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3M Performance 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on August 19, 2007

3m400.jpg

The NASCAR Nextel Cup series heads to Michigan International Speedway today for the 3M Performance 400.  The chance for rain today in the Brooklyn, Michigan area is between 70%-100% all day so it is somewhat likely that this race will not be ran until tomorrow.  Despite that, let us take a look at how things shake down.

Check the weather report at the 3M 400 here: Brooklyn, Michigan (Weather.com).

Michigan International is an interesting race in the sense that there has been six different winners in the past six years and despite several Nextel Cup regulars running the in Busch Series race at M.I.S. yesterday that Denny Hamlin won, the winner doesn’t usually replicate their Saturday success on Sunday.  This if a very tough race to call as not one driver has seemed to dominate yearly and it is a race track that Hendrick Motorsports AND Chevrolet HAS NOT seen much success at meaning that Hell must have frozen over (Chevy hasn’t won in last 12 races here, the longest streak for Chevy at any track).

The points situation really heats up as their are just four races left before “The Chase For The Cup” begins.  Kurt Busch finds himself on the bubble in 12th position with Ryan Newman in 13th, just 96 points behind Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 14th, 100 points behind Busch, and Greg Biffle in 15th, 212 points behind Busch which will be extremely hard for Biffle to make up and he’ll need an outstanding run today.

The starting grid sees Jeff Gordon on the Pole AGAIN, his Series-leading ninth Pole of the year.  The rest of the starting grid can be found here: 3M 400 Starting Grid (ESPN.com).

Predictions: 

Winner: 

Greg Biffle – #16 Ameriquest Ford – Roush Racing (Biffle needs a strong finish today to have a glimmer of hope of making “The Chase” and starts in the 2nd position behind Jeff Gordon; Biffle finished 5th in yesterdays Busch Series race at the same track and won this race in 2004 so he knows how to get it done at M.I.S.) 

Others To Watch For:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet (Gordon starts on the Pole and would’ve won last week at Watkins Glen if it weren’t for a brain-fart on the last lap while he was leading;  Crew Chief Steve Letarte is back after his six-race suspension for using illegal parts and having Letarte back will ONLY help Jeff Gordon; Gordon is in contention for every race, look for today to be no different)

Matt Kenseth – #17 DeWalt Tools Ford – Roush Racing (Kenseth starts in the 21st position today but finished a strong 2nd in yesterday’s Busch Series race here and won this race outright last year in 2006; Kenseth is one of the few non-Hendrick Motorsports drivers not named Tony Stewart to notch a win this season so look for good things from Matt in this race)

Denny Hamlin – #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (Despite the Busch Series winner not having the same success on Sundays at M.I.S., you cannot deny the fact that Hamlin learned a lot in his dominating performance yesterday that saw the closest competitor a distance seven seconds behind when the Checkered Flag fell; Hamlin starts up in the Top 10 in the 8th position and looks to build on a strong season of 1 win, 9 Top 5s and 13 Top 10s and sees Hamlin in second in the points)

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