By Scott Held, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his second trip to victory lane last weekend at Pocono and arrived at Michigan International Speedway with an extra badge on his No. 88 Chevy's livery.
The familiar "S" of DC Comics' Superman is next to the numbers for the second time this season, but Earnhardt is hoping this weekend's outing is better than the last with the superhero's logo.
"We've got to prove to the fans that Superman is not bad luck for me," said Earnhardt, who finished 19th at Charlotte May 25 with the livery. "We're here to prove this weekend that he belongs on the hood and that we can do some great things and hopefully win this race."
It's shaping up as a magic season for Earnhardt, who already has cemented a spot in the Chase and entered the weekend third in the Sprint Cup points standings. This also is his first season since 2004 -- when he won six times -- that he has recorded multiple NASCAR Sprint Cup victories.
Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 hardly seems like a track that would break his rhythm.
In 29 career starts here, he has 15 top-10 finishes and two wins, both in the June race. His June 17, 2012 victory at MIS ended a 143-race winless streak.
"I think we can be quick," Earnhardt said before Friday morning's first practice session. "We came here and tested for Goodyear and had some time and opportunity to work on our car a little bit while we were here and maybe learn some things we needed to learn.
"Hopefully that will give us an edge."
Drivers are two days away from Sunday's Quicken Loans 400, but it is already a great Father's Day weekend for Kyle Larson.
The rookie tweeted an ultrasound photo early Friday to tell the world he and girlfriend Katelyn Sweet will welcome their first child in December.
"Me and Katelyn just found out we are having a baby so it's a really exciting time," the 21-year-old said Friday morning.
It's turning into some kind of month for Larson, who got the keys to a home in suburban Charlotte, N.C., in early June.
"How good the racing has been going, a new house, all that and now that, so it's been a lot of fun."
Larson, promoted to Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 42 Chevy this season, began this weekend 10th in the Sprint Cup points standings and fresh off a fifth-place finish at Pocono after leading his first laps of the year.
Juan Pablo Montoya made his second visit to Michigan in less than two weeks, but this time he's behind the wheel of a stock car again.
The Colombia native left the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to return to his IndyCar roots at the end of last season but will attempt to qualify for the first of two NASCAR outings this weekend.
"It's exciting to be back, especially with Team Penske," said Montoya, one of three Penske drivers in the open-wheel series. "I always run well here and qualified really well here."
He's also entered in the July 27 Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis.
"This year we've got two really good shots," Montoya said. "This is probably one of the best tracks for the Fords.
"And then going to the Brickyard is a place that I run really well. When we ran bad we were always in the top 10, so going there in a car like this you're definitely looking at a shot to win as well."
Montoya, whose Sprint Cup career was with Chip Ganassi Racing, has made 14 starts at MIS and posted three top-10 finishes. His best finish here was a sixth in the June 2009 race.