Spectator Vs. Spotter, Michigan Edition: The House That Roush Built

Rebecca SpenceCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2009

BROOKLYN, MI - JUNE 14: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, leads Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford, as they enter the first turn during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2009 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

On June 9, 2009 I called MIS, “home to records held by great NASCAR drivers, and bragging rights that echo throughout the halls of major manufacturers.”


I said “Only 67 miles southwest of Detroit, MIS has been a 'must win' on every team's lips for the last 40 years.”


Both of which are ever so true.


But there is so much more to Michigan International Speedway. 


It’s a driver’s track and the fans love it.


From a spectator's standpoint, MIS is grand in both fan—friendly dealings and great side by side racing.


The fans that scream the hardest here are those of Roush-Fenway racing.


To honor those fans and Roush-Fenway’s drivers combined stats (among active drivers) of six wins, 23 top fives, and 36 top-10 finishes in the last 17 races at MIS, I introduce my guest spotter for this week; Joel Edmonds, spotter for the No. 16 team of Greg Biffle.


Edmonds was delighted to share his views on Michigan from a team standpoint.


One of the best things of going to Michigan is that it is in Jack (Roush)’s and the automobile manufacturers’ backyards.  Greg (Biffle) also runs well there, which makes it enjoyable as well,” Edmonds said.


From a spotter’s standpoint Edmonds had this to say:


“With Michigan being approximately two miles in length, you have to look through binoculars the entire day, which makes it tough to walk down the steps when the race is over. 


One of the best things at the track in Michigan is the Spotters’ stand, which is the best on the circuit, and should be a pattern for all the racetracks.”


On the unique challenges at this track, Edmonds added:


Michigan is a multi-groove race track which gives everyone an advantage.  If you aren’t running well in one location you can run top, bottom, or the middle.  Being able to run over the entire track is much better than a track which is just one groove.


“The least favorite is possibly the weather, because it seems like it always rains every time we are there,” Edmonds added.


“Another challenge here is that fuel mileage will always come into play. And, if you are a half of a lap short of gas, as we were the last time we were there.”


What does Edmonds like most about this racetrack? 


The most favorite thing is a chance to go to Cabela’s because there is not one near where I live.  Also, I personally love the fishing in Michigan, which is fantastic.  One of my favorite things regarding the track in Michigan is the fans, it is special in the fact that it seems it is always full and the fans are some of the most enthusiastic we encounter.”


Edmonds has seen Biffle through each of his 13 starts at MIS, and has contributed to the team’s DNF free record here.  He has watched from high above as the team has claimed two wins, six top fives, and eight top-10 finishes since 2003.


This weekend, he looks to guide the No. 16 team to a third victory at this track.



Featured Spotter Bio:


Name:  Joel Edmonds

Hometown:  Dobson, NC

Team Spotter since:  2003

Favorite sport (other than racing): Baseball

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite music/song: Classic Rock and Classic Country

Favorite Movie:  Grumpy Old Men

Favorite off track activity:  Fishing or any activity outdoors

Find Him on: Facebook