Five things to watch in today’s Sprint Cup race at Michigan

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Regardless whether teams have the high-drag package figured out, they’ll race it today at Michigan International Speedway.

Drivers spent Saturday’s practice sessions trying to run near competitors to solve the riddle of this package, which debuted last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Some drivers reported that their car’s handling worsened when they approached the back of a leading car.

“There is a lot of turbulent air there,’’ Jeff Gordon said. “We are going to be fanned out and finding clean air and then trying to get that tow down the straightaway. It’s going to be a totally different Michigan I feel like than what we have ever had before.’’

The draft helps cars close, but the key will be how quickly the groove widens to allow cars to complete a pass.

Martin Truex Jr., who was fastest in Saturday’s final practice session, said there are challenges in the draft.

“It’s going to be tough to pass, but we passed some cars (Saturday),’’ he said. “Hopefully, we can do some more (Sunday), because we need to.”

How drivers handle the aero package – which won’t be run in the Chase – is among the storylines in today’s race:

Kyle Busch’s challenge. He was set to start sixth but will take the green flag at the rear in a backup car. Busch spun off Turn 4 in Saturday’s final practice and slid down into the infield grass, which damaged the nose of his primary car.

Busch climbed into the top 30 in points last week to become Chase eligible. A bad finish could drop him out of the top 30. Facing that issue and how cars handle in traffic, Busch could be in a for long day.

“Starting in the back, we’ll definitely tighten it up a heck of a lot more than we were planning on doing to start the race just being in that much traffic and then just try to work our way through as best we can,’’ Busch said. “If top 20 is it, then that’s it. It doesn’t matter, Michigan’s not a place I had circled on the list to go win at, so let’s just make it through tomorrow and carry on.”

Winless streaks grow. Roush Fenway Racing is on a 42-race winless streak. That’s nothing compared to some other teams. Richard Childress Racing is on a 59-race winless streak. Chip Ganassi Racing is on a 62-race winless streak. Michael Waltrip Racing is on a 75-race winless streak.

Roush’s top starting spot today is 20th with Greg Biffle. RCR’s top spot is 17th with Ryan Newman after Austin Dillon, who has to have started fourth, moves to the rear after an engine change. Ganassi’s top starting spot is 18th with Jamie McMurray. MWR’s top starting spot is 12th with Clint Bowyer.

Dominant teams. Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have combined to finish first and second in each of the last five races. Can that streak continue?

Can Kasey Kahne recover? His Chase hopes are fading after finishing 43rd at Pocono two weeks ago and 42nd at Watkins Glen last weekend. He’s finished no better than 19th in the last six races to fall out of a Chase spot. Can he turn things around today or will he fall further behind?

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.


Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter