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 20th 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.
Just miles from many of the beautiful lakes and relaxing atmosphere, the Irish Hills come to life two weekends per year and become anything but peaceful and quiet when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The next event there – Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 – closes out the track’s celebration of 50 years of racing.
And when the speedway’s 50th season comes to a close Sunday afternoon, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is hoping to be the driver standing in victory lane as the summer starts to wind down not only for vacationers, but also for the NASCAR Cup Series regular season as drivers prepare for the quickly approaching playoffs.
Busch will look to keep running up front this weekend at Michigan, starting with an improvement over the solid fifth-place finish he earned at the 2-mile oval in June. Busch looks to use that strong run as momentum this weekend at a facility where he struggled with five finishes of 30th or worse immediately after the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season. However, things have turned a corner for Busch as the Las Vegas native’s top-five finish at Michigan in June was his third top-five finish in a row there and fifth top-10 in a row.
The biggest success for Busch at Michigan actually came in the last race on the old surface at Michigan on Aug. 21, 2011, when he found himself outdueling now seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson for the win in a late-race shootout for his first and only Cup Series win at the track.
With Interstate Batteries returning to the No. 18 car this weekend, Busch is encouraging fans to stop by a local Interstate dealer to get their vehicle batteries checked before taking off on their late-summer vacation. Hot weather has a far greater effect on batteries than the cold, so this weekend’s race at a popular summer tourist destination like the Great Lakes State of Michigan is the perfect setting to remind fans to have their batteries checked.
So, as Busch and the Interstate Batteries team head back to the Midwest this weekend with an “Outrageously Dependable” Interstate Battery under the hood, the confidence built from the past five starts at Michigan should pay dividends this weekend. But he knows chances are he’ll need to outduel several others in order to capture his second career Cup Series victory in the Irish Hills of Michigan as he looks to be celebrating a perfect Sunday afternoon by the lake.