Earnhardt returns to Michigan, where he has plenty of happy memories after last year's win

Whenever the Sprint Cup series comes to Michigan, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the center of attention.

He won at Michigan International Speedway last June after 143 races without a victory. His most recent win before that was also at Michigan in 2008, so the Sprint Cup's twice-yearly visits to the Irish Hills always present an opportunity for Earnhardt and his No. 88 Chevrolet.

Earnhardt hasn't won since snapping his long losing streak at MIS a year ago. Concussion problems derailed his chances in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

He began this season with five straight top-10 finishes and briefly led the points standings, but he's slipped to fourth since then.

Carl Edwards won the pole for Sunday's 400-mile race.