Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet won his first race since 2008 at the June Michigan event. It was his first win in 142 races, and the win Jr. was needing to propel him this season for a run at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.
Now we are back at Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400, and everyone is wondering the same thing…
Can Earnhardt Jr. win again and complete the sweep at MIS?
Earnhardt Jr. qualified 22nd, but after wrecking his car at the end of practice and having to go to a backup car, he will now be starting at the back of the field.
Starting at the front of the field is pivotal to winning at MIS.
Race winners have started inside the top-10 in 66 of 86 races at the two mile track. (76.7 percent)
Starting in the first two rows is almost as important as 46 winners have started from the first four spots.
Earnhardt does have some hope of making it to the front. He started 17th in Junes race and last Augusts winner, Kyle Busch started there as well. The furtherest back a race winer has started was 32nd by Mark Martin in June of 2009.
Earnhardt will have to top that if he wants to win again.
Despite going to the back of the field Earnhardt feels confident that he can be the first driver to sweep Michigan in 17 years.
Plenty of strategy will go into getting Earnhardt to the front. “We can take no tires, two tires, whatever, and gain a lot of track position throughout the first part of the race if we get the opportunity under yellows,” he said. “If we don’t have yellows, we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Earnhardt has all but clinched a spot in the Chase. Something that may lead the team to take a few risks in order to score another win and bonus points.