This Week in Auto Racing Aug. 16 - 17

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Updated: 8/15 4:03 pm

Sprint Cup Series

Pure Michigan 400 - Michigan International Speedway - Brooklyn, Michigan

Time is running out for Greg Biffle to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

With four races remaining in the regular season, Biffle is ranked 12th in the Sprint Cup point standings, but he's on the outside of NASCAR's 16-member "Chase Grid."

The driver of the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford has yet to win a race this season. In fact, he has been winless in the last 43 races.

Biffle, who's in his 12th season of competition in Sprint Cup for Roush Fenway, has made the Chase six times (2005, '08, '09, '10, '12 and '13).

Clint Bowyer currently holds the 16th and final provisional spot in the Chase, while Biffle sits 17th on the playoff grid, just eight points behind Bowyer.

The series is at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Sunday's race here is 400 miles in length. After Michigan, the series heads to Bristol (Aug. 23) and then Atlanta (Aug. 31) before the Chase-cutoff race at Richmond (Sept. 6).

"We feel like we can win one of these last four races, so that's what we're focusing on is winning one of these last four and getting our way into the Chase that way," Biffle said. "But certainly, we're hanging on by a shoestring to make it in on points if it comes down to that."

Biffle leads all active drivers with four Sprint Cup wins at Michigan. His most recent victory in the series came at this two-mile oval on June 16, 2013. He gave Ford its 1,000th race win in NASCAR that day.

Roush Fenway has accumulated 13 Sprint Cup victories at Michigan, a track record. Five drivers have won here for the racing organization: Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Biffle.

"It's just been one of those racetracks like Homestead or Darlington for us that I really like," Biffle said. "I like the layout. I love the way it races, and we've just been super successful there."

Biffle had the eighth fastest lap in Friday's lone practice for Sprint Cup at Michigan. His lap was clocked at 202.817 mph.

"We've been doing a tremendous amount of testing and working very hard at Roush Fenway to catch up with some of the other teams, so our most recent week off [third week in July], we tested at Michigan and felt like we found a lot of speed that we were missing," he said. "We didn't really carry it through to Indy [July 27] like we thought, but some of it carried through to Pocono [Aug. 3], and as we look at that and improve on that, we're pretty optimistic going to Michigan that we're gonna be one of the competitive cars and challenging for the win."

Joey Logano, driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, led the way in practice with a lap at 204.545 mph. Edwards, who is Biffle's teammate, was second quickest at 204.111 mph.

In addition to his four wins, Biffle has 10 top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and one pole in 23 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan. He placed 20th in the most recent race here on June 15.

Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Pure Michigan 400.

Camping World Truck Series

Careers for Veterans 200 - Michigan Int'l Speedway - Brooklyn, Michigan

The Camping World Truck Series will join the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Of the 29 drivers on the entry list for Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200, none has won a previous truck race at Michigan.

Kyle Busch is the clear-cut favorite to win this 200-mile event. Busch, who is one of three Sprint Cup Series regulars entered, has won all five truck races he's competed in this season -- Daytona, Kansas, Charlotte, Dover and Kentucky.

Busch, the driver/owner of the No. 51 Toyota, has four second-place finishes in seven truck starts at Michigan. He was the runner-up to James Buescher in last year's event here. Buescher is not entered in Saturday's event, as he is now a full-time competitor in the Nationwide Series.

In the truck race at Michigan, Busch is expected to make his 500th career NASCAR national touring series start.

"I'm excited about it," Busch said. "It's obviously a bit of a milestone whether you run just Cup races and reach 500 or whether you run all three and you reach 500. There's been a lot of success in-between those 500 starts and yet some heartache as well too. It's exciting to have as many wins as I do have across all three series of NASCAR with the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series."

Busch has 135 wins combined in all three series (29 in Sprint Cup, 66 Nationwide and 40 Camping World Truck).

In the most recent truck race two weeks ago at Pocono, Toyota had its streak of 12 wins come to an end. Austin Dillon drove his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to victory lane there.

Dillon, who is a rookie in Sprint Cup this season, is competing in the truck event at Michigan, driving the No. 20 Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports.

"Michigan International Speedway is a big, fast track that works really well with my driving style," Dillon said. "I've come close to winning there before in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and we were close to having a really good finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in June but had some bad luck which required us to make an unscheduled pit stop at the end of the race. I'm looking forward to running with NTS again, because I know they will give me a fast Chevrolet. Hopefully, we can get a win this weekend."

Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano will drive the No. 19 Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in this event.

Ryan Blaney, the driver of the No. 29 Ford for Keselowski's team, enters this race with a seven-point lead over Johnny Sauter and a 12-point advantage over Matt Crafton, the defending series champion.

Nationwide Series

Nationwide Children's Hosp. 200 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - Lexington, Ohio

While the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series run at Michigan International Speedway, the Nationwide Series has a stand-alone race this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Mid-Ohio is the third and final road-course race on the Nationwide schedule this year. Brendan Gaughan won at Road America on June 21, and Marcos Ambrose scored the victory at Watkins Glen International last weekend.

Located roughly 60 miles north of Columbus, Ohio, Mid-Ohio is a 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Nationwide competed here for the first time one year ago.

A.J. Allmendinger won the inaugural Nationwide race at Mid-Ohio. Allmendinger, who drove the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, dominated the event by leading 73 of 94 laps. He held off pole sitter Michael McDowell during a green-white- checkered finish for his second career win in the series. Two months prior, he had claimed his first victory at Road America.

Last Sunday, Allmendinger won a race in the Sprint Cup Series for the first time in his career at Watkins Glen. He is not competing in this year's event at Mid-Ohio.

Canadian Alex Tagliani will be behind the wheel of the No. 22 car for Penske in this race. Tagliani is a road-course expert who is racing in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series this season.

When Nationwide ran at Road America earlier this year, Tagliani, making his first start of the season in the series, won the pole position and led a total of 19 laps. He gave up the lead late in the race when he ran out of fuel during a caution. After restarting from the 23rd position, Tagliani quickly charged through the field during the last two laps and finished second, crossing the line just 0.8 seconds behind Gaughan.

"Since racing Road America, I have learned a race is not over until it is over, and you see the checkered flag," Tagliani said. "I felt with the strength of our car we deserved to take the win. Nevertheless, the team did a great job, and we had a great recovery, finishing in second place but will go get them this weekend at Mid-Ohio."

Tagliani has seven starts at Mid-Ohio between the CART Series and the IndyCar Series. He has completed over 1,366 miles, led 30 laps and scored seven top-10 finishes.

"Mid-Ohio is a nice track," he said. "It is narrow but has a lot of flow. Hopefully knowing the track from the other series that I have raced there will help me to get back into the pace of a Nationwide car as soon as I can."

Rookie Chase Elliott enters Saturday's 200-mile race at Mid-Ohio with a 12- point lead over Regan Smith, his teammate at JR Motorsports. Elliott Sadler and Ty Dillon, also a rookie this season, are both 13 points out of the lead.

Thirty-nine teams are on the entry list for the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200.

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