It was Denny Hamlin who took the checkers at Sunday’s Heluva Good 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin won the race, but it was Matt Kenseth who had the car to beat. A couple of bad pit stops, one of which the jack man dropped the car before the fuel carrier nodded to give the signal that the Crown Royal machine was good to go. This made Kenseth short on fuel by a couple of laps and he had to slow down and try to conserve fuel in hopes to catch a caution.
Other things that plauged the 17 were the restarts; Matt just couldn’t seem to get the car to hook under the double file restarts spinning the wheels pretty much every time he needed to take off. He tried his hardest on the last lap to get to the rear bumper of the FedEx machine of Denny Hamlin, and came off the corner completely sideways trying with everything that he had, but that wasn’t enough to catch the 11.
Joe Gibbs Racing failed a pre-race tech inspection for trying to run “unapproved” oil pans on the 18 of Kyle Busch, 20 of Joey Logono, and the 11 of Denny Hamlin. The oil pan’s were quite a bit heavier than the “Nascar approved” oil pans and were designed differently. Joe Gibbs stated that he was fully to blame for the issue, all three crew chiefs received a $50,000 fine on Tuesday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran pretty well during the first part of the race then the car faded on him about halfway through the event due to Earnhardt slapping the wall. Crew chief Steve Letarte had the crew repair the left rear wheel well and got it to the point where Dale was going forward again near the end of the race… that is until team mate Mark Martin pinched Earnhardt driving the high line and left him with no where to go but into the wall. That ended any hopes of the 88 getting another top ten, he ended up with a 21st place finish.
Red Bull Racing may possibly be leaving Nascar in 2012 for what has been said to be poor performance issues. GM Jay Frye has been reported to be looking for investors to help relieve Red Bull from some of it’s investment into the team, as they are currently bank rolling the whole operation.