Former announcer Mike Gallaway, who worked with ESPN and TNN to cover monster trucks and tractor pulling, had a slogan that described a vehicle known as the Budweiser Boss. The 4x4 pulling truck was fast because of it's two engines. On occasion, Gallaway would say the truck had two gears, "fast and very fast."
In NASCAR, that slogan describes one track to perfection.
NASCAR this week is in the Irish Hills of Michigan, once again visiting the rather prominent 2-mile speedway that has many grooves, but incredibly fast speeds. Earlier this year, the track record was broken in qualifying. It is no secret that this place will have speeds averaging over 200 mph a lap, and speeds at some point would hit beyond 210 or 215 on this track. The repaving in 2012 has made this a speed sensation for everyone involved.
"Fast and very fast" is a very accurate statement, and as these cars keep improving and getting better, the speeds will pick up. That's what has made this track a fun place for all drivers.
But, speed isn't what wins races. It is 200 laps of action that does, and the writers know that a race isn't won in practice, or in qualifying. It's won from the moment the green flag is in the air until that first driver sees the checkered flag. Who have they elected to win? Take a look at this dirty dozen for the Pure Michigan 400:
Misan Akuya: Kyle Larson
The rookie is making things happen.
Rob Blount: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He’s got three wins this year and we know how much he likes this race track.
James Broomhead: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Billy Fellin: Joey Logano
Reigning champ of this race, think he'll bring it this weekend.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Kara Martin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ryan O'Hara: Kevin Harvick
Dustin Parks: Joey Logano
I originally wanted to "Stick with the Biff" but I think hearing that his lead sponsor is going to Hendrick to go on the No. 24 is a big thing on this team's mind, and even though they like this track, it's hard to stick by them. That being said, I do feel that Ford wants to get back to victory lane in the worst way. They have not been victorious since New Hampshire, which was a month ago. I decided to go with the guy that won here a year ago, and is itching to get his third win of 2014. Gimme that 22.
Patti Rodisch: Brad Keselowski
Aside from Indianapolis, Brad Keselowski has shown consistent speed on the larger tracks this season. I think Keselowski finds his way to victory lane for the fourth time in 2014.
Aaron Rosser: Brad Keselowski
I seem to be a freaking jinx with this one (even though I picked Dinger right last week) so I'm just gonna pick the guy I'd feel least bad about jinxing.
Sal Sigala Jr: Brad Keselowski
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
After seeing two races in which a third and fourth win (possibly) faded away, I think this No. 24 team, although locked in the Chase, is going to have all hands on deck through Homestead-Miami in November. That being said, I look for Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 Axalta Chevy team to capture the checkered flag for a third time in 2014 at Michigan.
Standings after Watkins Glen:
Rob Tiongson (763) A.J. Allmendinger WON - 4
Kara Martin (753) Jeff Gordon finished 34th - 3
Ryan O'Hara (752) Jeff Gordon finished 34th - 5
Patti Rodisch (746) Jeff Gordon finished 34th - 3
Sal Sigala Jr. (721) Brad Keselowski finished 35th - 5
Dustin Parks (715) Marcos Ambrose finished 2nd - 2
Billy Fellin (702) Marcos Ambrose finished 2nd - 1
Rob Blount (687) A.J. Allmendinger WON - 3
Michael Hirshbein (672) Marcos Ambrose finished 2nd - 1
Aaron Rosser (669) A.J. Allmendinger WON - 2
Misan Akuya (630) Jamie McMurray finished 14th - 1
James Broomhead (613) Marcos Ambrose finished 2nd - 2
Final Remarks: Michigan has become not just a favorite for fans, but drivers and teams. The many lanes to choose from gives teams options in setups, and drivers in lines. It is either a race where it comes down to a final restart, or who can save just enough Sunoco fuel to make it to the finish. But no matter how it turns out, the one thing that is always a guarantee to be fun for everyone.
Find out who will be victorious on ESPN shortly after 1 p.m. ET.
Summary of Picks:
Dale Earnhardt Jr-3