Stories to watch in Sunday’s running of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
“Big Three” Comeback?
There hasn’t been two consecutive weeks this season when non-members of “The Big Three” have gone back-to-back. Chase Elliott comes to Michigan Sunday on the heels of his Watkins Glen victory leaving the door open for someone other than Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. to finally make it two straight weeks shutting out the year’s dominant drivers.
Several Still Winless
Keeping Harvick, Busch and Truex Jr. out of Victory Lane will be a tall order but there are a number of drivers that would love to do so while putting their first win of the season in the books. Pole sitter Denny Hamlin leads the list of the winless heading into the 23rd race of the season but he’s certainly not alone with Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson also in the same boat.
Suarez from the Back
Second year driver Daniel Suarez has been getting much discussion as potentially joining Elliott and Erik Jones as a first time Cup Series winner this season. But the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will have his hands full coming from the rear of the field after he crashed his primary Toyota in Friday’s qualifying session.
Larson Seeks Michigan Magic
Kyle Larson had won three straight Michigan races coming into June’s Firekeepers Casino 400. But despite having a fast car and rocketing his way through the field in dramatic fashion after a poor starting spot, Larson spun out and finished 28th. Like last year, Larson flew to Knoxville, Iowa on Saturday to compete in the Knoxville Nationals. He finished third in the prestigious sprint car race and returns to Michigan where he will start 17th.
Bowyer Looking for Michigan Sweep
Clint Bowyer’s second win of the season came in June’s rain-shortened Michigan race. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has been in a bit of a mid-season slump and hopes to get things pointed in the right direction on Sunday. But he know how difficult it is to compete with a beat Harvick, Busch and Truex Jr. “You have to elevate your game and rise to their capabilities and expectations. Those guys, not only do they have the wins, they are dominant cars that have led a lot of laps when they get those wins and all the stage points and all that stuff,” Bowyer said Friday at MIS.
Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” will have live coverage of Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, beginning at 1:30 p.m. (ET) – with live streaming at MRN.com.