NASCAR Notes from Michigan: Jeff Gordon, Austin Dillon, JP Montoya, Jimmie Johnson

Orrymain

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This week NASCAR drivers take on the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. With first practice over, several noteworthy stories emerged Friday.

**After a disappointing finish last week at Watkins-Glen, Jeff Gordon is looking for a better qualifying position to help keep his 24 Axalta car out of harm's way. This week for the first time, Gordon's car is primarily a white and blue design, one created by Sam Bass. Gordon slipped from 9th to 13th in the points standings after Sunday's crash and needs a solid finish or win to stay in the hunt. He finished 10th in practice.

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**With Tony Stewart out with a broken leg, Austin Dillon has been brought over from the Nationwide Series where he is battling for a championship to drive Stewart's #14 car this week. The question to accept the drive is debatable. Dillon is not a good road course driver and could use the practice time at Mid-Ohio to hone his skills. Instead, he is focusing solely on the #14 car in Michigan and will only go to Mid-Ohio for the actual Nationwide race. While the prestige and practice in the Cup series is undeniable, it could be a poor decision to potentially throw away the Nationwide contest.

**Juan Pablo Montoya's relationship with Richard Childress Racing is ending this year, most likely because of a lack of wins over his tenure with the team. On the horizon for RCR is young Kyle Larson who is making all kinds of noise in the Nationwide Series. More here: http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/cu...r-juan-pablo-montoya-earnhardt-ganassi-racing

**Special schemes of note this week include country singer Luke Bryan on the hood of Brad Keselowski's #2 Miller Lite Ford vehicle and Stand Up To Cancer on the decklid of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford.

**First practice best speed went to Jimmie Johnson with a new track record of 203.355. Twenty drivers went over 200mph during the 100-minute practice.
 

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