CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Pure Michigan 400 is one of NASCAR’s last three-day events as the series has started to compress the traditional race weekend from three days to two.
These are changing times at NASCAR. While the upcoming retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr. has captured most of the headlines, many other drivers have already been told they will not have rides for next season while Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne are unsure of their status beyond this season.
The focus now lasers in on the 2017 NASCAR Championship, which begins with The Chase on Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway. Most of the 16-car championship field is set. But three spots remain, either by winning at Michigan, Bristol, Darlington or Richmond, or by being the winless drivers with the most points.
Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenneth, Clint Bowyer — shy of victory — are in a battle for the last three spots.
PURE MICHIGAN 400
Site: Brooklyn, Michigan
Schedule: Friday, practice, 11:30 a.m. (NBCSN), qualifying, 5:05 p.m. (NBCSN); Saturday, practice, 8:30 a.m. (CNBC), 11:30 a.m.; Sunday, race, 3 p.m., NBCSN.
Track: Michigan International Speedway (oval, 2 miles)
Last year: Kyle Larson won after starting 12th.
Last race: Martin Truex Jr. won his fourth race of the year at Watkins Glen.
Fast facts: William Byron, 19, will take over the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports next season. Hendrick had previously announced the Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 since 2012, would not be retained. … Truex has a 116-point lead over Kyle Busch in the standings. But Busch has won six poles this season — twice as many as any other driver. Larson and Kevin Harvick have started first three times.
Next race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Aug. 19, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee.
CAMPING WORLD TRUCK
LTI PRINTING 200
Site: Brooklyn, Michigan
Schedule: Friday, practice, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (FS1); Saturday, qualifying, 9:30 a.m. (FS1), race, 1 p.m., FS1.
Track: Michigan International Speedway.
Race distance: 200 miles, 100 laps
Last year: Brett Moffitt took first for the first time in his career.
Last race: Christopher Bell won for the second time in three races.
Fast facts: Darrell Wallace Jr. will return to the truck series this weekend. Wallace has five career wins in the series. …Bell has won four of his 12 starts and has finished outside the top 10 just once all season. But his edge over Johnny Sauter is just 18 points heading to Michigan.
Next race: UNOH 300, Aug. 16, Bristol Motor Speedway.
Last race: Josef Newgarden won his second straight race and third of 2017.
Next race: ABC Supply 500, Aug. 20, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
Last race: Sebastian Vettel took first in Hungary.
Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Aug. 27, Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps, Belgium.
Last race: Antron Brown won the Top Fuel event outside of Seattle last weekend.
Next race: Lucas Oil Nationals, Aug. 18-20, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)