Open Race Thread: NASCAR Sprint Cup Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 | Michigan International Speedway

Ambrose, Tires, or Rain - Who is going to win? BROOKLYN, MI - JUNE 16: Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, drives through the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there! Best thing I got today was a homemade card from my kids that was NASCAR themed - made my day let me tell you!

But I don't think my cheeriness is going to carry over to Mother Nature (I hear she hates Father's Day) because it looks like today's race might get rained on, and when it rains in Michigan, it rains! Trust me, MIS is my home track, I know from personal experience that when it calls for rain in that part of the world, it will rain and right now there an 80% chance of rain for this morning and a 90% chance of rain this afternoon which means there is a 100% chance that this race will not run in its entirety today.

In a way this makes me happy because I was really regretting not going to the race this weekend, but now I'm a little more happy with my choice of staying home and getting caught up on some work and hanging with my kids.

If the race does get off on time, or even at all, the tire situation might be a little more pronounced because the rain that is predicted for this morning should wash the track clean making it a green track with a newer compound tire.

Can you say competition caution on lap 20?

After the Nationwide race yesterday the Cup teams were allowed to practice with the newer left tires that Goodyear and NASCAR brought in to slow the cars down as they were running well over 200 mph going into the corners during practice and qualifying.

The practice produced the results that NASCAR wanted as the newer tire lowered lap speeds by about 10 mph on average.

But I'm wondering if that 10 mph reduction in lap speeds is really accurate. You see, these race teams build their motors to run a certain distance. This distance takes into account the amount of practice laps, qualifying, and of course race distance, so to throw another practice session in there might mess up the engine 'life' for some of these teams that are running a little closer to the edge than some of the others. It makes me wonder if a lot of these teams were not running their cars as hard during this unexpected practice session to help save their motors, thus lowering the lap speeds by their own doing and not because of the tire itself.

None-the-less what is done is done and we'll see the result today during the race if the weather cooperates.

All I can say is that if I'm an engine builder and I was worried about this extra practice session putting strain on my motor(s) then I'm hoping for a rain shortened event today!

Starting line-up after the jump, see you in the comments section - I'll be in and out during the race, having a big BBQ for the Dads in the family (weather permitting of course).

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 203.241 35.426 Leader
2 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser Folds of Honor 202.037 35.637 -0.211
3 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Rite Aid / Nexcare 201.816 35.676 -0.250
4 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 201.720 35.693 -0.267
5 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 201.472 35.737 -0.311
6 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 201.461 35.739 -0.313
7 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 201.444 35.742 -0.316
8 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 201.370 35.755 -0.329
9 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 201.247 35.777 -0.351
10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 201.179 35.789 -0.363
11 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 200.882 35.842 -0.416
12 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 200.725 35.870 -0.444
13 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 200.686 35.877 -0.451
14 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 200.591 35.894 -0.468
15 43 Aric Almirola Ford Medallion Financial 200.390 35.930 -0.504
16 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 200.384 35.931 -0.505
17 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mtn. Dew / The Dark Knight Rises / National Guard 200.317 35.943 -0.517
18 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Duracell 200.133 35.976 -0.550
19 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 200.111 35.980 -0.554
20 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 199.945 36.010 -0.584
21 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 199.612 36.070 -0.644
22 33 Austin Dillon Chevrolet American Ethanol 199.540 36.083 -0.657
23 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 199.474 36.095 -0.669
24 13 Casey Mears Ford Valvoline NextGen 198.555 36.262 -0.836
25 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 198.473 36.277 -0.851
26 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 198.238 36.320 -0.894
27 98 Michael McDowell Ford Presbyterian Healthcare System 198.118 36.342 -0.916
28 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 197.922 36.378 -0.952
29 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 197.781 36.404 -0.978
30 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport 197.699 36.419 -0.993
31 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Charter 197.395 36.475 -1.049
32 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King 197.087 36.532 -1.106
33 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 197.055 36.538 -1.112
34 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Snickers 197.028 36.543 -1.117
35 38 David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's 196.829 36.580 -1.154
36 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet SealWrap 196.818 36.582 -1.156
37 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 196.770 36.591 -1.165
38 34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports 196.673 36.609 -1.183
39 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents 195.117 36.901 -1.475
40 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 194.295 37.057 -1.631
41 74 Stacy Compton Chevrolet Turn One Racing 193.606 37.189 -1.763
42 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King 193.107 37.285 -1.859
43 32 Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts 190.638 37.768 -2.342
44 10 Tony Raines Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 188.216 38.254 -2.828
45 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal - - -
+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie
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