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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

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