NASCAR notebook, Michigan: Larson OK with calculated risk

Dale Jr. heading overseas to find roots.

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Given his position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, Kyle Larson understands that his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team may have to go for broke to win a race and qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR sprint Cup. 

That’s exactly what happened on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, when Larson’s crew chief, Chris Heroy, kept the car on the track in hopes it would be leading when an impending thunderstorm arrived. 

With a push from eventual race winner Kurt Busch, Larson indeed took the lead moments after a restart on Lap 130 of the Quicken Loans 400, but Larson had to pit for fuel on Lap 133, handing the top spot to Busch. 

Less than two minutes later, the anticipated deluge arrived. NASCAR threw a caution on Lap 136, red-flagged the race on Lap 138 and shortly thereafter declared Busch the winner. 

Larson finished 17th in a car that likely would have run 10th without the gamble, but the driver had no issues with taking the calculated risk.

“We could see weather coming there off of (Turn) 4 and just praying that it would get here in time for me to stay out and be in the lead when the rain did hit,” Larson said. 

“Hey, I applaud my guys for trying. We are pretty deep in points (18th after Sunday’s race) so we have to take risks like that to make the Chase. I’m happy with the call—just wish the rain would have come three laps sooner.”

Earnhardt heads overseas

Several years ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a promise to himself. When he turned 40—which happened last October 10—he would go to Germany to find out as much as he could about his ancestors. 

That’s how Earnhardt will spend the “off” week before heading to Sonoma Raceway for the next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on June 28. 

“I’ve got some specific towns that we're going to go visit that we understand that my ancestors are from,” Earnhardt said after Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. “I've been searching my genealogy for about five years now, and I made a promise to myself then that I would go to Germany and understand more about my ancestors when I turn 40, so here I am. 

“I'm real nervous about flying over there. I haven't flown commercial since 9/11, so it's been a long time. My friends tell me I'm in for a treat, and just hopefully it's just a good trip. I'm taking my sister (Kelley) and LW (Miller), her husband-Larry Wayne-and (girlfriend) Amy (Reimann) is going with me, of course. And the lead IT guy at JR Motorsports, Martin Frederick, he's from Germany, so he's going to go with us, as well, and really kind of help us understand how not to insult anybody. 

“Should be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to it. We should come back with some great stories. Hopefully I'll get pictures, and we'll certainly share.”

Another milestone for Truex 

With his third-place finish on Sunday at Michigan, last week’s Pocono winner, Martin Truex Jr., scored his 14th top 10 in 15 races this season. No driver has started the first 15 races with 14 top 10s since Richard Petty accomplished the feat in 1969.

"Really proud to have my name mentioned next to Richard Petty," Truex said. "The King is pretty special, and I am so thankful for my team and what they've done this year. Hopefully we'll keep this thing rolling.” 

Truex is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, 15 points behind leader and reigning champion Kevin Harvick, who finished 29th on Sunday after a flat right front tire forced him to pit road for an unscheduled stop late in the race.

NASCAR Wire Service, Reid Spencer


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Michigan
Track Michigan International Speedway
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Martin Truex Jr. , Kyle Larson
Article type Race report
Tags chevrolet, ford, michigan, nascar, sonoma, toyota