Roush heads back to home-sweet-home at Michigan Speedway
— Matt Kenseth leads the RFR championship hunt with a 10-point lead in the Sprint Cup standings. Greg Biffle is third and Carl Edwards is 11th. Ricky Stenhouse is second in the NNS point standings trailing by 12 points.
— There will be a Sprint Cup test day at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday, June 14 for the new pavement.
— RFR’s 21 total NASCAR wins at MIS are the most at any track for the team.
— With his seventh-place run at Pocono last week, RFR’s Matt Kenseth regained the Sprint Cup Series points lead from teammate Greg Biffle. Kenseth led the points earlier in the season after winning the season opening Daytona 500.
— Michigan International Speedway is team owner Jack Roush’s ‘home track.’ Located about an hour’s drive away from Roush Industries in Livonia, MIS has been the most successful Sprint Cup track on the circuit for Roush Fenway Racing. The organization boasts Sprint Cup team highs in wins (11), top fives (51) and top 10s (89).
— In addition to the 11 Sprint Cup Series wins at MIS, Roush Fenway has won five times in the Nationwide Series (most recently last season) and five times in the Truck Series at Michigan. Overall Roush Fenway has collected 21 wins, 97 top fives and 147 top 10s in NASCAR action at Michigan.
Chevy drivers look forward to MIS
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29: “I think it will be more wide open. With the test at Pocono the week before, I think a lot of what we learned there will apply as we go to Michigan, but I think the speeds will be a little bit higher at Michigan. I think you’re going to have to move around. The bottom is probably going to be the fastest as you go through the race, but it’ll be a little bit easier for the cars to move around at Michigan just because it’s more wide open with different degrees of banking than Pocono. I still think the bottom will probably be the fastest though. I think everybody knew with the race tracks being repaved that you were going to have some pretty high speeds and everybody was prepared. You just go do the same things that you would do at any other race track and try to acquire as much information as you can on Thursday and apply it as fast as possible for the rest of the weekend.
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27: "I think it is going to take a little bit for it to burn in. Much like Pocono (Raceway) and Phoenix (International Raceway) which were also repaved, it has a single groove for a little while, but as we test and as we run more laps it does open up. I’m looking forward to going there; it is going to be exciting. I think it’s going to be the fastest track on the schedule.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39: “As far as I’m concerned, we all like the old asphalt. That and the tire combination made for some of the best racing. But those places have to be repaved. It’s not the first time that Michigan has been repaved, and it’s probably not going to be the last. Even going to places like Daytona, we would rather have it where the cars slide around and the tires are softer and they fall off, and then you really have to drive the race car. That’s just a factor of the change and the use that we have of the race track. Just like every other racetrack, it will change the grip and the tire combination, which will have an effect on the racing. I don’t think we’ve ever gone to a newly surfaced race track and run three-wide or had three grooves to work with, so it changes the characteristics of the racing. In saying that, it’s something that has to be done for the future of our sport from a safety standpoint. I know they also work pretty hard there, too, with the weepers and the water drainage, so there are some things I think they’ve learned at other racetracks that they can apply to Michigan to help with the drying process and the safety aspect of it, as well. As drivers, I never like to see them paved. I love them when they’re old and they have character and they’re lacking grip and we can take a tire there that’s pretty grippy and falls off, and that is a good combination for us as drivers, especially for the racing and for the fans. It’s going to be another work in progress for Goodyear to bring and build a tire for a new race track of this shape and of this caliber.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5: “I’m excited to see the new surface at Michigan. It’s always been a good track for us, and it should be really fast with the repave. You could always run so many different lines there in the past. I hope that’s still true on the new pavement.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31: “I think it is going to be really fast. I am more concerned about how many racing grooves there will be. Until we get there and start running, it is really hard to know. Sometimes with new asphalt, there is only one groove. One groove at Michigan International Speedway would be hard to deal with restarts and everything else. We need to figure out where the grooves are going to be and will there be multiple grooves. All those things we need to figure out during testing on Thursday and practice throughout the weekend. Right now, I just don’t have that answer. I have to keep an open mind going there until we can figure out what we need to do. It is more of a constant speed at Michigan International Speedway. You’ve got a two-mile race track and you run at a high speed consistently. We have to be careful to not get going too fast. Not just from a safety standpoint, but from a quality of race standpoint. Races tend to be better when the speeds are down just a little bit. The cars drive better when they are going fast, but from the quality of the race standpoint, I’m not sure that more speed out of the track would be a good thing.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1: “I am looking forward to getting to Michigan this weekend. Our teammates on the Target team went up for the Goodyear test a few weeks ago and the reports are that the track is really smooth and fast. I’m glad that we will have the one extra day to test on Thursday to help us adjust to the new conditions for the weekend. We had a really strong car last weekend at Pocono and we will look to back that up this weekend with our McDonald’s Chevrolet.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42: “We tested in Michigan a couple of months ago and that place is fast, I mean, fast, fast. Our minimum speed was over 180 mph into the corner and we are doing over 210 mph at the end of the straight. For a car like this it’s really, really quick. It’s a lot of fun and should make for some really good racing.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24: "I am not a big fan of repaves, so the fact that I am talking positive about it - and still enjoying the race track as much as I always have - is a sign that I think they did a great job. Whatever it is about this track, it has always had a great feel to it, and instead of having to go in and 'recreate' [that feel] like some tracks have had to do, they were basically able to pave over the top of what they had - and fix whatever they could - to keep it lasting as long as possible.
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 33 AMERICAN ETHANOL CHEVROLET - MAKING FIRST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES START OF 2012: “Truthfully, Michigan International Speedway is one of my favorite tracks. The bigger tracks always seem to suit me well because there is a lot of room to slide around and some of the sensations are similar to dirt track racing, which is my background. Our team always seems to run well at Michigan International Speedway and it’s a big, fast, fun and very smooth track. I’ve heard that the speeds are really up there now that the track has been repaved, so I think it will be fun to see what it’s like. I’ve been told that the corners are very smooth and fast but the track still has the bump that it previously had, so there is still some character to the track. There is a test session for the Sprint Cup Series teams on Thursday, so that will provide us with an opportunity to gain some information before the race weekend officially begins, and I hope that will give our team an extra edge for both the Sprint Cup Series race and the Nationwide Series race.”