This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
As we put the wild restarts and high thrills of the three-turn oval in Pocono behind us, we look forward to this weekend when the Monster Energy Cup Series will pay its first visit of the season to Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers Casino 400. This will be the first of two events at the two-mile oval in Brooklyn, Michigan. This facility has wowed us for years with some of the fastest speeds recorded in all of NASCAR. At its height we saw a pole qualifying lap of 206.558 mph in 2014 by Jeff Gordon, and that still stands as the pole qualifying record at MIS. The speeds have gradually drifted downwards in recent seasons, but we still have seen cars turn laps to claim the pole in the low 200's. In our last Michigan race last August, we saw Denny Hamlin claim the pole with his 202.794 mph qualifying lap. With the off-season change to the new aero package we're seeing reduced speeds at most ovals, but for now, Michigan is still an unknown until we race there this weekend. We'll see if these Monster Energy Cup Series cars continue to post laps over 200 mph in the FireKeepers Casino 400.
The oval in Michigan has similar characteristics to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, which the Monster Energy Cup Series raced at in March of this season. Both tracks are two-mile ovals, but Michigan has a little more banking in the corners and straight-aways. As a result,