During the 19th century, the Irish Hills area of Michigan – located near U.S. 12 just about halfway between Detroit and Chicago – was a well-known stopping point during the five-day stagecoach trip between the two large Midwest cities.
At the turn of the century, the Irish Hills turned into an enjoyable tourist destination with its plush, green landscape and more than 30 lakes for vacationers and residents to enjoy in peace and quiet.
For the last several decades, the Irish Hills come to life two weekends per year and become anything but peaceful and quiet when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for some of the state’s biggest sporting events.
Kyle Busch, driver of the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), hopes his colorful green-and-white-striped paint scheme brings a little bit of good fortune his way during his stopover in the Irish Hills for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
Busch won the Pure Michigan 400 in August 2011 for his first Sprint Cup triumph at the 2-mile oval. However, the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season and, while he scored a solid fourth-place finish on the surface in June 2013, he has had six finishes of 30th or worse in the other eight races contested on the fresh pavement. This weekend, Busch looks to overcome that recent string of bad luck at Michigan and turn his fortunes around on the blazing fast oval.
This weekend’s race will also feature something familiar with the June race, as NASCAR will bring back the even lower downforce package that was run earlier this season at MIS. Busch was unable to run the full race to see how the revision of the low downforce package would do for him, as an engine issue in the race’s first half ended his race after having run just 52 laps.
So, as Busch and the Interstate Batteries team head to the Midwest this weekend, they’ll hope to luck of the Irish is on their side and that the green-and-white-striped Camry. They look to score a fifth Sprint Cup victory of the season Sunday afternoon in the Irish Hills of Michigan and perhaps the second win for the Interstate colors this season as the longtime sponsor continues to celebrate its 25th Anniversary season with JGR.