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NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Quicken Loans 400 Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Sunday, June 17th
SITE: Michigan International Speedway (1968) -- Brooklyn, Michigan
TRACK: Two-mile oval - 3,600 feet (Frontstretch); 2,242 feet (Backstretch)
ANNUAL: 44th
CAPACITY: 84,000 (Grandstand Seating)
TELEVISION: TNT
ANNOUNCERS: Adam Alexander, Wally Dallenbach, Kyle Petty
RADIO: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 1 p.m. (ET)/ Green Flag: 1:19 p.m. (ET)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Denny Hamlin
RUNNER-UP: Matt Kenseth
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (Finished 11th)
LAPS: 200
MILES: 400
QUALIFYING RECORD: Ryan Newman, 2005 (194.232 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Dale Jarrett, 1999 (173.997 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $5,082,319 (2011 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $202,200; 2nd Place - $170,436; 3rd Place - $157,516
 
2011 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Denny Hamlin106Ryan Newman13
2Matt Kenseth37Tony Stewart6
3Kyle Busch248Clint Bowyer27
4Paul Menard99Mark Martin19
5Carl Edwards2310Brian Vickers4
2011 Quicken Loans 400 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 153.029 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 36 minutes, 50 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.281 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 18 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 21 among 12 drivers
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (188.699 m.p.h.)
Past Quicken Loans 400 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Denny Hamlin (10th) -- Toyota -- 153.029 m.p.h.
2010 -- Denny Hamlin (7th) -- Toyota -- 156.386 m.p.h.
2009 -- Mark Martin (32nd) -- Chevrolet -- 155.491 m.p.h.
2008 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 145.375 m.p.h.
2007 -- Carl Edwards (12th) -- Ford -- 148.072 m.p.h.
2006 -- Kasey Kahne (1st) -- Dodge-- 118.788 m.p.h.
2005 -- Greg Biffle (25th) -- Ford -- 150.596 m.p.h.
2004 -- Ryan Newman (4th) -- Dodge -- 139.292 m.p.h.
2003 -- Kurt Busch (4th) -- Ford -- 131.219 m.p.h.
2002 -- Matt Kenseth (20th) -- Ford -- 154.822 m.p.h.
2001 -- Jeff Gordon (1st) -- Chevrolet-- 134.203 m.p.h.
2000 -- Tony Stewart (28th) -- Pontiac -- 143.926 m.p.h.
1999 -- Dale Jarrett (6th) -- Ford -- 173.997 m.p.h. (race record)
1998 -- Mark Martin (7th) -- Ford-- 158.695 m.p.h.
1997 -- Ernie Irvan (20th) -- Ford -- 153.338 m.p.h.
1996 -- Rusty Wallace (18th) -- Ford -- 166.033 m.p.h.
1995 -- Bobby Labonte (19th) -- Chevrolet -- 134.141 m.p.h.
1994 -- Rusty Wallace (5th) -- Ford -- 125.022 m.p.h.
1993 -- Ricky Rudd (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 148.484 m.p.h.
1992 -- Davey Allison (1st) -- Ford -- 152.672 m.p.h.
1991 -- Davey Allison (4th) -- Ford -- 160.912 m.p.h.
1990 -- Dale Earnhardt (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 150.219 m.p.h.
1989 -- Bill Elliott (2nd) -- Ford -- 139.023 m.p.h.
1988 -- Rusty Wallace (5th) -- Pontiac -- 153.551 m.p.h.
1987 -- Dale Earnhardt (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 148.454 m.p.h.
1986 -- Bill Elliott (8th) -- Ford -- 138.851 m.p.h.
1985 -- Bill Elliott (1st) -- Ford -- 144.724 m.p.h.
1984 -- Bill Elliott (1st) -- Ford -- 134.705 m.p.h.
1983 -- Cale Yarborough (9th) -- Chevrolet -- 138.728 m.p.h.
1982 -- Cale Yarborough (4th) -- Chevrolet -- 118.101 m.p.h.
1981 -- Bobby Allison (4th) -- Buick -- 130.589 m.p.h.
1980 -- Benny Parsons (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 131.808 m.p.h.
1979 -- Buddy Baker (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 135.798 m.p.h.
1978 -- Cale Yarborough (3rd) -- Oldsmobile -- 149.563 m.p.h.
1977 -- Cale Yarborough (4th) -- Chevrolet -- 135.033 m.p.h.
1976 -- David Pearson (8th) -- Mercury -- 141.148 m.p.h.
1975 -- David Pearson (3rd) -- Mercury -- 131.398 m.p.h.
1974 -- Richard Petty (4th) -- Dodge -- 127.098 m.p.h.
1973 -- David Pearson (2nd) -- Mercury -- 153.485 m.p.h.
1972 -- David Pearson (3rd) -- Mercury -- 146.639 m.p.h.
1971 -- Bobby Allison (1st) -- Mercury -- 149.567 m.p.h.
1970 -- Cale Yarborough (4th) -- Mercury -- 138.302 m.p.h.
1969 -- Cale Yarborough (4th) -- Mercury -- 139.254 m.p.h.
 
NOTE: Formerly called Motor State 500 (1969), Motor State 400 (1970-1975),
CAM2 400 (1976-1977), Gabriel 400 (1978-83), Miller High Life 400
(1984-85), Miller American 400 (1986-1987), Miller 400 (1988-97),
Miller Lite 400 (1998), KMart 400 (1999-2001), Sirius 400 (2002-03),
DHL 400 (2004), Batman Begins 400 (2005), 3M Performance 400 (2006),
Citizens Bank 400 (2007), LifeLock 400 (2008-09), Heluva Good! Sour
Cream Dips 400 (2010-11).
 
Past Quicken Loans 400 Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Kurt Busch -- 11th
2010 -- Kurt Busch -- 3rd
2009 -- Brian Vickers -- 9th
2008 -- None -- Weather
2007 -- J.J. Yeley -- 28th
2006 -- Kasey Kahne -- 1st
2005 -- Ryan Newman -- 15th
2004 -- Jeff Gordon -- 38th
2003 -- Bobby Labonte -- 2nd
2002 -- Dale Jarrett -- 2nd
2001 -- Jeff Gordon -- 1st
2000 -- Bobby Labonte -- 3rd
1999 -- Jeff Gordon -- 2nd
1998 -- Ward Burton -- 8th
1997 -- Dale Jarrett -- 6th
1996 -- Bobby Hamilton -- 15th
1995 -- Jeff Gordon -- 2nd
1994 -- Loy Allen Jr. -- 24th
1993 -- Brett Bodine -- 39th
1992 -- Davey Allison -- 1st
1991 -- Michael Waltrip -- 34th
1990 -- None -- Weather
1989 -- Ken Schrader -- 11th
1988 -- Bill Elliott -- 2nd
1987 -- Rusty Wallace -- 5th
1986 -- Tim Richmond -- 15th
1985 -- None -- Weather
1984 -- Bill Elliott -- 1st
1983 -- Terry Labonte -- 5th
1982 -- Ron Bouchard -- 12th
1981 -- Darrell Waltrip -- 7th
1980 -- Benny Parsons -- 1st
1979 -- Neil Bonnett -- 4th
1978 -- David Pearson -- 2nd
1977 -- David Pearson -- 5th
1976 -- Richard Petty -- 4th
1975 -- Cale Yarborough -- 4th
1974 -- David Pearson -- 3rd
1973 -- Buddy Baker -- 2nd
1972 -- Bobby Isaac -- 26th
1971 -- Bobby Allison -- 1st
1970 -- Pete Hamilton -- 2nd
1969 -- Donnie Allison -- 27th
Last Race Results
RACE: Pocono 400 (June 10th)
SITE: Pocono Raceway -- Long Pond, Pennsylvania
MILES: 400
LAPS: 160
WINNER: Joey Logano
RUNNER-UP: Mark Martin
THIRD: Tony Stewart
FOURTH: Jimmie Johnson
FIFTH: Denny Hamlin
POLE WINNER: Joey Logano (Finished 1st)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 3 minutes, 12 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 131.004 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.997 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 7 for 35 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 19 among 10 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Logano 1-16, McMurray 17-22, Hamlin 23-31, McMurray 32, Earnhardt
Jr 33-43, Kenseth 44, Biffle 45-46, Ragan 47, Hamlin 48-59,
Earnhardt Jr 60-67, McMurray 68-74, Biffle 75-91, Kenseth 92-101,
Logano 102-103, Montoya 104-106, Gilliland 107-108, Earnhardt Jr
109-125, Logano 126-152, Martin 153-156, Logano 157-160.
Quicken Loans 400 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/McDonald's
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
5Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Chevrolet/Farmers Insurance
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/Stanley
10David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
11 *Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Office
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Ford/Valvoline Nextgen
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1
15Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Toyota/5-Hour Energy
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M Salute
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Roush Fenway Racing
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/Snickers
19Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR)Toyota/Humphrey Smith Racing
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
21Trevor Bayne (Knoxville, TN)Ford/Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire
22A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
23Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC)Chevrolet/North Texas Pipe
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/DuPont
26Josh Wise (Riverside, CA)Ford/MDS Transport
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Duracell
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Toyota/Inception Motorsports
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Ken Schrader (Fenton, MO)Ford/Federated Auto Parts
33Austin Dillon (Lewisville, NC)Chevrolet/American Ethanol
34David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/TBA
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
38David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/Long John Silver's
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/U.S. Army
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43Aric Almirola (Tampa, FL)Ford/Medallion
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Charter
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's
49J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Toyota/JPO Absorbents
51Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
55Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Toyota/Aaron's Dream Machine
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
74Stacy Compton (Hurt, VA)Chevrolet/Turn One Racing
78Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row
83Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Toyota/Burger King
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/AM FM Energy Wood&Pellet
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat'l Guard
93Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Toyota/Burger King
98Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Ford/Phil Parsons Racing
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Fastenal
 
* - defending champion.
 
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Driver200320042005200620072008200920102011
Denny Hamlin---------12th14th14th3rdWonWon
Matt Kenseth4th7th4th13th42nd3rd20th14th2nd
Kyle Busch------9th14th6th13th13th20th3rd
Paul Menard------------12th11th34th25th4th
Carl Edwards------5th2ndWon7th4th12th5th
Ryan Newman41stWon15th15th37th42nd23rd32nd6th
Tony Stewart8th24th2nd41st3rd5th7th5th7th
Clint Bowyer---------39th16th26th10th22nd8th
Mark Martin9th34th3rd27th29th25thWon16th9th
Kurt BuschWon11th12th9th25th21st8th3rd11th
A.J. Allmendinger------------31st19th39th11th13th
Kevin Harvick18th17th25th10th7th12th18th19th14th
Greg Biffle31st23rdWon4th38th20th5th9th15th
Jeff Gordon3rd38th32nd8th9th18th2nd4th17th
Joey Logano------------------25th10th18th
Jamie McMurray14th37th13th23rd8th10th11th24th19th
Dale Earnhardt Jr7th21st17th3rd5thWon14th7th21st
Marcos Ambrose------------------31st15th23rd
Jeff Burton11th13th11th11th24th15th26th8th24th
Brad Keselowski---------------------27th25th
Martin Truex Jr---------16th2nd17th36th17th26th
Jimmie Johnson16th4th19th6th19th6th22nd6th27th
Kasey Kahne---2nd18thWon32nd2nd21st2nd28th
Juan Pablo Montoya------------43rd38th6th13th30th
 
Mover of the Week
Jimmie Johnson - Started in the 24th position and finished 4th
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Matt Kenseth
Darkhorse - Kasey Kahne
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Dale Earnhardt Jr) - Finished 8th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Jeff Gordon) - Finished 19th
 
NOTES:
Not only did Denny Hamlin do something no one had done in 20 years, but this season he can make history, as he goes for the three-peat at Michigan International Speedway.

Last year, Hamlin equaled the feat of Davey Allison in 1991-92, when he won this race for the second consecutive season, defeating Matt Kenseth by less than a second for his only win in 2011.

After posting eight wins in 2010, Hamlin struggled last year, winning just once in 36 starts and finishing eighth on the points list. This season has been a different story, with two victories and 8 top-10s in 14 starts, as he ranks fourth on the points list.

Hamlin took the lead for the first time with eight laps remaining when he drove out of the pits first during a caution. Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew a tire and hit the wall within the final 10 laps to force the fifth and final caution.

After the last restart with five laps remaining, Hamlin pulled away from the field, but Matt Kenseth chased Hamlin down and challenged him for the lead on the last lap. Hamlin crossed the finish line just 0.3 seconds ahead of Kenseth, who made slight contact with the wall coming out of the final turn.

Back in 2010, Hamlin led a race-high 123 laps and held a 10-second advantage over Kasey Kahne before the last caution came for debris on the track with 19 laps remaining. He quickly pulled away from Kahne after the final restart with 14 laps to go, and then cruised to his fifth of eight victories that year. Hamlin, who owns 19 Sprint Cup titles, defeated Kahne by 1.246 seconds. Hamlin boasts five top-10 finishes in his last six starts at MIS.

Mark Martin's win in 2009 was his first at Michigan since he won back-to-back races in 1997-98. Martin dominated MIS in the 90s, posting four Sprint Cup wins and two Nationwide titles. During that span, Martin had 25 top-10 finishes in 27 races. Still a driver to be reckoned with, Martin has now posted 31 top-10 finishes in 52 all-time starts at MIS.

When Martin won in '09, he started from the 32nd position and led only one lap, the final circuit, for his third of five wins that season. Jeff Gordon placed second in that race, while pole sitter Brian Vickers finished ninth. Jimmie Johnson dominated the race, leading for 146 laps, but an error in fuel consumption had him finishing 22nd. Johnson held the lead before running out of gas just short of crossing the line to start the final lap. Greg Biffle then inherited the top position, but he too ran out of fuel on the backstretch, allowing the then, 50-year-old Martin to lead the final lap.

Dale Earnhardt Jr led only 14 laps in the 2008 race, but it was the final five laps that propelled him to victory, as he defeated Kasey Kahne under the caution for his 18th and last Sprint Cup title. With 31 lead changes among 13 drivers, the 2008 race was a wild event from start to finish. Jimmie Johnson led all drivers with 65 laps on six occasions, as he placed sixth. Earnhardt led five times, while Brian Vickers led four times for 44 laps. The win was the first for Earnhardt at this track in 19 previous Sprint Cup races. He has posted two Nationwide Series wins in Michigan. Since his win, Junior has gone 143 races without a victory.

Back in 2007, Carl Edwards led three times for a race-high 63 laps, as he defeated Martin Truex Jr by 3.668 seconds for his fifth career Sprint Cup Series victory. Edwards, who started 12th on the grid, reclaimed the lead on lap 166 of the 200-lap race and held on for his first win since 2005 and the first of three victories in 2007. Edwards, who's victory total now stands at 19, won in 2007 in his 100th career Sprint Cup start.

In 2006, Kasey Kahne defeated Edwards and the rain, as he recorded his fifth career Sprint Cup title. The 200-lap race was stopped after 129 laps and Kahne in the lead, as he recorded his fourth win of the 2006 season. Kahne, who started on the pole, led on four separate occasions for a total of 19 laps, while runner-up Edwards led for 25 laps after starting from the 31st position on the grid. Jeff Gordon, who started alongside Kahne, placed eighth after leading five times for a race-high 50 laps.

The pole-sitter has won at this track 16 times in 85 previous races, including Kahne in 2006. Bill Elliott is a seven-time winner at Michigan, including four wins in this race and is a six-time Bud Pole winner. Elliott is third on the all-time list behind David Pearson (nine Michigan wins) and Cale Yarborough (eight). In addition, Pearson won the pole 10 times.

Cale Yarborough won $17,650 in the inaugural race in 1969 and leads all drivers with six victories in this race at Michigan Speedway.

Jeff Gordon has raced 38 times at MIS with only two wins. Speed Racer does own 24 top-10 finishes in those starts with five poles. His average finish is 11.4. With his win last week, Gordon ranks third on the all-time wins list with 85 titles. Of all the active drivers, Gordon has led the most laps at Michigan with 950, 39 ahead of Martin.

Don't look for Jimmie Johnson to contend at Michigan International Speedway. Johnson, currently fifth on the points list, has never won in 20 visits, with his best finish third in 2007. MIS is one of few Sprint Cup tracks that Johnson has never won on.

The farthest back a race winner has started in this race is 32nd when Martin won in 2009, breaking the previous record of 28th set by Tony Stewart in 2000. Davey Allison in 1991-92 was the last back-to-back champion of this race.

Michigan International Speedway first appeared on the NASCAR schedule in 1969, and the second race, on August 17, 1969, was 600 miles. That makes Michigan the only track other than Charlotte Motor Speedway to attempt a 600-mile race. That distance is considered tests of man and machine, and at Michigan, anticipation was high about how cars would handle its 2-mile oval. There have been 85 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway - two a year since the first race there in 1969, except 1973 which had one. Sixty Six of 85 races have been won from a top-10 starting position, including 46 from the first four spots.

Detroit sports teams will be well represented this week, as Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is the Grand Marshal and Lions center Dominic Raiola is the honorary starter, getting to wave the green flag.

The next Sprint Cup Series race is the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Kurt Busch won last year's race there.

06/12 17:39:03 ET

As of June 12, 2012, at 05:39 PM ET

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