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