Race Day: Michigan’s Irish Hills Welcomes the NASCAR Cup Series

Victory Lane has had a rotating door this season with 13 different NASCAR Cup Series winners through 22 races.

Excluding Shane Van Gisbergen, who ineligible for the postseason, 12 of the winners have secured their spot in the Playoffs heading into this Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (August 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio); including last weekend’s Richmond Raceway winner Chris Buescher.

With four races left in the regular season, each of these final starts are imperative for contenders to position themselves in a good place as the postseason approaches.

Challenging the competitors this week will be the massive Michigan International Speedway, which sits on more than 1,400 acres in the “Irish Hills” of southeastern Michigan.

Ground-breaking for the facility took place on September 28, 1967 and the two-mile asphalt paved track with 18 degrees of banking in the turns was created – the only track with those dimensions on the schedule.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway was held on June 15, 1969, and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Mercury at an average speed of 139.254 mph.

The NASCAR Cup Series events at Michigan International Speedway have been run at multiple different lengths. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan was 500 miles in length; the second was scheduled for 600 – but was shortened due to weather and only ran 330 miles.

Michigan was re-measured to 2.04 miles for the last race in 1970 and both races in 1971 – with the race distance being 402 miles. All other races have been scheduled for 400 miles, except for the two 2020 races during the pandemic that were 312 miles each and run on consecutive days.

Michigan International Speedway has hosted a total of 105 NASCAR Cup Series races producing 51 different pole winners and 39 different race winners.

NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in wins at Michigan with nine victories (1969, 1972 sweep, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 sweep, 1978). Kevin Harvick (2010, 2018, 2019, 2020-1, 2020-2, 2022) leads all active series drivers in wins at Michigan with six victories. Six of the 39 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Michigan are active this weekend.

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