CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports will head to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the 105th NASCAR Cup Series race held in the Irish Hills.
Since 1969, the Cup Series has made at least one stop at the facility in the Great Lakes region each year. The 2-mile D-shaped oval boasts 18 degrees of banking in the turns and 12 degrees of banking on the front straightaway. Due to its configuration, the track produces high-speed action around every corner.
Last year's visit to Michigan saw Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott start on the front row together and spend most of their time in front of the field. For Larson, the effort earned the Elk Grove, California, native a third-place finish after leading a race-high 70 laps. Elliott brought home his No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet in the eighth spot after pacing the competition for 68 laps and scoring a stage win.
William Byron also ran well, leading the field for 18 laps before crossing the line in the runner-up position, less than one-tenth of a second behind the first-place finisher. He led with nine laps to go before being passed by eventual race winner Ryan Blaney. Alex Bowman placed his No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet inside the top-15 for most of the race before ending the event in the 16th position.
Heading into the Michigan, Elliott will look to extend his 125-point lead in the regular season standings. The two-mile facility will serve as a prime opportunity for the Dawsonville, Georgia, native to do just that. With an average finish of 7.7, he has the best Cup Series all-time average finish among drivers with three or more starts at the venue. His 10 top-10 finishes at the Brooklyn, Michigan, track are his most at any circuit.
The defending Cup Series champion's record at this particular track stands for itself. Larson won three consecutive races at Michigan - spanning from the Aug. 28, 2016 (also his first Cup Series win) to Aug. 13, 2017. His last two races there have yielded back-to-back third-place finishes. Larson's win in 2022 came at the schedule's other two-mile layout, Auto Club Speedway.
Byron has also run well at the southeastern Michigan track in his career with four-straight top-15 finishes and that career-best runner-up result last year. Bowman's results for Hendrick Motorsports in the Irish Hills include two top-10 finishes that came during the 2019 season. Both drivers will look at Michigan as an opportunity to rebound from tough breaks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course as they look to build momentum heading into toward the playoffs.
Five Hendrick Motorsports drivers have tasted victory at Michigan in the history of the organization, combining for eight wins total. Jeff Gordon has claimed three checkered flags followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s two victories. Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Ricky Rudd each won one race.
Here is what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.
WHAT TIME IS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING?
On Saturday, Aug. 6, Cup Series group practice will start at 12:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App. Group qualifying will also take place immediately after practice, starting at 1:20 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the NBC Sports App as well.
Byron will be in Group A, while Bowman, Larson and Elliott are all in Group B.
WHAT TIME IS THE RACE?
The 400-mile Cup Series main event is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 7, and will be broadcast on USA Network.
CAN I LISTEN ON THE RADIO?
The race will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90).
CAN I STREAM ONLINE?
FIVE FAST FACTS HEADING INTO MICHIGAN
Data courtesy of Racing Insights
1: Bowman has claimed victory on a 2-mile oval track once in his career, dominating the Cup Series race at Auto Club in March 2020.
3: Victories that Larson has claimed in the Irish Hills. Those wins came in three consecutive races in 2016 and 2017, making the venue his winningest track to date on the Cup Series calendar.
12: Races that Byron has led this season. This mark puts is tied for fifth in the Cup Series with teammate Elliott and Denny Hamlin.
20: With this many victories, Hendrick Motorsports is tied for the most combined wins at Michigan and Auto Club. These are currently the only 2-mile tracks on the schedule.
197: Elliott has scored this many points in the last four races. The 26-year-old driver leads the field in this category by 56 markers over the next closest driver, Christopher Bell.