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Erik Jones glad to be home; Logano working to improve

Jun 16, 2017 Hit: 550 Written by 
Erik Jones' car makes it way to inspection in the garage at MIS. Jones is a Michigan native and has lots of familiar faces at the track this weekend.
Erik Jones' car makes it way to inspection in the garage at MIS. Jones is a Michigan native and has lots of familiar faces at the track this weekend. Photo by Matt Myftiu

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Michigan native Erik Jones is among the young drivers in NASCAR's top series still searching for his first win at the premier level. With MIS being his home track, he said it's always a bit busier than usual but also a chance to see familiar faces.
“Yeah, it’s been a busy week. I didn’t get home ‘til Tuesday night, drove back up here and went over and tested a late model on Wednesday over in Grand Rapids, Michigan and then yesterday kind of got to take the day off, visit a little friends and family and then back it again today, so just nice to come home. Nice to sleep in the house that I grew up in and stay there – it’s only about an hour away from here – and roll into the race track in the morning. It’s just cool to be here and on Sunday get all the family and friends out. I’ve burned through every possible hot pass I can get, so just nice to have everybody here and be close to home.”

Logano seeks return to form

Joey Logano has a win this year, but the reality is that the win is considered encumbered, so he does not have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. Add to that the fact that his past month has been a bit rough on track, and the number of winners continues to grow, and it's clear that Logano must stay focused so he is able to make the playoffs -- either with a win or via points.
When asked about this pressure Friday at MIS, Logano said: “It is on my mind. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t, but it isn’t something I am very concerned about. I feel like this team is strong enough to get through it. We just need to get through it, build momentum. The way these stages are, you can gain points pretty quick. We have to be able to string three or four solid races together like we know how to. We have strung 15-20 great races together before. It is nothing this team hasn’t done before. We are very strong. No one is pointing fingers. There is none of that going on. We just have to get through it as a team together.”

Tifft's Michigan connection

Matt Tifft, who will make his MIS debut in the Xfinity series Saturday driving the No. 19 for Joe Gibbs Racing, is from nearby Ohio and has a strong connection to the speedway.
“It’s pretty cool. Growing up around the Cleveland area, we would go watch racing with my family’s car, a dirt late model, up in Michigan, so I pretty much grew up watching and learning to love racing in Michigan, so it’s – I’ve probably been here 10 times before as a fan and got to do the ARCA race last year here, but it’s always special coming here, getting to see all your family and friends," Tifft said Friday. "Sort of a home track for me even though Mid-Ohio is a little bit closer. I’ve never seen Mid-Ohio before, so I guess I consider this one more of a home track for me, so it’s been – it’s always cool to come up here and see everybody and I got to hang out with some of them last night, but, yeah, we’ve been able to get a couple, string some top-10s going and I feel like the chemistry is finally starting to come together for our team, so that’s exciting to see and hopefully we improve even more on it this weekend.”

Ford (and Roush) lead way at MIS

Over the past half century, MIS has been very kind to the Ford racing stable.
The manufacturer has won nearly half of the Cup Series races held at MIS (47-of-95, 49.5%), which includes 35 wins by Ford and 12 with Mercury. 12 times, they have swept both races in the season.
The numbers this season are strong for Ford too, with six wins (3 for Team Penske, one for Stewart-Haas, one for Wood Brothers and one for Roush Fenway). This is well ahead of last year's pace for wins, and also the first time four different Ford teams won a Cup race in the same year since 1998 (Roush Fenway Racing, Robert Yates Racing, Team Penske and Rudd Performance Motorsports)
Roush Fenway Racing's numbers at MIS are particularly strong -- 23 total wins across the three major touring series; and 13 Cup series wins (four by Mark Martin, four by Greg Bifle, two by Carol Edwards, two by Matt Kenseth, one by Kurt Busch). Overall numbers for the Roush organization are: 13 Cup wins; 55 Cup top-five finishes; 99 Cup top-10 finishes; and 2,452 laps led. Biffle's win in June 2013 was the 1,000th NASCAR victory for Ford Performance.

Chevy notes: MIS

-- Since MIS began honoring the winning manufacturer of each Cup race with the Michigan Heritage Trophy, Chevy has earned four wins at MIS, more than any other manufacturer.
-- Cale Yarborough took Chevy to Victory Lane for the first time at MIS in 1977. Since then, 14 other drivers have won at MIS in a Chevy.
-- Jeff Gordon holds the track qualifying record at Michigan International Speedway: 206.558 mph in a lap set on August 15, 2014.
-- Chevy's Kasey Kahne (three poles), is tied with Joey Logano (Ford) for most poles at Michigan International Speedway by active drivers

Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu. AutoTechReviews can be reached on Twitter @AutoTechReview. You can email Matt Myftiu at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">.



Last modified on Friday, 16 June 2017 20:09
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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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