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.