BROOKLYN, Mich. — After running its first “stand alone” race of the season last Sunday at Iowa Speedway, an event delayed one day due to rain, the Nationwide Series rejoins the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
A record could be set in Nationwide at Michigan. Austin Dillon currently has three consecutive poles. If he wins today’s qualifying for the 250-mile race at this track, he will become the first driver in series history that claimed four poles in a row.
Dillon, the 23-year-old grandson of NASCAR multi-team owner Richard Childress, won the pole for last year’s Nationwide race at Michigan with a new track qualifying record of 190.375 mph. He also earned the pole for the truck race here in 2010. Dillon is in his second full season in Nationwide, driving the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
“We’re out here trying to break records and create a name for ourselves,” Dillon said. “If we can go out there and break that six-way tie that it is right now in the Nationwide Series for poles it would be amazing. I’ve got the pole at Michigan actually twice. We’re going to a track where I’m very capable of setting the pole.”
We’ve got (Earnhardt-Childress Racing) engines, some great horsepower this year. Hopefully we can get it done this weekend.”
Dillon put on a dominating performance at Iowa, leading 207 of 250 laps. Trevor Bayne passed him for the lead with 12 laps to go and went on to score his second career win in the series. Dillon finished second.
“Truthfully, I felt like that was the best car we’ve had all year long,” Dillon said of his performance at Iowa. “If the Cup guys were there, I don’t think the outcome would have been much different. I think we were going to lead laps either way. I’ve raced against the Cup guys in a bunch of races this year. There’s only been really one that’s changed the outcome, and that’s Kyle Busch. He’s been tough. His car has been dominant at a bunch of these races.”
Regan Smith comes to Michigan with a 23-point lead over Sam Hornish Jr. Justin Allgaier is 44 points behind, while Dillon trails by 46.
Busch, Joey Logano, and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race. Logano won at Michigan one year ago. Busch has scored six wins in 12 Nationwide races this season. He did not compete at Talladega and Iowa.