BROOKLYN, Mich – Hendrick Motorsports has reached victory lane three times this season including just last weekend at Watkins Glen. While they certainly gained some much needed momentum heading into Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the Michigan Internaitonal Speedway hasn’t been the kindest to HMS lately.
Their last victory came back in 2014 with Jimmie Johnson. That’s the last time since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won for them in June 2012 on the D-Shaped, 2-mile oval. But, if you go back to 2002, HMS has won just four times overall on the Irish Hills race track.
Chase Elliott practices his No. 9 Chevrolet at the Michigan International Speedway on Friday
With how their drivers enter this weekend, who knows what to expect on Sunday afternoon. The good news is, all four drivers will roll off with a starting spot inside of the top 10. Three of the four will start in the top six with William Byron and Alex Bowman sharing Row 2.
But, just look at their struggles on not just the season, but the track in general lately.
Byron’s three Cup finishes at MIS are 13th, 36th and 18th respectively. He also has one top 10 in his last four starts on the season too.
Bowman, has just one top 10 in his last seven starts on the year and only two in the last nine. At Michigan, the Arizona native has finished in the top 10 just once – a 10th place finish back in June.
Johnson, has two top 10 finishes in his last nine starts on the year and one top 10 in his last nine Michigan starts. His last top five came in his win in 2014.
Elliott, is probably their best bet as he’s coming off of that win but that victory last Sunday at the Glen was his lone top 10 since Pocono on June 2. He does have six top 10 finishes in seven MIS tries including three straight runner-ups between 2016 and 2017.
Also, this speed on Friday was on qualifying trim. How well does that translate over to race trim? We will find out on Sunday.