NASCAR MONSTER ENERGY SERIES: WHAT TO WATCH
Some things to know for Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan:
BEST OF REST
Clint Bowyer, who will start 16th, has a chance to get closer to the Big 3 of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., who have combined to win 16 of 22 races, and create more separation from the pack. He won his second race at the series’ previous stop at Michigan International Speedway in June. Four other drivers have won one race this year. “It is always exciting to go to any race track for the second time, especially when you have had some success to see how you will stack up when you load again,” Bowyer said.
Denny Hamlin hopes to finish where he’ll start — first — to earn a victory for a 13th straight year. He is on the pole for a second straight week. “We’re starting to turn back the other way and be pretty fast again,” Hamlin said. “We’ve really worked on the right things to get us to this point and nothing is more frustrating than working as hard as I have and the team has over the last two months and not getting any results.” Hamlin won at Michigan in 2010 and 2011.
Chase Elliott won his first Cup race last week, in his 99th start, to put him in the playoffs. “I’ve been on the other end of the stick these past two years and it’s such a nice feeling to come into these last few races and know that you’re locked-in to the deal,” he said. Elliott has had three runner-up finishes at MIS.
Many drivers have been mentioned as possible free agents after the season. Chip Ganassi insisted he wants Jamie McMurray back on his team next year after Motorsport.com reported he would be replaced by Kurt Busch. Does Newman have a deal for 2019? “Working on it,” he said.