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NASCAR At Michigan: Heluva Good 400 Starting Lineup And Stories To Watch

The green flag in today's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 (1 p.m., TNT) at the Michigan International Speedway is less than an hour away. Kurt Busch - for the third-consecutive week - will start from the pole, with David Reutimann, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, and Regan Smith rounding out the top-five. To see where your favorite driver starts as well as his team's pit stall visit Jayski.com.

As with every race, we have some stories for you to watch for in today's event.

Will the Roush-kateers will rise above the rest? Jack Roush calls Michigan home, having been based in Livonia for years, and he has certainly owned the track. Roush-owned teams have dominated at the facility, winning 21 races across NASCAR's three major divisions including yesterday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race that saw Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finish first and second. Roush hasn't had a Michigan victory since Edwards won the August 2008 race, but three of his four drivers have multiple victories there and Georgia's David Ragan has had solid runs there in the past.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to the site of his most-recent win, can he end another streak in the Irish Hills? It had been more than two years since his previous win when Earnhardt took the checkered flag at Michigan in June 2008. His first win at Hendrick Motorsports has, to date, been his last, with his losing streak sitting at 107 races. He's as competitive as he has been since that 2008 season, already surpassing his 2009 and equalling his 2010 totals for top-fives and top-10s.

Can Jimmie Johnson finally win at Michigan? Johnson led 279 of the 400 total laps run at Michigan in 2009, but ran shy of fuel in both races and finished 22nd and 33rd. In 18 starts, Johnson has just two top-five finishes, making it his worst statistical track. He has finishes of 12th or worse in four of his last five trips there, so history is not on his side.

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are off probation; will there be fireworks? Harvick had a time with Busch early in last Sunday's event at Pocono, finally leading to a verbal reprimand from NASCAR. The probation both drivers were on for their antics last month at Darlington expired June 15, meaning season is open once again. Will either driver waste any time roughing up their rival?

Can Brian Vickers complete his comeback with another Michigan win? Vickers starts fourth today. He won the August 2009 event at Michigan for his second-career Sprint Cup victory. Of course, he missed most of the 2010 season after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and legs and undergoing heart surgery. Results have been less than stellar for Vickers in his comeback, but Michigan is arguably his best track.

SB Nation Atlanta will update these and all the other stories during today's race, so check back often during the race and follow me on Twitter for real-time conversation.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.