MIS Races Yield Success in 'Chase for the Nextel Cup'


With one race completed for the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup at New Hampshire on Sept. 17, Michigan International Speedway has had a notable influence on the 10 drivers currently in the Chase.

With the Chase standings beginning to take shape you can't help but notice that some of the top 10 drivers in today's standings are all on a hot-streak, which coincidentally began for many back at MIS on August 20.

Of the current Chase drivers, Denny Hamlin (currently 2nd in standings), Matt Kenseth (3rd), Jeff Gordon (4th), Mark Martin (6th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (7th) and Kasey Kahne (8th) all registered top-10 finishes at MIS in August, which came the week after Watkins Glen where only Kevin Harvick (1st) and Hamlin (10th) posted top-10 showings. MIS was the boost many drivers needed after the road course to get back into the Chase hunt.

In addition, the 10 Chase drivers posted 11 top-10 and 17 top-15 showings in two appearances at MIS in 2006, including victories for Chasers Kenseth (1st in Augusts' GFS Marketplace 400) and Kahne (1st in June's rain-shortened 3M Performance 400).

Jeff Burton (5th in current standings) didn't register a top-10 finish at Michigan in 2006, but placed 11th in June and won the pole in August before suffering an engine-failure. Harvick, who is leading the Chase standings for the first time in his career, placed 10th and 11th respectively at MIS in 2006, as did Jimmie Johnson (9th in standings), who registered finishes of 6th and 13th.

Kyle Busch, who sits 10th in the Chase standings, had the worst average amongst the 10 Chase drivers with finishes of 14th and 39th at MIS in 2006.

There's history to the trend of MIS and the Chase as well. In 2004, five of the top-10 August finishers made the inaugural Chase, which was bettered by six in 2006 (Hamlin, Kenseth, Gordon, Martin, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne). Over the past decade, half of the August Cup winners have finished in the top three in the final point standings.

With the heat on for teams and drivers in the playoff chase, it's safe to say that doing well at MIS in August pays off when it counts.

Deposits are now being accepted for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events at MIS by calling 1-800-354-1010. Placing a deposit allows customers to purchase tickets after the renewal process but before the public on sale date.

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