This week NASCAR returns to a traditional oval as drivers will take on the Michigan International Speedway. Many all the 2-mile D shaped oval one of the cookie cutter tracks on the circuit, but drivers say MIS has its own personality.
Michigan is its own unique two-mile track. You really can't compare it to places like California Speedway anymore," said Newman. "They've kind of flip flopped. Before, California was the new pavement and Michigan was old. Now, it's the opposite. I look forward to going back up to Michigan"
The track was just repaved last year and not all the reviews are raves a year later.
"Michigan changed so much when they paved it," said Matt Kensenth. "Before they paved it -- it was probably one of the best tracks on the circuit. You could run from the apron in (turns) three and four all the way up against the fence and there were people just all over the place looking for grip. It's really been a single lane, very treacherous, very hard to race around other cars and aero-sensitive track since they paved it. I'm hoping after another year of winter it will be better when we get there this time."
Both Kenseth and Newman are past Michigan winners, each holding two wins there. Greg Biffle leads all active drivers with four MIS wins. Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, and Denny Hamlin each have two Michigan wins. Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano have also visited Michigan victory lane.
"This has always been one of my favorite race tracks," said Vickers. "I've always loved coming here. I think it makes for great racing. There's nothing like seeing cars two, three, four wide -- places they shouldn't be especially at 200 mph going into turn one. It's been a good track for me historically. I hope that it continues to be so even with the new pavement."
Harvick stars on the pole and will lead the field to the green flag at 12:16 central time. Jeff Gordon, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Aric Almirola and Paul Menard round out the top five starters.