Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013 Michigan Quicken Loans 400 Driver Chassis Selections: Lots of good history running this week

Junior is using the same chassis that led him to victory last year  

#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Michigan is PRS-841 which last Raced at Kansas and finished sixth. The backup chassis is PRS-847 which has never raced but has been a backup at several races.

#5-Kasey Kahne: For this weekend at Michigan, crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-793. Kahne finished second with this car at Kansas Speedway in April. Most recently, he led 161 laps and drove it to another runner-up finish in May at Charlotte's 600-mile race. In 18 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan International Speedway, Kahne has one win, seven top-five finishes, eight top-10s and has led 49 laps. He has two pole positions at the two-mile oval and won from the top starting spot in June 2006. Most recently at Michigan, Kahne finished third there in August 2012.

#9-Marcos Ambrose: The #9 Stanley team has prepared chassis No. 847 for Michigan. The team competed with this chassis at Texas Motor Speedway where Ambrose started from the fourth position.

#10-Danica Patrick will pilot chassis No. 10-781, which was first used by Patrick in March at Auto Club Speedway, where she started 40th and finished 26th. She then drove this car in April at Kansas, where she started 25th and finished 25th. The last time this car was used was during the Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race in May at Charlotte where she finished ninth in the Showdown and 20th in the All-Star race.

#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-735 debuted in 2012 at Indianapolis where Stewart qualified 28th and rallied to score a top-10 finish. Chassis No. 14-735 made its second career start in October 2012 at Kansas. It was impressive as Stewart used it to overcome a 33rd place starting spot, a botched pit stop, an incident with Jeff Burton and a lap-166 spin to finish fifth. The car made its third career start in the 2012 season finale at Homestead. There, it rallied to a top-20 finish after starting 35th and dealing with handling issues throughout the 267-lap race. Stewart's milestone 500th career Sprint Cup start also came at Homestead in Chassis No. 14-735. With 2013 Chevrolet SS bodywork covering it, Chassis No. 14-735 returned to action in May for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. It rallied again, coming from 25th in the field to lead six laps before finishing seventh, beginning a resurgence for Stewart that has seen him climb eight spots in the championship point standings since Charlotte. This weekend's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan will mark the car's fifth career start and second of 2013. Stewart has one win, eight top-threes, 11 top-fives, 19 top-10s and has led a total of 224 laps in his 28 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan. His average start is 19.4, his average finish is 11.9, and he has a lap-completion rate of 93.9 percent.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Primary Chassis No. 758 finished fifth at Kansas and 35th at Fontana (due to a mechanical issue). Backup Chassis No. 724 has not seen action this season. In 14 races Bowyer owns six top-10s. His average start is 18th and finish 17th. He has led 27 laps, including 19 in his last race at MIS. In the last four MIS starts, Bowyer is tied with fellow Toyota driver Matt Kenseth for the most points with 148. He also has the best average finish of any driver (7.5) and is the only driver with four consecutive top-10s. 5-hour ENERGY'S corporate offices are in Farmington Hills, Mich. about 65 miles from Michigan International Speedway.

#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M Give Kids a Smile Ford Fusion team will bring primary chassis RK-817 which is the same car that Biffle won with in the fall at Michigan last year and it last ran in the All-Star race in May and finished 15th. The backup chassis is RK-803 which last ran in Bristol and finished 11th. Biffle has 20 Sprint Cup career starts at Michigan, earning three wins, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Michigan is Biffle's second-best average finishing track. His average finish is 11.8 from an average starting position of 13.2. Biffle has led a lap in all but six of his 20 starts at Michigan.

#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Zest Racing team will be using primary chassis RK-814, which is the same chassis that the #17 team ran at Martinsville finishing 25th after getting caught in an accident early in the race. The backup Chassis RK-811was a chassis that the #99 ran numerous times in 2012. Stenhouse will make his first career Sprint Cup start this weekend at Michigan.

#21-Trevor Bayne: For this weekend's race, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared Chassis No. 745, which hasn't been raced since 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Since then the car has been completely overhauled and converted to a Generation-6 racer, and Wingo is pleased with the final result. "We've put a lot of work into it," he said, adding that the results of a recent wind-tunnel test indicate the car will be a fast one. The team will need it on the newly repaved Michigan oval, where speeds are expected to be high, even with a winter's worth of aging on the track's asphalt. That aging should make for a good race, according to the veteran crew chief. "I think the groove will get even wider than it was last year," he said. He anticipates his biggest challenge on the pit box will be developing a strategy that will give Bayne track position in the closing laps. "You won't be taking four tires on every stop," he said. "The key is going to be doing what you have to do to have track position at the end of the race." The #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will carry a special decal this weekend in memory of Cecil Wilson, who passed last week at age 77 after a battle with cancer.

#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis for Michigan is PRS-857 which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is PRS-844 which has never races but has been a backup at several races.

#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 427 at Michigan International Speedway. This #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable. Menard has 13 starts at Michigan International Speedway. His best start of ninth and best finish of fourth both came in 2011. The Wisconsin native has completed 2,564 of 2,610 laps attempted (98.2 percent) at the Brooklyn, Mich., track, leading 14 of them.

#29-Kevin Harvick: and the #29 Budweiser team will utilize Chassis No. 378 from the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) stable. Harvick has raced this car twice in 2013 and earned a 13th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway and an 11th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Harvick has made 24 starts at Michigan. In those events he has scored one win (August 2010), three top fives and eight top-10 finishes. He's completed 99.1 percent of the laps run at the track in NSCS competition since 2001 (4,660 of 4,701) and holds an average starting position of 18.1 and an average finish of 14.8 at the 2-mile track.

#31-Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 372 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. This #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet was utilized earlier this season at Bristol Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. This weekend's 400-mile event marks Burton's 39th start at the two-mile facility and 670th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Burton has garnered four top-five and nine top-10 finishes at the track, along with two pole awards in 1996 and 2006. He has also led 76 laps at the Brooklyn, Mich.-based race track.

#33-Austin Dillon will pilot chassis No. 418 in the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. This former #27 entry was driven by teammate Paul Menard to a 13th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, and a 17th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April before it was converted to the black and green colors of American Ethanol. Dillon competed in last year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. He posted lap times consistent with the top 10 competitors and ran in the top 15 before a broken radio caused him to fall one lap down to the race leader and finish 24th.

#39-Ryan Newman will pilot Chassis No. 39-760 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in this weekend's Quicken Loans 400. Built new for 2013, Chassis 39-760 made laps in January at Charlotte while participating in the final test for NASCAR's sixth-generation Sprint Cup car. It saw its first laps of racing competition in March at Las Vegas, where ill handling and an expired engine relegated Newman to a 38th-place finish. Since then, Chassis No. 39-760 was outfitted with aerodynamic updates and was tested last month in a wind tunnel. In 23 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan, Newman has two wins, five top-five finishes and seven top-10s. Newman, a 35-year-old from South Bend, Ind., also has led 97 laps, has an average starting position of 11.4 and an average finish of 17.7 at the 2-mile oval.

#43-Aric Almirola: The #43 Eckrich / Operation Homefrond team has prepared chassis No. 843 for Michigan. Most recently, Almirola drove this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season. Almirola has six starts at the Michigan track over all three NASCAR premier series. He and crew chief Todd Parrott are no strangers to Victory Lane at the two-mile oval. Almirola won the truck series race in 2010, while Parrott has three Cup series wins there. Parrott knows how to get around the Michigan track. In his 29 starts as a crew chief, he has an average finish of 12.8 and 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: will drive chassis No. 784 at Michigan, this chassis last ran at Charlotte in the All-Star race and won. Also finished 3rd at Kansas and 12th at Auto Club Speedway in 2013. Chassis No. 720 serves as the backup and won two races in 2012.

#55-Mark Martin: is running Chassis 776 which has not raced in 2013. In 54 starts, Martin owns five victories and 18 top-five finishes. He's led 965 laps and won two poles. He won the pole for the August race. Bill Elliott leads the series in starts at Michigan with 61. Terry Labonte leads all active drivers with 55 starts; followed by Martin with 54.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.:crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in May. Notably, this is the same chassis Earnhardt drove to Victory Lane in Michigan last June. In 27 Cup starts at Michigan, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, two pole positions, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has completed 99.2 percent of all laps he's attempted (5,252 laps of 5,295 total) and led 293 laps. Earnhardt's two career pole positions at Michigan are tied for first as career-bests for the 38-year-old driver. He also has captured two career poles at Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Fastenal team will be bringing chassis RK 854 which is a new chassis for the 2013 season. Backup chassis RK 826 last ran in Texas. Edwards will make his 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Michigan International Speedway Sunday. In his previous 17 starts, Edwards has two wins, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. His average start at Michigan is 21.1, his average finish is 8.2. He has completed 99 percent of the laps he has attempted at the two-mile track. Only four times in his previous 17 starts has Edwards finished outside the top 10. Fastenal returns to the track with supplier brands Widia, Walter Meier, ITW and Weiler on the hood, TV panel, deck lid and B-post.


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