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NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway: What you need to know

Driver Kyle Larson is the defending champ at the NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Driver Kyle Larson is the defending champ at the NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. AP

Distance: 200 laps, or 400 miles.

Where: Michigan International Speedway, a 2.0-mile, tri-oval in Brooklyn, Mich.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday.

TV: NBCSN.

Radio: MRN.

Last year’s winner: Kyle Larson.

Also this week: Mid-Ohio Challenge, Xfinity Series, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, NBCSN. LTi Printing 200, Trucks Series, Michigan International Speedway, 1 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports 1.

Worth mentioning: The winners of two of the most prestigious races of the season – Kurt Busch (Daytona 500) and Kasey Kahne (Brickyard 400) – are looking for new jobs for next season. Combined with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement and Matt Kenseth losing his job at Joe Gibbs Racing, that makes for an incredible amount of turnover in one season. … In his 12th full season, Martin Truex Jr. is on pace to win the first Cup championship of his career. The last driver to win his first title that deep in his career was Dale Jarrett in 1999.

Who’s Hot/ Who’s Not

HOT

Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has four straight top-10s since dropping the surprising news that he would not return to Joe Gibbs Racing next year. That’s the best stretch of his season. He is 16th in the playoffs race. Though he’s not locked in yet, he has pulled away from other drivers trying to make it on points.

NOT

Kyle Larson: In the first 17 races of the season, Kyle Larson had three finishes of 23 or worse. Now he has three in a row. He has dropped from first to third in the points race. Larson has won the last two races at Michigan. The race this weekend will show whether this is just a bad stretch or a sign he has lost some speed.

Matt Crossman

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