NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Wednesday, Aug 29, 2007 2:40 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Michigan International Speedway
  • What:

    Race 28 of 41 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI

  • When:

    August 21, 2007 10:15 am EDT

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    2. miles

  • Race Length:

    400.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,138,579

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon Spun with less than two laps remaining at Watkins Glen while leading, costing him a potential fifth win this season; still managed to finish ninth for his 10th straight top-10 finish; still owns a comfortable 344-point cushion atop the series standings despite being docked 100 points for failing post-qualifying inspections at Sonoma, where he ran seventh; has four checkered flags this season and 79 career, just four shy of tying Cale Yarborough for fifth place all-time; reached a landmark milestone at Talladega, recording his 77th career victory to pass the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth all-time; has completely dominated the circuit this season and is on pace to capture his fifth career title, leading the series in poles (8), top-five finishes (14) and top-10s (20); ran second in this race last year.
Jimmie Johnson Seems to be back on track with a third at Watkins Glen following a fifth at Pocono; defending series champion has suffered through an up-and-down season, finishing 39th at the Brickyard after a fiery crash on the heels of a 37th at Chicago; prior to those two poor showings, finished 10th at Daytona after running fifth at New Hampshire; has posted victories this season at Las Vegas, Atlanta, Martinsville and Richmond; despite collecting 11 top-five finishes, has been hurt by five finishes outside the top 35; finished 13th in this event last season.
Denny Hamlin Rebounded from a 22nd-place finish at the Brickyard by placing second last week at Watkins Glen following a third at Pocono; remains second in the standings, 344 points behind Gordon; followed up his first win of the season at New Hampshire by finishing dead last at Daytona after wrecking early in the race with teammate Tony Stewart; has avoided the sophomore slump by finishing out of the top-10 just six times in the past 18 races; has nine top-five finishes and 13 top-10s this season; finished second at Darlington and has five third-place finishes at Las Vegas, Martinsville, Phoenix, Richmond and Pocono; finished ninth in this event last year.
Jeff Burton Ran 40th last week at Watkins Glen and dropped two spots in the standings to sixth; has registered four top-10 finishes over the previous six races, with the other blip a 16th at Daytona in addition to his troubles at Watkins Glen; ran seventh at New Hampshire and third at Sonoma to end a stretch of four consecutive finishes outside the top 10; trails series points leader Jeff Gordon by 578 points; has six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s this season; has only three finishes of 34th or worse this season; captured his first victory of the season at Texas; ran 42nd in this event last season.
Matt Kenseth Ran 12th at Watkins Glen and remained third in the standings, 432 points behind Gordon; posted fourth straight top-10 finish by placing 10th at the Brickyard; ran 34th and 42nd, respectively, prior to the four straight top-10 results; captured his only victory of the season in the campaign's second race at California; has seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s this season; won this race last season and has 10 top-10 finishes in 16 starts here.
Kevin Harvick Continued recent struggles with a 36th at Watkins Glen on the heels of a 17th at Pocono, dropping a spot to 10th in the standings; finished seventh at the Brickyard and has five top-10 finishes over his past eight races; won the season-opening Daytona 500 by nipping Mark Martin at the finish line; has four top-fives and 10 top-10s this season; finished second to Juan Pablo Montoya on the road course at Sonoma; has finished lower than 30th only three times this season; finished 11th in this event last season.
Tony Stewart Continued his recent surge by winning at Watkins Glen for his third win over his past four races; captured back-to-back victories at Chicagoland and at the Brickyard while placing sixth at Pocono during that stretch; is fourth in the standings, 445 points behind Gordon; finished 38th at Daytona prior to his win at Chicago after an early-race crash with teammate Denny Hamlin; has turned his season around with eight finishes of sixth or better over the last 10 races; was third at this event last year and has
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Followed up a season-best second-place finish at Pocono with a 42nd at Watkins Glen to fall to 14th in the standings - 100 points out of the final spot in the "Chase for the Championship"; finished 19th or worse over the previous three races prior to Pocono, including a 34th at the Brickyard and a 36th at Daytona; leaving the company his father founded to run for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008; has yet to win a race and has just one pole (Pocono) this season, but has four top-five finishes and eight top-10s; also has six finishes of 30th or lower; placed sixth in this event last season.