This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
As we put the wild short-track action of New Hampshire behind us, we look forward to this weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series will pay its first visit of the season to Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers Casino 312 on Saturday and Consumers Energy 312 on Sunday.
The two-mile oval in Brooklyn, Mich., has wowed us for years with some of the fastest speeds recorded in NASCAR. At its height we saw a pole qualifying lap of 206.558 mph in 2014 by Jeff Gordon, and that still stands as the pole qualifying record at MIS. The speeds have gradually drifted downward in recent seasons, thanks to multiple rule changes to the cars and the newest aero package. In our last Michigan race last August, we saw Brad Keselowski claim the pole with his 190.471 mph qualifying lap. That is better than 10 mph slower than the pole position at Michigan just the previous year (2018). The reduced speeds have made it a bit easier to pass back in traffic, and only marginally better among the leaders. With this being just our second two-mile oval event of the 2020 season, we'll see if teams can improve on the racing action we saw in Fontana back in March of this year.
The oval in Michigan has similar characteristics to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, which the NASCAR Cup Series raced at in March of this season. Both tracks are two-mile ovals, but Michigan has a little more banking in the