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

Race Capsule

Michigan International Speedway
  • What:

    Race 15 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI

  • When:

    June 19, 2005 2:10 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    2. miles

  • Race Length:

    400.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $4,955,273

Drivers to Watch

Ryan Newman Battled back from overheating issues that left him a lap down to win this event last year; also won the previous event on this track in August 2003, when he passed Kurt Busch with three remaining; has four top-fives in seven career starts here; leads the circuit with four poles but qualified 17th last week at Pocono Raceway, ending a string of 20 events for which he qualified 10th or better; fell two spots to sixth in the standings after an accident led to a 34th-place finish in the Pocono 500; was his third result of 30th or worse this season; has seven top-10s with a top finish of third this season.
Tony Stewart Tumbled five spots to 10th in the standings following a 29th in last week's Pocono 500; was his third straight finish of 15th or worse after running second to Kasey Kahne's first career win in Richmond on May 14; finished 24th in this event last year but rebounded to run ninth in the GFS Marketplace 400 in August for his seventh top-10 in 12 career starts on this track; finished second here in August 2002 and won the rain-shortened event June 2000; also won an IROC event at Michigan in August 2001; seeking his first win since August 15 - a span of 28 events: "We've been close a couple times this year but we just haven't been able to capitalize. We've just had a lot of bad luck this year and we're missing something."
Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion ran ninth at Pocono Raceway last week, halting a string of three straight DNFs; climbed two spots to ninth in the standing to end a one-week hiatus outside the top 10 in points; is second on the circuit with three checkered flags this season, including the season-opening Daytona 500; needs four more victories to match the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time list; has 14 top-fives, including two victories, in 24 career starts here; also has four career poles here and is the only active driver to post an average start (9.6) and finish (9.3) of 10th or better on the track he considers his favorite: "I love racing here. The track is so wide and there are so many grooves in the corners that the car doesn't have to be perfect."
Jimmie Johnson Ran sixth at Pocono Raceway last week for his circuit-high 11th top-10 on the season; has 17 top-10s, including six victories, in the last 20 events dating to last season; is atop the series standings with 2,062 points, 123 ahead of second-place Biffle; has led the standings following 11 straight races; ran fourth in this event last season, his best finish in six career starts on this track; started on the pole here in August when rain canceled qualifying and finished 40th; his only pole position this year also came courtesy of rain canceling qualifying earlier this month; doesn't put emphasis on winning poles: "I remember a remark that Mark Martin made to me in my rookie year in the Busch Series. He said, 'You know, you'll come into this sport and you'll qualify great but you won't race well. Then you'll figure out what you need to feel to race well and your qualifying will go away.' And I guess that's kind of what happened to me."
Kyle Busch The younger brother of Kurt Busch ran fourth at Pocono Raceway last week for his third top-five in the last four races; climbed a spot to 18th in the points standings, tops among circuit rookies; has a pair of runner-up finishes among his four top-fives as Hendrick Motorsports' replacement driver for two-time series champion Terry Labonte, who retired from full-time competition last year; became the youngest NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner at 20 years, 18 days on May 20 and followed with another win in the next event on that circuit; won the Busch Series Cabela's 250 on this track on August 21.
Elliott Sadler Maintained his spot of third in the standings despite a 21st in the Pocono 500 on Sunday, two days after announcing he will remain with Robert Yates Racing through 2008; was just his third finish outside the top 20 this season and he has not finished worse than 29th; has seven top-10s with a best finish of second from the pole in the Food City 500 at Bristol on April 3; also ran second in the non-points All-Star Challenge last month; has struggled in 12 career starts here, managing only one top-10 finish - a fifth in this event last year.
Carl Edwards Won last week's Pocono 500 under caution after an accident involving Bobby Labonte occurred during the "overtime" laps; was his second win of the season, vaulting him five spots to fourth in the series standings; the victory came at the expense of his Busch Series standings lead as he skipped that circuit's event, which was postponed Saturday and rescheduled for Sunday in Nashville; has six top-10s in his first first full season on this circuit after making 13 starts last season; made his Cup debut on this track last season, running 10th in August.
Greg Biffle Took the checkered flag that last time the circuit visited here, winning the GFS Marketplace 400 on August 22; since then, won the 2004 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and four of the first 13 events of 2005; had string of four straight top-10 finishes halted with a 30th at Pocono Raceway last week; is second in the points standings, 123 points off the pace set by Jimmie Johnson; also is second in top-10s (9) and tied for second in top-fives (5) this year; was 23rd in the standings entering last year's spring event here, in which he finished 23rd.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Disappointing season continued last week when tire problems led to a 33rd at Pocono Raceway; the result was his fourth outside the top 30, compared to only three top-fives through 14 events; has run 22nd or worse in three events since Steve Hmiel replaced Pete Rondeau and is 16th in the standings; was leading the points standings at this point last year; is seeking his first win of 2005 after recording a career-high six checkered flags last year; has won a pair of poles on this track, including July 2001, when he set the track record of 191.149 miles per hour; finished 21st in both events here last year.