NASCAR. MIS to host the 3M 400 8.13

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Observer Motorsports Writer

Kyle Busch may be winning almost everything in NASCAR this year, but it’s older brother Kurt who is defending champion of this Sunday’s 3M 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Kurt, who has two wins at MIS, is looking for the track to give him a boost in his quest to qualify the #2 Miller Lite Dodge for the season-ending Chase for the Championship. His previous MIS Cup win was in a Ford in 2003.

Kasey Kahne is another driver looking to MIS for an improvement in his fortunes. Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge for Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, finished second at MIS in June. He has five top-five finishes in nine MIS Cup starts, including a win in the June 2006 event.

Casey Mears may not be considered a front runner at MIS, but the record book makes a good case for him. His Cup history shows only one top-five finish, a fourth in June 2007, in 11 starts. But he has four top-10s in five starts in the Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series with a high of second place in 2006.

Mears also won his only MIS ARCA start in 2003. Previously, he raced at MIS in the open-wheel Indy Lights division and scored runner-up positions in both 1999 and 2000. Clearly, he knows his way around the track.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., broke a 76-race losing streak at MIS in June. That was his first MIS Cup win, but he’s scored two victories at the Nationwide Series level at the two-mile oval.

Jeff Gordon was pole-sitter for last year’s 3M 400. One more MIS pole will make six, tying him with Bill Elliott for second place on the all-time list.

David Pearson still leads with 10 MIS poles, including five in a row. Pearson first took over the track lead in poles in August of 1974 and has held it ever since. He scored his last MIS pole in 1979. Pearson is, of course, also the MIS Cup wins leader with nine, the last coming in 1978.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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