BROOKLYN, Mich. – Stories to follow during Sunday’s running of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, which can be heard live on the Motor Racing Network at 2 p.m. ET.
PJ1 has been applied to the Michigan track surface for the first time in an ongoing effort by NASCAR to create an optimum environment for racing. The jury is still out about just how much an impact the traction compound will make in Sunday’s race. Many drivers believe there’s not enough of the substance down to create a difference while others have said there is more grip and it will be used.
Logano Looking for Sweep
Joey Logano has been in a summer slump he’s hoping to end Sunday at Michigan. Logano won the June race, which was delayed a day by ran and went into overtime before the Team Penske driver could prevail. Should Logano pull off the victory he’d be the first driver to sweep both Cup races since Kyle Larson pulled it off in 2017. A Ford driver has won the last three races at MIS.
There were a lot of angry drivers last week at Watkins Glen with Kyle Busch, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney among those acting a bit edgy on and off the track. Any kind of physical payback is unlikely at Michigan considering the high speeds run at the two-mile track. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any carryover in animosity especially with the prevalence of blocking while racing under this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rules package.
Looking for Home Win
Michigan natives Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones will each be looking to score a home win on Sunday. Keselowski will start from the pole and Jones, who will start 16th, was the fastest driver in final practice and best 10 consecutive averages.
See Also: Jones Brings Hot Streak to Michigan
The regular season only has four races remaining and there are more than a number of drivers dangerously dancing around the Playoff cutline. Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman are tied for the 16th and final transfer position but Clint Bowyer is just twelve points to the good. Other drivers likely need to find Victory Lane to have any hopes of making the post-season with that list including Daniel Suarez, Paul Menard, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Austin Dillon.
Plans for 2020 are still up in the air for a group of drivers that need to continue their focus on this year’s racing while negotiating for their futures. Matt DiBenedetto has said for weeks he is “racing for his life” at Leavine Family Racing as rumors of his being replaced next year by Christopher Bell swirl. Clint Bowyer is not a lock to come back to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2020 nor is teammate Daniel Suarez. A good run or even a win by one of this trio could add an intriguing layer to this storyline.