Tuesday, August 21
Michigan International Speedway
Kurt Busch celebrates with a burnout after winning the 3M Performance 400.
Kurt Busch Battles for Win at Michigan
BROOKLYN, MICH. (August 21, 2007) - Kurt Busch has done it again. Teamed with veteran crew chief Pat Tryson at Penske Racing, Busch raced to his second win of the season at a soaked Michigan International Raceway.
Busch was patient when he needed to be in a Tuesday afternoon NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race that tried everyone's patience for two days.
Rain Sunday and again Monday sent the drivers to their motor coaches for two straight days, where cabin fever set in. It rained and rained, and then rained some more.
Tuesday's race was the first ever run on a Tuesday since NASCAR instituted its next clear day rainout policy. An unbelievable crowd stayed for the race after the two days of terrible weather and miserable conditions.
Once things dried out some and a fog lifted, Busch became the man of the hour, holding off Martin Truex Jr. for the win. Jimmie Johnson finished third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth.
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon was trying to hold on to fifth position with 12 laps to when Kenseth accidentally hit him from behind. Gordon spun off the track and needed help from the safety crew after his car stuck in the mud. He wound up 27th.
Something happened to Gordon's car prior to the accident as he was falling back before the incident with Kenseth.
Greg Biffle, battling several cars for 12th position with two laps remaining, bumped Kyle Busch's car and spun setting up a green, white, checker finish.
On the restart, Kurt drove away from the pack to win. His other win this season in the Miller Lite Dodge came at Pocono two weeks ago.
The former champion laid back early in Tuesday's race but led more laps than anyone by the finish.
Rounding out the top 10 behind fifth-place Kenseth were Dave Blaney, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., wound up 12th after leading and running up front most of the afternoon.
A heavy fog clung to the track when the green and yellow flags fell a little after 10 o'clock Tuesday morning after a two-day delay. The 43-car field made 10 laps at slow speed before NASCAR displayed the red flag and brought the cars back on pit road.
Race officials, as well as team spotters, could not see the backstretch clearly. NASCAR delayed the start until the fog lifted.
The race finally started under green flag conditions a little after 11 o'clock with outside pole sitter Biffle taking the lead.
It didn't take long for the first caution. Juan Pablo Montoya tried to go under Blaney in turn one, lost the handle and spun. Substitute driver Chad McCumbee, filling in for injured Kyle Petty (broken wrist), also spun but neither car made contact with anything.
At 30 laps, a competition caution allowed the teams to check tire wear since two days of steady rain had washed all the rubber off the track. Biffle was leading at the time with Gordon in tow. Hamlin was next and Labonte was fourth.
Gordon beat Biffle back on the track. Hamlin also beat Biffle out of the pits. Robby Gordon was the leader by virtue of not pitting.
Jeff Gordon, however, quickly went to the front with Vickers in tow.
Johnson went to the front after 50 laps and Kenseth had worked his way to second from 21st starting position. Vickers had his Toyota humming in third place and Kurt Busch had moved from 15th to fifth.
Stewart also charged through the field from 35th to ninth. Earnhardt was right behind him, coming from 39th starting position.
Mark Martin's engine let go at lap 88 to bring out a caution.
Complete race results and point standings in the Event Stats section below...
Event Stats PDF files unless otherwise noted
Friday First (& Only) Practice
Saturday First Practice
Saturday Final Practice
Checkered Flag Fast Facts
- Kurt Busch won the 3M Performance 400, his 17th victory in 243 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
- Busch moved into a tie with Marvin Panch, Curtis Turner and Dale Earnhardt Jr., for 39th on the all-time
- This is his second victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2007.
- This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in 14 races at Michigan International Speedway.
- Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 2007 and his second in four Michigan races.
- Jimmie Johnson (third) posted 14th top-10 in 2006, including 12 top-fives. It is his fifth top 10 in 12 races
- Jeff Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and
is now 276 points ahead of Denny Hamlin.
- Hamlin joined Gordon, who clinched at Watkins Glen, as the only drivers locked into the 2007 Chase for
the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Matt Kenseth can lock in a Chase position by starting next week at Bristol
2:41 p.m. It's over...Unofficial top five finishers:
1. Kurt Busch
2. Martin Truex, Jr.
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Denny Hamlin
Complete results to follow...
12:02 p.m. The green flag has been shows and the race is underway...
11:30 a.m. The track is ready but visibility is so bad NASCAR can't see the other side of the track from the control booth. The field
has been parked on pit road waiting for the fog to lift...
11:01 a.m. They've just given the "start engines" command!!!
8:05 a.m. According to a report on Sirius NASCAR Radio it's overcast but the air is dry at MIS; the track dryers are out and it
looks like they'll be OK to go later this morning...The Detroit forecast says a 60% chance of showers late this morning, then
only 20% this afternoon...This is the first time in the modern era of NASCAR that a race has been run on Tuesday (they hope)...
The race WILL be broadcast live on ESPN2 and TSN-HD.
4:50 p.m. They just announced NASCAR has pulled the pin for today and rescheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m./ET, 11 a.m./AT.
Have no idea at this point about TV coverage as yet, but Sirius NASCAR Radio has announced they will carry it live.
3:30 p.m. They're still working on drying the track, even seeing some grey areas in the middle of the track - BUT - according to a
report on Sirius NASCAR Radio, the sky is getting really grey - again...The track just issued a release saying they are working diligently to
get the race in today...
12:45 p.m./AT NASCAR has pushed back the scheduled Noon start (ET) of today's race, still hopeful they'll get the race in today.
A meeting was scheduled to happen at 11:30 a.m./ET between series and track officials to discuss the situation.
According to reports on Sirius NASCAR Radio, the rain has stopped and track drying operations have started.
For more on the impact a further postponement could have on the remainder of the season, click here.
Sunday Show Washed Out
Rain washed out the scheduled 3M Performance 400 Sunday; the race is rescheduled for Monday at 1 p.m./AT - to be
broadcast on ESPN2 and TSN-HD.
Practice: Friday, August 17 (SPEED at 12:30 p.m./AT, 11:30 a.m./ET)
Qualifying: Friday, August 17 (SPEED at 4 p.m./AT, 3 p.m./ET)
Practice: Saturday, August 18 (SPEED at 11 a.m./AT, 10 a.m./ET)
Final Practice: Saturday, August 18 (SPEED at 2:30 p.m./AT, 1:30 p.m./ET)
RaceDay: Sunday, August 19 (SPEED at 1 p.m./AT, Noon/ET)
Countdown to Green: Sunday, August 19 (ESPN & TSN-HD at 2 p.m./AT, 1 p.m./ET)
Race: Sunday, August 19 (ESPN & TSN-HD at 3 p.m./AT, 2 p.m./ET)
- Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the 3M Performance 400 with a lap of 38.090 seconds, 189.026 mph.
- This is his 62nd Bud Pole in 496 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
- This is his sixth Bud Pole and 15th top-10 start in 2007.
- This is Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole and 20th top-10 start in 30 races at Michigan International Speedway.
- Greg Biffle posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 38.159 seconds, 188.684 mph, as the
final two cars to go out took the top two positions. It is his fourth top-10 start in 2007 and his third in 10
races at Michigan.
- Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 12th top-10 start in 2007 and his fourth in eight Michigan races.
- Michael Waltrip (11th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. Waltrip posted his
best qualifying effort since he started third at Indianapolis in August 2005.
- David Reutimann (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
- Drivers that failed to qualify: Jeremy Mayfield, Dale Jarrett, Scott Wimmer, Kevin Lepage and AJ Allmendinger.
- Complete qualifying results and the starting lineup in the Event Stats section below...
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: 3M Performance 400
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, August 19
The Time: 2 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN, 1 p.m. (ET)
The Track: 2-mile oval
The Distance: 400 miles/200 laps
The Purse: $5,138,579
2006 Winner: Matt Kenseth
2006 Pole: Jeff Burton
Pre-Race Schedule (local/ET time): Friday—Practice, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Qualifying, 3:10 p.m.; Saturday—Practice, 10-10:50 a.m. and 1:50-2:50 p.m.
Year-To-Date Standings: click here
Keys to Winning...
Michigan International Speedway is fast and wide, allowing for the multiple-groove racing that drivers love. MIS gives
drivers many options, enabling them to run on the bottom of the 2-mile oval or on the top – or in between.
No matter which way around is chosen, there are some constants to consider – and respect – at Michigan.
Green Flag Notes...
- Using the draft is paramount, as MIS is one of the fastest tracks in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
- Fuel mileage always comes into play because there are a lot of green flag pit stops. Crew chiefs have to be on their games, managing the fuel mileage numbers.
- Pit crews must handle the pressure of those green-flag stops. Make a mistake during a pit stop under yellow and you might lose a few positions. Making a mistake at Michigan during a green-flag stop can cost you a half a lap sometimes.
Photo Gallery - Friday, August 17 - practice & qualifying
Kyle Petty is missing this weekend with a broken hand. Petty broke his hand in a momentary fit of anger after dropping out of
last Sunday's race at Watkins Glen. "“As I was walking the aisle of the truck, I hit it (the cabinet)…and it broke the small
bone in the back part of my hand. …I hit it and I was like, ‘well that’s good – a transmission, an oil cooler and now a hand.’
I knew it was broke as soon as it hit. It was just a freak deal.” Petty had surgery earlier this week to put a
plate and four screws in his hand, to quicken the healing process. Petty R&D driver Chad McCumbee is driving the 45 car this week;
Petty hopes to be back behind the wheel at Bristol next week...
Kyle Petty at MIS Friday.
- Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) is in 12th place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, coming into Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
It’s a good place to be – but by no means secure.
Trailing Busch are two other drivers within immediate – meaning, one race – striking distance of 12th: 13th-place Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) and 14th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet). Newman is 96 points behind Busch; Earnhardt is 100 back.
Beyond those two are several drivers who could be considered longshots but nonetheless have four precious weeks remaining to make up ground and perhaps qualify for the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup which begins Sept. 16 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) is 15th, 212 behind Busch; Casey Mears (No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet) is 16th, 298 behind; Jamie McMurray (No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford) is 17th, 316 back.
- With a ninth-place finish at Watkins Glen International this past Sunday, Jeff Gordon clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup – the earliest a driver has locked up a spot since the Chase’s 2004 inception.
At Michigan International Speedway, a few other drivers may follow Gordon’s lead. Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Kinko’s Chevrolet),
Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford) and Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) all will have legitimate shots at
clinching Chase berths. Currently, Hamlin is 604 points ahead of 13th-place Newman. Kenseth is 519 in front of Newman and Stewart is 506 ahead
Of the three potential clinchers, Kenseth could be the “most likely” based on past success at Michigan: 10 top-10 finishes in 16 starts including two victories, an average finish of 10.1 and a solid Michigan-specific Driver Rating of 101.4, third-best in the series. (Driver Rating is compiled from an amalgam of electronic-scoring Loop Data gathered since the start of the 2005 season.)
- At Bill Elliott’s invitation, Boris Said was a stand-in for Elliott this past Sunday at Watkins Glen International in the No. 21 Little Debbie Ford owned by Glen Wood – and the road-course ace responded with a 14th-place finish that boosted the team into 35th in owner points. That gives the team a guaranteed berth for the 3M Performance 400. Such top-35 status was the goal earlier this season when Wood tabbed Elliott to take over the No. 21, knowing that if Elliott didn’t qualify the car on time, he would have six “past champion” provisionals to rely on, to get the Ford into the field. (Teams outside the top 35 in owner points must rely on qualifying times to make the race.)
Prior to Watkins Glen, Elliott posted a string of solid runs that inched the No. 21 closer to the top 35 “bubble.”
Said provided the breakthrough.
“I still can’t believe the gesture from Bill to allow me to drive,” Said commented afterward.
“I hope he and the rest of the guys think it all worked out OK. They’re such a great group of guys and I was really honored to be able to run a race in the famed 21 car. I can’t say enough about it – it was a thrill.”
Added Elliott: “I’ve received a lot of attention for turning the wheel over last weekend, but I certainly believe it was the right thing to do. It got us back in the top 35.”
- Contemporary blues musician Jimmie Vaughan will perform a guitar rendition of the national anthem prior to the 3M Performance
400. Vaughan’s a good fit; the former Fabulous Thunderbirds member is also a noted designer of classic and custom cars, with his
work featured in publications such as Rod & Custom, Rodder's Journal, and Custom Rodder. His first restoration was a 1951
- Ricky Rudd (No. 88 Snickers Ford) is slated to make his 60th MIS start on Sunday, extending his all-time series lead in
that category. Rudd has completed 10,408 laps at MIS, also an all-time best.
- Bill Elliott also has two all-time Michigan records, for top-10 finishes (29) and lead-lap finishes (30), sharing the latter mark with Mark Martin (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet).
Jeff Gordon (left) and crew chief Steve Letarte (right) we reunited Friday at MIS after Letarte's six-week suspension; it doesn't appear the dynamic duo
missed a beat as they stole the pole for Sunday's race. Gordon was the last driver to take time, and beat provisional pole-sitter Greg Biffle by over
Jimmie Johnson (left) and crew chief Chad Knaus (right) were back on track Friday after Knaus' six-week suspension...
IMPORTANT: All information, schedules and/or scheduled events is/are subject to change without notice. Please
check with the source to confirm.
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