The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway's two mile tri-oval for the 23rd race of the season, the 3M Performance 400. Race Preview looks at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, August 17, 2008; 2:17 p.m./et
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 80; wind out of the S at 6 mph Chance of precipitation 20%.
The Track: Michigan International Speedway
MIS is a 2.0 mile tri-oval. It has 18 degree banking in the turns and 12 degree banking in the tri-oval.
Key to Race: A ROUSH RUNAWAY
Even though Roger Penske is a former owner of Michigan International Speedway, Penske Racing doesn't have a chance. This is a race that will be dominated by Roush-Fenway or Hendrick Motorsports.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, August 15 at 3:40 pm/et.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in seven of his eight career starts at MIS. He won the June 2007 race and could win on Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth was taken out by an accident early in the June 2007 race at MIS. The poor result was his only finish worse than 17th in 16 careers starts at the track. He is a terrific option this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won the June race at MIS and has led a lap in each of the last six races at the track. He could find victory lane again this weekend.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne was great at MIS in June and was very good at the track prior to his forgettable 2007 season. Based on his second place finish at the track in June he is worth using in all fantasy leagues.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy took the pole at MIS in June and then fell back to a 13th place finish. He has yet to crack the top five at the track in his career, but based on how well he is driving he should end that streak this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has been very good the past two races at MIS. He has led 136 laps in the past three races. He is a great pick to crack the top five on Sunday.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 12 MIS races. He is over-due for his first win of the 2008 season and could get it this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been awesome in the past two races at MIS. This is a great weekend to use the No. 83 car.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has 15 top five finishes in 31 career starts at MIS. He has had one of the best cars on the track in four of the last five races at MIS and is a great pick to make the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin hasn't finished worse than 14th in five career starts at MIS. He is a strong pick once again.
11 to 20
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has six top 10 finishes in 11 career starts at MIS, but he has struggled the last three races at the track. His recent struggles in Brooklyn make him just an okay pick on Sunday.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Kurt has led 9.5 percent of the laps he has run at MIS in his career. He should finish near the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished 15th or better in his last five races at MIS. He is a decent pick this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan finished eighth at MIS in June. He should be strong again this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray had one of his better finishes of the season at MIS in June. He has been driving well lately and could have another strong result this weekend.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr., who just announced he is returning to DEI for at least another year, finished second at MIS in both 2007 races. He should have a strong car once again and it won't shock us if he breaks into the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been pretty average in his last 10 races at MIS. There are far better tracks to use him.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has finished in the top 15 in six of his last 10 starts at MIS. He should qualify well, but we doubt he will have a top 15 finish.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has five finishes outside the top 17 in his last six starts at MIS. He has had great success at the track during his career, but don't like him as anything more than a fourth driver on most fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler was terrible at MIS in 2007, but looked great at the track in June. He should be a top 20 driver again on Sunday.
21 to 30
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer hasn't been great at MIS during his career. This is a weekend to avoid using the No. 7 car.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger had driven excellent lately. He is someone to add in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has just two top 10 finishes in 11 career starts at MIS. He isn't an option again this weekend.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier has cracked the top 20 in three of the last four races. He is a sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has been a top 25 finisher in four of the past five races at MIS. He is a bit of sleeper pick on Sunday.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has cracked the top 25 in 11 of the last 13 races at MIS. This might be a decent weekend to use the No. 55 car.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann has finished 30th or worse in the last three races. He isn't worth taking a chance on this weekend.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has had past success at MIS during his career and might be worth taking a chance on for those in very deep leagues.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. finished 22nd in his first start at MIS. He should be a middle of the packer again this weekend.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith has finished in the top 30 in nine of the last 12 races. He should accomplish that once again this weekend.
31 to 40
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has just one top 10 finish in his last eight starts at MIS. He isn't a great fantasy choice.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard had a nice run at MIS in June. He is a decent fifth driver on most fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has been awful lately. He isn't worth using this weekend.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has finished outside the top 30 in five of the last six races. He isn't an option on Sunday.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has finished in the top 10 in his first two starts at MIS, but has been terrible since. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney hasn't cracked the top 15 in the last nine races this season. He is once again not worth using this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has never had any success at MIS in his career. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 21 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose made the No. 21 car relevant again with a third place finish at The Glen last weekend, but the road course expert will struggle to crack the top 25 this weekend.
No. 00 Mike Skinner: Skinner isn't guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but it shouldn't be an issue making the field. He should crack the top 35, but he isn't going to do much to help your fantasy team.
No. 96 Brad Colman: Coleman takes the wheel of the No. 96 car for his first Sprint Cup Series start. He may eventually have success in Cup, but it won't happen this weekend.
No. 70 Tony Raines: Raines should get the No. 70 car into Sunday's field, but he won't be a fantasy option.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte will get the No. 45 car in Sunday's race even if he has to use a Past Champions Provisional.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race and will quickly be lapped.
No. 08 Johnny Sauter: Sauter will be the only car going home after qualifying.
1. Carl Edwards
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Kasey Kahne
1. Kurt Busch
2. Brian Vickers
1. Clint Bowyer
2. Jeff Burton