BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jarrad Egert and Wendy Venturini don't just think of themselves as a married couple, or as parents. They regard themselves as a team.
Egert, a native of Elmore and an engine specialist in Joey Logano's crew, is approaching five years of marriage to Venturini, who is a race-day reporter for SPEED TV.
They're the only working NASCAR couple within the confines of the garage area, and travel across the Sprint Cup circuit with their 1 1/2-year old son Caleb and an extended family, both in the garages and in bloodlines.
"I couldn't do it without Wendy on the road," Egert said.
Egert, Venturini, and their son drove with Logano's team from Pocono to Michigan International Speedway for this weekend's Sprint Cup Quicken Loans 400, and stopped along the way to visit Egert's family in Elmore. Egert's family later joined him this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
Venturini compares the family dynamic to the team dynamic -- in their marriage, each individual has a role and contributes to the greater cause.
"I couldn't be on the road every week without him, and we couldn't do this," Venturini said. "The secret to our success is to have a teammate. Jarrad's my teammate."
Egert described his career progression from Northwest Ohio to working with Logano, one of NASCAR's highest-profile drivers, and the Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Racing team. Egert attended Penta Career Center in Perrysburg Township then worked with Jerry Cook, who was driving in the Iceman Series at Toledo Speedway, and his brother, Terry, who got Egert a job working with the Craftsman Truck Series.
"The crew chief I was working for moved to Charlotte, moved me to Charlotte and I just kind of graduated along the way."
Venturini is a stay-at-home mom during the offseason, and during the season spends three days a week watching their son, Caleb, before joining SPEED's broadcast team for race weekends.
Logano won last weekend's Pocono 400 Presented By #NASCAR and has won five Nationwide races this season, including Saturday's Alliance Truck Parts 250 at MIS.
"Now that he's having success, it's a lot of fun," Egert said. "Him, being a new driver, obviously he's got a lot of talent, and it's been fun to be able to watch him learn how to run the race cars and to get a feel for what he needs to do there and get back to Victory Lane."
THIRD TIME'S A CHAR: Denny Hamlin's bid to win his third consecutive spring race at Michigan came to a blazing end.
Hamlin's Toyota spun out off a restart on Lap 134, then became engulfed in flames as he steered the damaged car down pit row. Hamlin escaped without injury as race officials doused the fire.
The wreck capped a day to forget for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kyle Busch, Hamlin, and Logano finished 32nd, 34th, and 35th.
"I'll be glad to get out of Michigan," Hamlin said.
FALSE START: Heavy rains moved through southeast Michigan drenching the speedway area Sunday morning. Conditions delayed the start for more than two hours, pushing the start time from 1 p.m. to after 3 to allow jet dryer trucks time to maintain the track.
BUSCHWHACKED: The brothers Busch had no luck at MIS.
First, Kurt Busch opened the race by spinning out early as he came out of Turn 2. Then, halfway into the race, Kyle Busch went back to the garage after blowing his engine, and as Kyle Busch's engine was being tended to in the garages, Turn 2 struck again. Kurt Busch spun out again on the turn and careened into the wall against the infield, which brought out the sixth caution of the afternoon.
FINAL LAP: Trevor Bayne, the 21-year-old former Daytona 500 champion, called his opening-laps exit with a blown engine "disheartening." "Didn't even get to break a sweat," said Bayne, who started seventh. "It seems like nothing like this happens on a day you're running bad. As son as you have a fast car and feel like you're in the hunt, something comes up." ... Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard served as the race's grand marshal and, after getting an up-close look of the speedway, said he chose the right profession. "I get scared to death when I get my vehicle up over 80," Howard said, laughing. ... Kim Kent and Brice Swanson of Greenville, Mich., officially tied the knot Saturday night in Victory Lane. Officiating the marriage was MIS president Roger Curtis, who recently became ordained online. "I am now officially a minister of the free ministry of San Diego," Curtis told a gathering of reporters Sunday. "I bless this room."
Blade sports writer David Briggs contributed to this report.