It Will Be High Speeds in Big Groups for NASCAR in Michigan

NASCAR Cup Series cars racing at Michigan International Speedway 8-7-22
NASCAR Cup Series cars racing at Michigan International Speedway 8-7-22 (Photo credit: YouTube)

The NASCAR Cup Series will face the challenge of pack racing at high speeds in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway this week.

The 2-mile track offers drivers the chance to run wide-open hitting speeds of 200 mph in places. The cars will also be racing in packs that are two, three or possibly even four wide at times.

Those packs can be less than ten cars or the entire field at times. If one car has an issue at the front or in the middle of the pack, many cars can find themselves without time to avoid being caught in a wreck. If you have been a NASCAR fan for even one year, you know those wrecks are called the “Big One.”

Here’s the data for the track and the race this week.

Michigan International Speedway Data:
Track Size: 2-miles
Banking/Turns: 18 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  3,600 feet
Backstretch Length:  2,242 feet

FireKeepers Casino 400 Data:
Season Race #: 23 of 36 (08-06-23)
Race Length: 200 laps / 400 miles
Stage 1 Length: 45 laps
Stage 2 Length: 75 laps
Final Stage Length: 80 laps

These are the active drivers who have won a Cup Series race during their careers.

Kevin Harvick6 Wins2022, 2020 sweep, 2019, 2018, 2010
Joey Logano3 Wins2019, 2016, 2013
Kyle Larson3 Wins2017 sweep, 2016
Denny Hamlin2 Wins2011, 2010
Ryan Blaney1 Win2021
Kyle Busch1 Win2011

The drivers that can find the speed, but avoid the “Big One” will have the chance to be there in the end for the win. That might be easier said than done. There are just four races left before the playoffs (counting this one). The four spots just above the cut line are filled based on points. Those drivers do not have a win yet this season. Should a driver below the cut line win the race, they would move up above those four drivers and the bottom driver would be moved below the cut line.

That means there will likely be a lot of aggressive drivers making aggressive moves for the chance to “win to get in” the post-season. That also means there will be a lot of chances for a mistake to be made that could cause the “Big One” or even multiple “Big Ones” during the race.

The pack will form and speeds will rise when the green flag waives Sunday, August 6th starting at 1:30 p.m. central time (2:30 p.m. eastern time) in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens