Anthony Ballantoni


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Wrap-up: Michigan

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This past weekend, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan hosted the Sprint Cup Quicken Loans 400 and the Nationwide Series Alliance Auto Parts 250. The Camping World Truck Series will return to action in two weeks, June 28th (Thursday), for the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Time Trials

Marcos Ambrose received a $3,400 check for winning the Coors Light Pole Award. He put up a 203.241 mph lap, a new track qualifying record. This is the No. 9 Ford driver's first pole in 134 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Ambrose becomes the fourth driver to win the pole with a lap over 200 mph. The others are Benny Parsons, Cale Yarborough and Bill Elliott. This is the first time the pole winning speed was faster than 200 mph at a track other than Talladega and Daytona. Ambrose led 15 laps and finished in 9th place. He is 17th in the 2012 point standings.

Did Not Qualify:
No. 30 David Stremme and No. 74 Stacy Compton.

Race Winner:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Quicken Loans 400, his 19th victory in 450 NSCS races. This is the No. 88 Chevrolet driver's first victory and 12th top-ten finish in 2012. Earnhardt Jr. matches his top-ten total of all of last season. With the victory, Earnhardt Jr. broke a 143-race winless streak. This is his second victory and ninth top-ten finish in 26 races at Michigan. His last career victory also came at Michigan, also on Father's Day. Earnhardt Jr. is second in the 2012 NSCS point standings.

Contingency Awards:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the $5,400 3M Lap Leader Award for leading the most laps (95 of 200). Race-winner Earnhardt started the No. 88 Chevrolet 17th in the lineup.
- Hendrick Engines won the $5,000 Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race award (Earnhardt’s No. 88).
- Greg Biffle won the $5,000 American Ethanol Green Flag Restart award for recording the fastest average speed on restarts and finishing the race on the lead lap. Biffle started the No. 16 Ford third in the lineup and finished fourth. He is third in the point standings.
- Biffle’s crew chief, Matt Puccia, won the DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race award. The $5,000 cash award is presented to the crew chief of the driver who demonstrates the best qualifying and race finish for each event.
- Chad Knaus, crew chief on the No. 48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson wins the Moog Problem Solver of the Race award.  The $5,500 award goes to the crew chief that improves the most from first half of the race to the second half utilizing the 40 best lap times (improved 0.345 seconds). Johnson started the race in tenth and finished in fifth. He is fifth in the point standings.
- Carl Edwards won the $5,000 USG Improving the Finish Award which goes to the driver who improves the most from start to finish. The No. 99 Ford driver improved 31 places from 42nd in the lineup to an 11th place finish. He is 11th in the standings.  
- Tony Stewart won the $5,000 Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race award given to the winner of the race or the next-highest finishing driver displaying the Mobil 1 decal. The No. 14 Chevrolet driver finished second in the race and is currently eighth in the standings.

Points Leader:
Matt Kenseth leads the point standings by four points over Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NSCS Top 12:
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -
3. Greg Biffle -
4. Jimmie Johnson +1
5. Denny Hamlin -1
6. Kevin Harvick -
7. Martin Truex Jr. -
8. Tony Stewart -
9. Clint Bowyer -
10. Brad Keselowski -
11. Carl Edwards -
12. Kyle Busch -

Next NSCS Race:
Toyota / Save Mart 350(k), June 24th, at Sonoma Raceway (Road Course).
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NASCAR Nationwide Series

Time Trials:

Austin Dillon received a $3,400 check for winning the Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan. He put up a 190.375 mph lap, a new track qualifying record, in the No. 3 Chevrolet to start up front. This was his first Nationwide Series career pole in 24 starts. He led 11 laps and finished fifth. Dillon moved up one spot to second in the 2012 NNS point standings, eight behind leader Elliott Sadler.

Did Not Qualify:
NONE, only 43 cars entered.

Race Winner:
Joey Logano won the Alliance Truck Parts 250, his 14th victory in 99 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. This is the No. 18 Toyota driver's fifth victory and eighth top-ten finish in 2012. He matches a career-high win total previously set in 2009. It is his first victory and fourth top-ten finish in four NNS races at Michigan. Logano is a Sprint Cup regular (No. 20) and is ineligible for driver points in this series.

Rookie of the Race:

Cole Whitt, the No. 88 Chevrolet driver, started second and finished fourth. This was ahead of the rest of the 2012 Rookie of the Year contenders earning him the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award. Whitt moved up one spot to fifth in the point standings.

Contingency Awards:

- James Buescher won the $2,000 Mobil 1 Driver of the Race award for his second place finish. The driver of the No. 30 Chevrolet, a Camping World Truck Series regular, is ineligible for driver points in this series.
- Mike Bliss makes the most improvement in the series since his 13th place finish was 20 places better than his last NNS finish. This earned the No. 44 Toyota driver a $2,600 check and the Featherlite “Most Improved Driver” award. Bliss is currently 8th in the point standings.
- Paul Menard won the $2,200 3M Lap Leader award for leading the most laps (37 of 125). Menard, who started the No. 33 Chevrolet seventh in the lineup and finished eighth, is a Sprint Cup regular and is ineligible for driver points in this series.
- Joe Gibbs Racing Engines (Joey Logano’s No. 18) won the $2,100 Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race award.

Points Leader:

Elliott Sadler leads the point standings by 8 points over No. 3 Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon.

NNS Top 10:
1. Elliott Sadler
2. Austin Dillon +1
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -1
4. Sam Hornish Jr.
5. Cole Whitt +1
6. Justin Allgaier -1
7. Michael Annett
8. Mike Bliss
9. Joe Nemechek
10. Tayler Malsam

Next NNS Race: 

Sargento 200, Saturday, June 23rd at Road America (Road Course).

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series:

Next NCWTS Race:

UNOH 225, June 28th (Thursday) at Kentucky Speedway.

Tony Ballantoni runs the NASCAR coverage at
Email :Anthony Ballantoni

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