The headline from Sunday’s Pocono 400 could (and should) have read “Trash Takes Its Toll, Junior Takes Advantage.”
While Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win was a great triumph for his legions of fans and for the members of the No. 88 team, it was another “right place at the right time” moment for NASCAR.
There was no thrilling pass for the lead in the closing laps as we’ve seen in several races this season. What race fans did get was a lesson on how a small object can bring down a big one. The piece of trash on the front of Brad Keselowski’s Ford Fusion might as well have been the size of a billboard. Its location on the front of the No. 2 couldn’t have been much worse, as it blocked much of the air needed to cool a very hot Ford racing engine.
It’s time to look forward to the week ahead as teams prepare to race 400 miles on what has become the Sprint Cup Series’ fastest track.
Michigan is the traditional home of the American auto industry and so a win at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway, with its grandstands full of autoworkers and automotive sponsor VIPs, is a huge morale boost for both the team and the winning manufacturer.
Chevrolet has dominated Sprint Cup competition in 2014. History tells us that MIS is Ford country.
Here are the key storylines for the week as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.