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Micah Roberts - Blogs

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MICHIGAN TESTING NOTES: STEWART, MARTIN & JUNIOR LOOK THE BEST

By Micah Roberts
Posted 06/14/2012 at 06:25 PM

Tony Stewart laid down a fast lap of 201.896 mph in the final test session at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday. Stewart captured the top speed in the final seconds of the three hour session. Stewart’s lap was also fastest on the day. During six combined test hours on the day, eight drivers topped 200 mph on the repaved surface. ********* Greg Biffle put down what was the fastest lap (201.556 mph) in the final minute until Stewart topped it. A Roush-Fenway driver hasn't won at Michigan in the past six races, which is major news because Jack Roush is tied for the track record with 11 wins. Biffle's team was the star among all Fords. *********** “Every lap is like a qualifying lap and you are holding your breath," said Biffle. *********** “It’s really, really fast here,” Biffle continued. “The one thing that I have liked seeing is that the track is pretty wide. The groove is all the way up in the middle of the second groove and that is certainly going to help racing around here at those speeds because it gives us some options.” ********* Stewart and Biffle were fast through all stages of the practice, but the best sign of the day may be that Dale Eanhardt Jr. was fast through all six hours of testing. $$$$$$$$$ Earnhardt Jr had the fifth fastest lap (200.658), and also had taken over the top speeds on several different occasions. Junior’s last win came 144 races ago at Michigan on Fathers Day. ************* In his first Cup action since being suspended, Kurt Busch showed some speed in the final half-hour of testing and put up a lap (201.174) that was good enough to be third fastest after Biffle and Stewart topped it. *************** Kevin Harvick was fourth fastest continuing great day of testing for him. In the earlier session Harvick had the second best times. ********** All 43 drivers testing in the final session were faster than the track record (194.232) set by Ryan Newman in 2005. *********** Mark Martin, who was fastest in the first session, ran the most laps (77) and finished with the 11th best time. While running those 77 laps, Martin averaged a very strong average of 196.947 mph. The top average speed among drivers running at least 30 laps was Kurt Busch at 197.240. However, Busch ran only 32 laps, an amount that Martin more than doubled. *********** It was great to see Austin Dillon run the eighth fastest lap. H'es got new RCR chassis' this week with the No. 33 car, not the garbage they gave Brendan Gaughan. *********** As for Jimmie Johnson, he finished the final session with the 21st fastest lap. Johnson was 10th fastest in the earlier session. Take this with a grain of salt. Johnson wasn’t impressive in Pocono testing last week and appeared to have the best car on the track on race day. *********** The only negative for Johnson rests with his past history at Michigan where he is 0-of-20. To turn that negative into a positive, there is a new surface, it’s very fast, and not many drivers have been faster than Johnson over the last five weeks on any track. One oddity I have with Johnson at Michigan is that he isn’t alone with the track being Kryptonite to him being Superman. Between Johnson, Stewart and Jeff Gordon, they have 12 NASCAR Championships between them, yet have combined to win only three Michigan races. That’s twice a year visiting Michigan throughout each of their careers vs. only one title won per year. *************** It should be interesting to see how all this test data relates to race day, or even Friday practices.

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