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Friday, August 17, 2012

Jimmie Johnson on hot streak, has good shot to win at MIS Sunday; Keselowski ad to debut Sunday during race

BROOKLYN, Mich. --

Look for a smoother MIS weekend this August than we saw in June

In June, the weekend was a bit hectic at MIS.

We had an extra day of practice on a newly repaved track, followed by a last-minute trucking in of new tires after blistering issues arose during Thursday and Friday practice.

We then saw the fastest qualifying lap in 25 years, courtesy of Marcos Ambrose, and the weekend was capped off by a win by NASCAR’s favorite son – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Now it’s August, and the track isn’t so green, the tires have been properly vetted, and I anticipate a more status quo weekend.

I don’t think we’ll come near the qualifying record set by Ambrose at NASCAR’s new fastest track. The tires should hold up.

Honestly, the only thing that could be similar to June is another Dale Earnhardt Jr. win.

Watch out for Jimmie Johnson this weekend

One of the biggest shockers in NASCAR is how Jimmie Johnson has never won at Michigan.

In addition to that, he doesn’t even have a pole position. That’s rare to find a track where Jimmie has done neither.

It’s not to say he hasn’t done well. Jimmie has 4 top-5 runs, and 9 top-10 runs, in 21 starts. He only has one DNF.
Johnson is on a roll right now, so the other drivers better watch out for him.
He is poised for a win, as he just catapulted himself to the top of the point standings and is on a mission to rack up more bonus points for the Chase. Jimmie is back in his old form after not winning the title last year, so it’s very likely that the 48 car will at least contend on Sunday. If he is the first to the checkered flag, no one should be surprised.
“I know we’re going to be strong,” he said this week. “The way we’ve been running on the ovals, and also with our performance at Michigan in June (5th-place), even though we blistered a tire, I really feel like I can win there and make that lis one shorter for the tracks we havent’ won on. I really feel this is our best chance ever.”

He is right. And now the competition is on notice.

Brad Keselowski Featured in New ESPN NASCAR Ad

Rochester Hills native and Cup championship contender Brad Keselowski is featured in the newest “Nothing Beats First Place” ad to promote ESPN’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In the new spot, Keselowski fights to stay awake after a gigantic turkey feast, gets pepper-sprayed while trying to decipher an autostereogram image and answers odd questions at a news conference, none of which are harder than winning. The spot will debut in ESPN’s telecast of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The spot can be viewed here:

And here are some outtakes from the ad:

Gibbs drivers hope for solid runs at Michigan, Montreal races.
Denny Hamlin says a strong run at MIS this weekend would be a big boost for his team.
“It’s important for our FedEx team to get a good solid finish this weekend in Michigan. We have had some bad luck and gotten taken out a few times in the last few weeks, and with only four races to go before the Chase, hopefully we have that behind us. I know that this team is strong enough to contend for the championship, it’s now just a matter of putting all that together each and every week. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) and the guys have been bringing really fast race cars to the track. Hopefully we can get a couple more good runs in the next few weeks to solidify our spot in the top-10 in points so our two wins count once the Chase comes.”

Hamlin has a pair of victories at Michigan, winning back-to-back June events in 2010 and 2011. He has seven top-10 results in 13 events at the track.

Michael McDowell will race for the Gibbs team in Montreal on Saturday, and hopes to contend.

“This weekend presents a great opportunity for me to get a win and I just have to go for it. This is my fourth trip to Montreal and I get more and more comfortable each year at the track. It’s tight and narrow and there are walls everywhere. If Watkins Glen is the superspeedway of road course races, Montreal is the indoor go-kart track of road course races. The biggest thing is to make sure you manage your brakes and get yourself in position on restarts. It’s high intensity, for sure.”

McDowell has recorded four top-10 finishes in four Nationwide starts this season, including a season-best runner-up result at Road America in June. McDowell is making his fourth Series start at Montreal on Saturday. His best finish of third came in last season’s event after starting fifth.

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