Brooklyn, MI – Forgive everyone for thinking that Toyota teams would dominate this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Michigan International Speedway. After all, Toyota drivers have led a combined 88-percent of the overall laps over the last five weeks of competition. With the two-mile track being a big horsepower track, Toyota’s have proven to have the most in the series right now.
But, in practice on Friday morning, Ford had three drivers in the top six and five in the top 10 on the speed charts. In qualifying, they backed that speed up with taking spots 1-2-3 for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN).
So, forgive pole sitter Brad Keselowski for the comments he made after he put his No. 2 Ford on the pole for this weekend’s race. Ford, led just two laps at Michigan back in June, so where did all this speed all of the sudden come from?
Keselowski has a theory.
The Team Penske driver said that he felt that Toyota might have told their teams to “dial it back” this week. The reason?
Keselowski says that NASCAR typically takes cars back to the wind tunnel after the August Michigan race to see where the three manufacturers stack up against each other heading to the playoffs.
With the two-mile track being in the backyard of Detroit, this is a key race for Chevrolet and Ford manufacturers. This is their home race. They put extra emphasis on winning here.
For Toyota, they may not want to show all their cards because they clearly have found some kind of advantage that has them leading 875 of the last 992 laps on the Cup season. Keselowski thinks they may not want NASCAR to know what they’ve got.
So, with them being so strong lately and raising a lot of red flags in the garage area, Keselowski thinks they could afford to dial it back a bit this weekend so their advantage isn’t called out.
Two Toyota drivers took to social media in disagreement with Keselowski.
Martin Truex Jr. made a face emoji about it, while Denny Hamlin was outspoken saying “#Fakenews by someone trying to control the rhetoric.”
So, who’s side are on you and who do you believe?
Ford has led just eight percent of the overall laps over the last five races but clearly looked like the superior team in the race before NASCAR takes select cars back to the North Carolina R&D.
Chevrolet though has to be worried. They’ve led 95 laps since Sonoma back in June and just 37 of the last 992. The last
Chevrolet Laps Led Last 5 Weeks:
New Hampshire- 11
Watkins Glen- 9
This is an interesting storyline to keep tabs on the rest of the weekend and beyond. Ford has been pushing that their cars have a big aero disadvantage and here they are with the most speed at a high aerodynamic, horsepower track.