The NASCAR XFINITY Series comes to the Michigan International Speedway for the Irish Hills 250. The series just came off of a wild ending to the Pocono Green 250 where Brad Keselowski sent the No. 22 to victory lane, ending a long losing streak for the No. 22 in the XFINITY Series. Along with Keselowski ending a losing streak for the No. 22, Justin Allgaier took the points lead from Elliott Sadler for the first time this season after securing a second place finish.
It’ll be the 25th running of the Irish Hills 250 at the Michigan International Speedway and the first and only visit this season to the track by the XFINITY Series as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series joins the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in August. Seven drivers are tied with the most wins with two a piece with Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch both seeking win No. 3 today. There are five former race winners in today’s field including those two who are chasing a record breaking third victory.
As noted above, Allgaier took the points lead from teammate Elliott Sadler last weekend when Allgaier secured a second-place finish while Sadler finished fourth. So far this season, it has seemed to be a battle of JR Motorsports teammates with rookie William Byron putting his name in the hat a couple of weeks. Byron, of course, is third in points and will visit MIS for the first time behind the wheel of an XFINITY Series car. He has one start there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he finished fourth. Sadler qualified the best of his JR Motorsports crew, starting third, while Byron qualified fourth, Michael Annett in ninth, and Allgaier earning his worst start of the season in 22nd.
Kyle Busch is chasing his second victory of the 2017 season, and will start on the pole for today’s race. Busch is also chasing his 88th career victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series after securing his 60th career pole. Denny Hamlin joins Busch over at Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend with Matt Tifft looking for some stage points and is in pursuit of a spot in the playoffs. As noted above, Busch starts on the pole while Hamlin starts fifth, and Tifft starts 14th.
Coming off his first victory in the series since 2015, Keselowski comes to his home track looking for his third victory in the Irish Hills. Having victory momentum has to give him confidence but he will start second to rival Busch, who he finished second to at Atlanta earlier this season. Keselowski hasn’t been to victory lane at Michigan since 2010 and will look to deliver a victory in Ford’s backyard.
Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer both have had solid weekends when it’s came to practice and it showed in qualifying earlier this morning with Reddick qualifying a career best sixth, and Custer starting seventh. Both drivers have the speed to secure the victory but have to defeat some of the best in the business in the shape of Busch and Keselowski.
GMS Racing had a strong showing this weekend with Spencer Gallagher landing the fastest lap in first practice. Ben Kennedy sent the team into the final round of qualifying for the second time of 2017 with the previous time coming at the season opening race at Daytona earlier in the year where Gallagher secured a tenth place starting spot. Both drivers are chasing their first career victories in the series and today could be just the day for that to happen.