Michigan: Round 15 preview

Roush Fenway Teams Seek Continued Success at MIS Jeff Gordon Continues Quest For Fifth Series Title Ryan Newman Is Turning Things Around Roush Fenway Racing Teams Hope History Repeats Itself This Weekend DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2007) --...

Roush Fenway Teams Seek Continued Success at MIS
Jeff Gordon Continues Quest For Fifth Series Title
Ryan Newman Is Turning Things Around

Roush Fenway Racing Teams Hope History Repeats Itself This Weekend

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2007) -- As a team owner, Jack Roush has been to Victory Lane nine times at Michigan International Speedway, second all-time to the Wood Brothers' 11 wins at the two-mile oval. If there was ever a time when his Roush Fenway Racing teams were looking for a repeat performance, then this Father's Day weekend certainly fits the bill.

Two members of the Roush Fenway team -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford) and Greg Biffle (No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford) -- have each won twice at Michigan. Kenseth also has six top fives and 10 top-10 showings at Michigan, while Biffle has four top fives and six top-10 finishes, in addition to his two wins. "It's just a fun track," Kenseth said. "You move around and try to find a groove that works for your car, and there's always a lot of passing there and I think it's always an exciting race."

Kenseth has moved up to second in the standings and has been a model of consistency thus far in 2007, with 10 top 10s, six top fives and one win (at California).

"I feel really good about where we're at," Kenseth said. "Obviously we're in a nice position in points and halfway through I think on the way to the Chase (for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup). I feel pretty comfortable where we're at in the points, and we're just working really hard to get our cars better for the end of the year when it really counts."

While Biffle has struggled to regain his 2005 form, when he finished second in the Chase while winning a series-high six races, Roush Fenway teammate Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) has been a solid fixture in the top 10 for most of 2007. Edwards is currently seventh in the standings.

Emphasis on Winning: Gordon's 4th Win Ties Him With Johnson

Jeff Gordon's (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) victory in last Sunday's rain-shortened event at Pocono Raceway was his fourth win of the 2007 season, tying him with teammate Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) for the most series victories on the year.

Gordon continues to lead the standings, outdistancing second-place Matt Kenseth by 242 points. Last Sunday's victory also provides him with 40 potential bonus points when the top 12 drivers who qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup have their points adjusted following race No. 26 at Richmond International Raceway. They will begin the Chase -- contested during the final 10 events -- seeded according to their number of wins this season.

Gordon Continues Quest For His Fifth Series Championship

Jeff Gordon continues to have the type of season that breeds championships.

The standings leader claimed his 79th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory last Sunday by winning the Pocono 500. With rain clouds threatening the area (the race was eventually called after 106 laps and Gordon declared the winner), crew chief Steve Letarte made a gutsy call and had the No. 24 Chevrolet make a service call on pit road at Lap 83 during green flag racing. Gordon relinquished the lead at that point, but was able to regain it on Lap 100 when Carl Edwards pitted. When the rain came at Lap 104, the red flag was displayed and Gordon was the leader. Nearly 35 minutes later, the race was called and Gordon had claimed his fourth win of the season.

Gordon's 79 career victories rank sixth all-time. He needs five more wins to move past Cale Yarborough (83) and six more to overtake Darrell Waltrip (84) and Bobby Allison (84) and move into third place on the series' all-time win chart. Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105) hold down the top two spots.

Gordon is pursuing his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship. Only Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty have won more series championships than Gordon, with both of those former legends claiming seven crowns.

Gordon's last title came in 2001. He's started 487 consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, the longest active streak. He's also had success at Michigan, with two wins, 15 top fives, 19 top 10's and four poles.

Newman Turning Things Around For No. 12 Dodge Team

Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) has been one of the hottest drivers on the circuit the past month. Thanks to back-to-back second-place finishes at Dover and Pocono and five top-10 showings over the last six races, Newman has climbed 13 spots in the championship standings over this stretch and is knocking on the door of cracking the Top 12.

Currently in 13th place, Newman trails 12th-place driver Mark Martin (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet) by just 22 points. Newman has won twice at Michigan (2003-04) and is beginning to resemble the Ryan Newman of old, highlighted by his series-best eight victories and 11 poles in 2003, the year he finished a career-best sixth in the championship race.

Newman, the 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, posted four consecutive top-10 finishes from 2002-05, a period in which he won 12 races, had 50 top five and 74 top-10 finishes, and sat on 34 poles.

"The last two weeks at Dover and Pocono have been really good for our team," Newman said, "and we know we're on the cusp of getting that next win and I think these last two weeks, our team has proved that we're capable of getting there, we just need to complete the deal."

Newman slumped to an 18th-place finish a year ago, but with new crew chief Mike Nelson at the helm, things are looking up for the South Bend, Ind. native, who goes by the nickname "Rocketman" for his ability to win the pole.

"I consider Michigan my home track," Newman said. "My dad used to take me up there when I was younger to watch the races before NASCAR came to Indianapolis and so it's got a special meaning to me and it would be great to get my next win there this weekend and give my dad a great Father's Day gift. We've won at this track before and we're close to doing it again."

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Richard Petty , Carl Edwards , Bobby Allison , Jack Roush , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin , David Pearson
Teams Roush Fenway Racing