Weekend Preview 8 8

MRN Weekend Preview

All three of NASCAR’s national divisions will be in action this weekend at two distinctly different venues.

Michigan International Speedway is set to host the Monster Energy and Camping World Truck Series. The Xfinity Series goes road racing for a second straight weekend with a visit to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at MIS is the 23rd race of the Cup Series’ regular season. Clint Bowyer won the first visit to the two-mile oval in June, which turned out to be a rain-shortened race.

"When we finished first with Kevin [Harvick] and Kurt [Busch] behind us, it was awesome," Bowyer said. "We got out and gave each other hugs. We were genuinely happy for one another. That’s what it takes. That’s what it takes to push you to another level.

"Working together, the communication, pushing each other. It’s not just Kevin, Kurt, Aric (Almirola) and me. It’s our teams, crew chiefs, pit crews and everybody who raises the bar."

With only four races remaining in the regular season and just eight drivers gaining automatic berths in the playoffs by winning, time is running out for drivers to lock themselves into the post-season with a victory. Among those still looking to do so is Kyle Larson, who has won three of the last four Michigan races but so far in 2018 has been shut out.

Larson has 12 top 10s and six top-five finishes in 22 races this season.

Saturday’s NCWTS Corrigan Oil 200 also carries playoff implications. Currently, five drivers have clinched their spot in the playoffs: Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley and Ben Rhodes. That leaves three positions still in play for the drivers not currently locked in to the post-season.

ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton is on the cutline, holding the eighth and final spot on the grid with just Michigan and next week’s trip to Bristol Motor Speedway remaining on the regular-season schedule.

Later Saturday afternoon, the Xfinity Series makes its sixth visit to the twisting Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Rock ‘N Roll Tequilla 170 Presented by Amethyst Beverage. Only one of the former Mid-Ohio winners, Justin Marks (2016), is entered, making the chances that fans get to see a sixth different winner strong.

Some road racing aces join the series this weekend including Andy Lally, Brendan Gaughan and Katherine Legge, the IMSA sports car regular making her NASCAR debut.

"I’d like to do a couple of these (Xfinity) races, learn and do a good job to hopefully raise some money and run the Charlotte race next month," Legge said. "That’s going to be a tall order but I have my eyes on more of these races, that’s for sure."

Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of all three races this weekend, with live streaming at MRN.com. Air times are 12:30 p.m. (ET) for the Truck Series race on Saturday, followed by Xfinity Series action at 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s broadcast of the Consumers Energy 400 Cup Series headliner will begin at 1:30 p.m.