Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

The Best NASCAR Races at Michigan

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts
NASCAR heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend. Michigan International Speedway is one of the most historic race tracks in NASCAR, and there have been some pretty incredible races at the track. Only five can fit this list, so which five races are the best races in the history of Michigan International Speedway?

NASCAR heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend. Michigan International Speedway is one of the most historic race tracks in NASCAR, and there have been some pretty incredible races at the track. Only five can fit this list, so which five races are the best races in the history of Michigan International Speedway?

5. 1997 Miller 400 (Ernie Irvan Conquers the Track That Nearly Took His Life)

On paper, this may look like an average Michigan race, but what it represented sets it apart from others on the list. Just three years earlier, Ernie Irvan was fighting for his life after a practice crash at Michigan International Speedway. Thankfully, he survived, and he went back to victory lane twice in 1996.

In 1997, Irvan struggled as he was 18th in points heading into the 14th race of the season at Michigan. Four drivers including Irvan, Ted Musgrave, Mark Martin, and Bill Elliott led 20+ laps on the day, but it was Irvan’s crew who had a tremendous final pit stop. Irvan extended his lead after the pit stop, and he won at the track that nearly took his life. It was his 15th and final career win.

4. 2001 Kmart 400 (Jeff Gordon vs Ricky Rudd)

Jeff Gordon dominated the 2001 June race at Michigan leading 143 laps, but he had to fight with Rick Rudd to the finish. Shawna Robinson spun out just after a restart with six laps to go, setting up a restart. With four laps to go, it was Gordon up front with Rudd in second.

The two were side by side heading into the final lap, but Gordon zipped around the outside heading into turn one. Rudd tried to come around the outside on the final lap off of turn four, but he could not quite get there. Gordon took home the win, and he took home his fourth Cup Series Championship later that year.

3. 2009 LifeLock 400 (Fuel Mileage)

Michigan has had plenty of fuel mileage races in its history. The 2009 June race also came down to fuel mileage. Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson combined to lead 188 laps that day, and the two were up front in the closing stages of the race.

Coming to the white flag, Johnson slowed as he ran out of gas, handing Biffle the lead. Biffle would run out of gas down the backstretch handing the lead to Mark Martin. Martin led one lap on the day, and it was the most important as he won his third race of the season.

2. 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 (Dale Jarrett First Career Win Photo Finish)

A late caution flag in the 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 gave Dale Jarrett the lead after a pit strategy call. The dominant car of the day, Davey Allison worked his way into second position just after the final restart. The battle was set between two second generation drivers.

Wuth two laps to go, Allison came around the outside and the two were side-by-side on the final lap. The two stayed door to door for seemingly the full final lap, and it came down to the run off of turn four. In the end, it was Jarrett who took home the win by just eight inches.

1. 1981 Champion Spark Plug 400 (Record Lead Changes)

A forgotten classic that the only audio or video remaining is of a crash during the race. The 1981 Champion Spark Plug 400 set the record for lead changes at Michigan with an incredible 65 lead changes. Drivers held the lead for 10 laps or more at a time only twice that afternoon.

In the end, it was Richard Petty who took home the win after passing Bobby Allison with five laps to go. Petty would take home the win over Darrell Waltrip by one car length. A total of 13 drivers led that day.

Will this weekend’s race at Michigan add to this list? We will find out this weekend.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts