NASCAR rail: 3M Performance 400 by Bondo at a glance

Dan Beaver

3M PERFORMANCE 400 BY BONDO

AT A GLANCE

WHERE: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI

WHEN: TV Start 1:00 p.m. ET

BROADCAST: ESPN, live on Sirius satellite radio, channel 128

THE LOWDOWN: MIS has long been the House of Roush. With Jack Roush’s corporate offices just up the road in Livonia, this is the hometown track for the owner and his drivers have rarely disappointed him. Even while he struggled on other courses, Jamie McMurray finished in the top 10 in two of his last three attempts and sensational sophomore David Ragan was eighth there this spring. That makes this a great place for the No. 6 to get back on track after a tempestuous trip around the twisty track in New York.

Last 5 WINNERS:

2007: Kurt Busch

2006: Matt Kenseth

2005: Jeremy Mayfield

2004: Greg Biffle

2003: Ryan Newman

LAST WEEK'S WINNER: KYLE BUSCH

At Pocono Raceway two weeks ago, crew chief Steve Addington said that the team was going to start experimenting and at Watkins Glen, the No. 18 reportedly had a revolutionary carburetor that raised a bit of uncertainty in the final stages of the Centurion Boats at the Glen. Busch not only won on the road course, he easily pulled away from one of the best road racers in the series. The only ones capable of slowing Busch down at the moment are his own team if and when one of these experiments goes awry.

1. Kyle Busch

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 21.3 in six starts

In seven previous starts at Michigan, Busch has never cracked the top five and earned only two top-10s. That would seem to make this one of his worst tracks, but with his momentum, he can’t be discounted.

2. Carl Edwards

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 7.2 in six starts

Edwards survived the road course with a top-10 finish and now he goes to a track that has been one of his best. In eight races at Michigan, he's missed the top 10 only once, when rain altered the outcome.

3. Jimmie Johnson

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 9.5 in six starts

Johnson and Edwards have been the hottest drivers on the circuit during the last five weeks with six first-, second- or third-place finishes between them. This wide two-miler will keep their momentum alive.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 7.5 in six starts

The last time the series was at Michigan, Earnhardt scored his first victory for Hendrick Motorsports, which did not come as much of a surprise in light of the top-15 streak he had there in the last two years.

5. Jeff Burton

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 22.0 in six starts

Given the solid start he had to the 2008 season, Burton is not in jeopardy of falling out of the top 12 in points, but he's lost all of his momentum and earned only one top-10 in the last eight races.

6. Jeff Gordon

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 13.2 in six starts

The No. 24 team is walking on a razor's edge in terms of setups and is struggling more than at any other time in its history, but it's possible the team could start to hit on all eight cylinders in time for the Chase.

7. Tony Stewart

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 11.2 in six starts

Stewart finished second in the last two races at Pocono and the Glen, but those were his two best opportunities to win this season and now it's more likely than ever that he could end 2008 winless.

8. Kasey Kahne

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 16.5 in six starts

In recent weeks, Kahne traded in consistency for strength. During the summer, he won at Lowe's and Pocono before finishing second at Michigan. His last five efforts have been between seventh and 15th.

9. Denny Hamlin

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 10.8 in five starts

The last few weeks have been uneven for Hamlin, but don't look for any major stumbles at Michigan. In five starts there, he's never finished outside the top 15 and he's nearly as strong on the sister track in California.

10. Greg Biffle

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 15.7 in six starts

His recent record doesn't show it, but this is one of Biffle's better tracks. He won back-to-back races at Michigan in 2004 and 2005. When he misses, it's not by much. He has six top-10s in 11 starts.

11. Kevin Harvick

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 12.8 in six starts

Look for the No. 29 team to go into a prevent defense this weekend and try to earn a solid result. Harvick hasn't had a top-five at Michigan since 2003, but his last nine races averaged a result of 15th.

12. Matt Kenseth

Last three years’ average finish at Michigan: 11.0 in six starts

There were battles throughout the field last week at Watkins Glen and with his respectable 12th-place finish, Kenseth barely climbed back into the top 12 in points in time to come home to the House of Roush.

Laps in the top 10, last three years

Two-mile tracks (Michigan and California)

Driver    Top-10 laps    Possible Laps

Jimmie Johnson     2,898    3,990

Matt Kenseth     2,667    3,990

Jeff Gordon     2,405    3,990

Carl Edwards     2,212    3,290

Kasey Kahne     2,060    3,990

Tony Stewart     1,950    3,990

Greg Biffle     1,932    3,990

Kurt Busch     1,925    3,990

Mark Martin     1,897    3,740

Kyle Busch    1,823    3,340

Brian Vickers     1,283    3,990

Ryan Newman     1,275    3,990

Dale Earnhardt Jr.    1,233    3,990

Jeff Burton     1,076    3,990

Kevin Harvick     1,008    3,990

Joe Nemechek     970    3,990

Jamie McMurray     943    3,990

Elliott Sadler     882    3,990

Denny Hamlin    822    2,186

Casey Mears     717    3,740

Martin Truex Jr.    693    2,186

Clint Bowyer    689    2,186

Michael Waltrip     544    3,740

Bobby Labonte     514    3,990

Robby Gordon     350    3,990

Scott Riggs    337    3,740

Terry Labonte    248    2,054

Reed Sorenson    198    2,186

Dave Blaney     166    3,290

David Ragan    129    1,356

Travis Kvapil     87    1,936

David Reutimann    56    1,356

Paul Menard    55    1,556

A.J. Allmendinger    41    653

Sam Hornish Jr.    37    453

David Gilliland    35    1,806

Juan Montoya    26    1,356

Kyle Petty     26    3,384

Patrick Carpentier    4    203

Aric Almirola    2    250

P.J. Jones     1    200

Michael McDowell    0    203

Boris Said    0    504

Average running position at Michigan, last three years

Rank    Driver    Average Place

1.    Carl Edwards    7.432

2.    Jimmie Johnson    8.084

3.    Greg Biffle    9.659

4.    Dale Earnhardt Jr.    10.910

5.    Jeff Gordon    11.712

6.    Matt Kenseth    11.896

7.    Denny Hamlin    12.296

8.    Kurt Busch    12.954

9.    Martin Truex Jr.    13.566

10.    Tony Stewart    14.215

11.    Kyle Busch    16.566

12.    Mark Martin    16.775

13.    Sam Hornish Jr.    16.911

14.    Kasey Kahne    17.469

15.    Casey Mears    17.928

16.    Kevin Harvick    18.124

17.    Brian Vickers    19.211

18.    David Ragan    19.417

19.    Bobby Labonte    20.512

20.    Clint Bowyer    20.708

21.    Jeff Burton    20.832

22.    Jamie McMurray    20.950

23.    Ryan Newman    21.003

24.    Michael Waltrip    21.678

25.    Sterling Marlin    22.456

Number of quality passes during last three years

(Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.)

Rank    Driver    Quality Passes

1.    Carl Edwards    382

2.    Dale Earnhardt Jr.    342

3.    Greg Biffle    335

4.    Jimmie Johnson    315

5.    Matt Kenseth    292

6.    Tony Stewart    289

7.    Kyle Busch    261

8.    Kurt Busch    255

9.    Jeff Gordon    246

10.    Brian Vickers    234

11.    Kevin Harvick    233

12.    Kasey Kahne    230

13.    Denny Hamlin    225

14.    Mark Martin    214

15.    Michael Waltrip    206

16.    Casey Mears    190

17.    Jeff Burton    184

18.    Martin Truex Jr.    179

19.    Bobby Labonte    179

20.    Ryan Newman    163

21.    Joe Nemechek    160

22.    Jamie McMurray    136

23.    Robby Gordon    131

24.    Clint Bowyer    127

25.    Elliott Sadler    125