You wouldn’t think a wide 2-mile track like the Michigan International Speedway would be such a track that rewards starting position. There’s plenty of room to pass on the high speed, high banked track, so starting position for a 400-mile race shouldn’t matter then right?
Well, for some reason, it does.
Just once in the last five races has the race winner at Michigan come from a starting spot outside of the top 10. Kurt Busch started 24th last spring to win the rain shortened event. But, other than that, the drivers starting inside the top 10 have had the most success recently at Michigan.
Even more so, the pole sitter has been the driver to beat at MIS, as the winner of the Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan has won the last two races there and three of the last four. In fact, they’ve won four of the last seven races since 2013.
So, why does the pole sitter matter at a track like Michigan? The answer is simple – speed.
Michigan is a high speed track that creates high RPM’s. The cars that are the fastest all weekend excel in the race because if you have a fast car, race trim/qualifying trim doesn’t matter there.
That’s why Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth have dominated from the pole in the last two Michigan races. That’s why it will likely happen again this weekend. Fast cars get rewarded at Michigan because lapped cars and mechanical failures don’t tend to get in their way at Michigan.
That in turn means there likely won’t be a fluke winner this Sunday which in turn hurts the bubble drivers in the Chase.