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.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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