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Last Updated Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 5:27 pm, EDT

Race Capsule

Michigan International Speedway
  • What:

    Race 23 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI

  • When:

    August 22, 2004 2:20 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    2. miles

  • Race Length:

    400.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $4,926,541

Drivers to Watch

Kurt Busch Second straight 10th-place finish has kept him seventh in the standings; took checkered flag in Food City 500 on March 28 and again in Siemens 300 nearly three months later; finished 11th at DHL 400 at this track in June; ran 18th in this race last year before rebounding with a win in the Sharpie 500 the following week.
Jimmie Johnson Series points leader had pole position for the Sirius at the Glen by default after qualifying was rained out; led first lap to pick up five points but was out of the race on lap 23 after experiencing transmission problems for the second straight week; finished 36th and 40th the last two weeks after posting a top-five in 11 of previous 13 races, including three victories; ran 27th in this race last year; unconcerned about recent problems: "We've had some bad luck these last few races, but it's nothing that we're worried about. ... I think we'll do well. We're taking one of our favorite cars (to Michigan). I'm very excited about that."
Jeff Gordon Experienced transmission problems and finished 21st at Watkins Glen International last week; closed to within 40 points of teammate and series leader Jimmie Johnson, who finished 40th; leads the circuit with five victories this year with most recent coming at Brickyard 400 two weeks ago; won back-to-back races at Dodge/Save Mart 350 and Pepsi 400; won four straight poles beginning with DHL 400 here on June 20; won this event in 1998 but finished 30th last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finished fifth at Watkins Glen International last week, easily his best finish since suffering second-degree burns in an American Le Mans Series race in Sonoma on July 18; third in the standings, 128 behind series leader Jimmie Johnson; due in large part to victory at Daytona 500, leads circuit in earnings with $4,835,140; has yet to win the pole this year but has qualified first twice at this event, setting the qualifying record in 2000; finished 32nd in this race last year and has never won it.
Tony Stewart Overcame stomach cramps to win Sirius at the Glen, posting his 19th career victory and second of 2004; also won at Tropicana 400 on July 11; fourth in the standings, 192 points behind Johnson; has competed in 99 consecutive races without the use of a provisional with the last one taken on October 21, 1999 at Talladega; scored 531 more points through 22 races this year than he did all of 2003; finished third in this event last year after qualifying 23rd.
Ryan Newman Defending race champion also won here at DHL 400 for his lone win of 2004; finished 31st and 26st the last two weeks to fall to 12th in the standings, 29 points behind 10th-place Jeremy Mayfield; leads all active drivers with five or more starts here in average starting position (6.83) and leads the circuit with an average of 8.55 this year; looking for continued success in Michigan: "Michigan just keeps getting better for the Alltel team. The win there in June meant a lot to us and seemed to get the monkey off our back as far as needing a win. Another win there on Sunday would be just as important to us."
Matt Kenseth Defending champion is fifth in the standings this year, 267 points behind Johnson; finished ninth in Sirius at the Glen last week; had consecutive wins in Subway 400 on February 22 and UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 7 but has finished in the top three just once in 19 races since - a third in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30; tied for third on the circuit with 13 top-10 finishes; ran ninth in this event last year despite qualifying 33rd.
Kasey Kahne Finished 14th in Sirius at the Glen last week, ending string of three straight top-10s; 11th in the standings, 24 points behind Jeremy Mayfield, who is 10th; leads all rookies with seven top-five finishes, including a second at the DHL 400 at this track in June; in search for his first circuit victory; leading candidate for Rookie of the Year with Brian Vickers a distant second; won four poles with most recent coming at Pocono 500 on June 13.
Tied for second with Mark Martin among active drivers with four wins here; set the track race record with a speed of 173.997 in victory at the Kmart 400 on June 13, 1999; won this race in 1991, 1996 and 2002 but finished 23rd last year; early collision with Brian Vickers in Sirius at the Glen last week cost him a lap and he settled for a 27th-place finish; fell one spot to 14th, 87 points behind Jeremy Mayfield, who is 10th; best finish of 2004 was a second in Brickyard 400 two weeks ago.
Amidst rumors that he will announce his retirement next week effective at the end of the season, is 19th in the standings this year; culminating with checkered flag in Auto Parts 500 on April 18, posted five top-10 finishes in the first eight races this year; has finished no higher than 10th in 15 races since; leads all active drivers with nine wins here, including this race three times; won both races here in 2000; tied with Mark Martin among all active drivers with seven poles here.
Jeff Burton In his first race with Richard Childress Racing after winning 17 races with Roush Racing since 1996; signed a multi-year deal on August 12 to drive the No. 30 American Online Chevrolet; best finish this year is a fourth at the MBNA 400 on June 6 and has gone 98 straight races since taking the checkered flag; finished 12th in three of last four races and is 23rd in the standings with 2,237 points; won the pole here in 1996 and finished ninth; has not posted a DNF in 21 races here.
Greg Biffle Took lead with 17 laps remaining and won GFS Marketplace 400 last week; was his first Nextel Cup win since July 2003 in Daytona; previous best finish this year was a fourth in Pennsylvania 500 August 1, one day after winning a Busch Series race in Colorado; posted three top-10 finishes in last four races after managing just one through his first 19 this year; finished 12th here in Food City 500 in March and ran 22nd in this race last year.
Casey Mears Posted best finish of his career with a fourth at Sirius at the Glen last week despite running out of fuel 100 yards from the finish line; it was his eighth top-10 finish this season and first top-five; had his string of two straight poles broken last week when a wet track forced starting position to be determined by standings order; finished 31st here at the DHL 400 in June after qualifying ninth.