Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 was aptly named. The race was Pure Michigan International Speedway, bringing all of what we’ve come to expect at MIS in August — repave be damned.
Yes, the new asphalt did play a role, to some degree. The formerly multi-groove track used to see cars running four different lines, fanning out in all areas around the 2-mile oval. However, following a repave and a re-tire to keep the speeds under 220mph (at one point, quarter-sized chunks of rubber were coming off from blistering) it has become more of a one-and-a-half groove track in 2012. Speeds, once dangerous are still well in excess of 210 MPH down the straightaway.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The names you normally expect to see up front and factors in the race were there. Mark Martin leads active drivers with five career wins at MIS, the last coming in 2009 when – coincidentally – it was Greg Biffle who ran out of fuel on the last lap, while Martin sped past, only to run out of gas a corner later and coast to the win.