This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
As is typical when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway, long, green-flag runs dominated the running. Drivers who managed to stay up front through the 400 miles had to battle for the win with fuel mileage and horsepower.
The race lead was shared by Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing for much of the 400-mile distance. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle took turns out front, as did Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, while Hendrick Motorsports uncharacteristically struggled.
A late caution left just less than 10 laps to run. That ended the fuel mileage contest everyone had been posturing for, and the top cars were bunched together coming out of the pits. On the restart it was Kenseth who was left to chase Hamlin, though, after spinning his tires upon the green flag.
Hamlin held the bit between his teeth in the final laps, and scored his first victory of the season. That win could make things very difficult for the competition. When Hamlin finds Victory Lane it takes a lot to get him out of it.
This week brings the series to one of the two road course tracks of the season, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma Calif., truly one of the seaon's most exciting races. There is always tight competition, bumping and running, and plenty of challenges happening throughout the field.
This track also brings out many of the road course specialists, and it isn't surprising to see some of the world's best road racers in