Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
After a weekend off, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will take on a new racing surface as the circuit heads to Michigan International Speedway, a track that was recently repaved, for Saturday’s running of the Alliance Truck Parts 250.
While there are a lot of unknowns heading into the race weekend because of the new track surface, at least one thing hasn’t changed. Toyota has never won a Nationwide event in Michigan.
Things are going really well over here and we have been on a roll.
Joey Logano, this weekend driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota looks to be the perfect candidate to give the manufacturer its first series win at MIS. After all, the part-time Nationwide Series driver leads the circuit with four wins, three of those coming in the last four races. He is the most recent driver to visit a Nationwide victory lane, winning a couple of weekends ago at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
“I’m really excited to get back in the Dollar General Toyota this weekend with Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and all of the guys over here on the Nationwide side of Joe Gibbs Racing,” Logano said. “Things are going really well over here and we have been on a roll. It’s really nice to think that when we show up to the track, we are one of the cars that everyone is looking at and everyone is thinking about having to beat. That just goes to show you what a great job we’ve done with these Nationwide Series cars over the off-season and how far myself, Adam and the entire JGR Nationwide Series have come.”
Logano is also riding a wave of momentum, coming off his second-career Sprint Cup win last weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
“Right now, Joey is on a roll on both the Nationwide side and the Cup side,” crew chief Adam Stevens said. “So we feel like we should be the car to beat.”
The Nationwide Series competitors don’t hit the new surface for the first time until Friday, but if speeds turned in by Sprint Cup Series cars during a day of testing on Thursday are any indication, speeds this weekend are going to be fast. All 43 Cup cars participating in Thursday’s test posted speeds bettering the track record speed currently claimed by Ryan Newman.
“Obviously what most people are going to be talking about is the repave,” Stevens said. “I’m sure that will mean that there will be lots of grip and that will likely mean we will never come out of the throttle. I think it might actually be closed to a superspeedway race than a typical intermediate track race.”
The Nationwide Series will practice extensively on Friday before hitting the track for qualifying on Saturday morning, with racing to follow Saturday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. ET.