Ford driver is winless this year but did you know that Ford Motor Company has won 37 of the 99 Cup Series races at Michigan while Chevrolet has won 26? However, this year may be the exception as Toyota has captured nine wins, Ford has won four times and Chevrolet has only one win this season.
But did you know that Cale Yarborough won the first NASCAR race in a Mercury for Wood Brothers Racing at Michigan on June 15, 1969? The event was highlighted by an intense battle between Yarborough and LeeRoy Yarbrough during the final 150 laps. On the last lap, the drivers made contact twice. Coming out of the final turn Yarbrough spun and crashed 300 yards from the finish line as Cale Yarborough sped past him to claim the checkered flag. It was the first of eight victories at the 2-mile track for Yarborough.
Yarborough still holds the Cup Series record at Michigan for most top fives, with 21, and has led the most laps (1308). But did you know that David Pearson leads all drivers with nine wins at Michigan? He also holds the record for the most poles with 10.
Kurt Busch is the defending pole winner for the FireKeepers Casino 400 and the SHR driver is tied with Team Penske’s Joey Logano with three poles each at the 2-mile track, leading all active drivers. But did you know that 20.2% of the Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the first starting position? The most recent driver to win from the pole was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson in June 2017.
Larson and Busch also have the most wins at Michigan among active drivers with three. Notably, Larson also earned his first Monster Energy Cup Series win at Michigan in August 2016. However, Chase Elliott has the series-best driver rating of 104.5 at the track. The only item Elliott has left to check off is a trip to victory lane.
Elliott enters the race with the best average finish of 5.33. He is currently third in the series driver standings after winning at Talladega and following that up with four more top-five finishes. But did you know that the Hendrick Motorsports driver has scored six top 10s in six career starts at the track?
And we can’t forget Kevin Harvick who is winless in 2019 after a season-high eight victories last year. But did you know that the driver of the SHR No. 4 Ford enters Michigan with the second-best driver rating of 98.1?
Harvick has two wins at the track and has finished in the top five in his last seven Michigan races with a victory in August and one runner-up finish in June 2018. This weekend’s race could be a turning point in what has been a frustrating season.
You can never count out Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch at any venue. But did you know that he has only the 10th-best driver rating (89.2) at Michigan?
With one win in 2011, an average finish of 18.357, 10 top 10s and six top-fives in 28 starts, Busch will be hoping to carry over the momentum of last week’s 55th career victory at Pocono. On the plus side, the team seems to have turned a corner with top-10 finishes in his last four Michigan races.
So far this season, there have been six different winners in 14 races with Joe Gibbs Racing leading the way with nine. Tune into the FireKeepers Casino 400 Sunday, June 9 at 2 p.m. on FS1 and MRN to find out which driver will take home the next trophy.
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