The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes a return trip to Michigan for the Pure Michigan 400.
Since the last race at Michigan in June, the Sprint Cup Series has raced at a superspeedway, three flat racetracks, a cookie-cutter racetrack and two road course racetracks. The drivers who have momentum now may not dominate the race at Michigan since the racetrack is so different from what the Series has raced on recently.
Michigan is a 2-mile D-shaped racetrack. The only other racetrack like it is Auto Club Speedway. Drivers who performed well in June at Michigan will have a good opportunity to perform well on Sunday.
Roush Fenway Racing has always been good at Michigan. It was no different in the June race. Carl Edwards started on the pole and Greg Biffle won the race. Consider all Roush Fenway Racing drivers for your team this week.
Here is my top 25 and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon the driver’s career statistics at the Michigan…
Racing for the Win
1. Matt Kenseth will have a great chance to add to his win total this week. He has four wins on the season and each has come at an oval racetrack. Kenseth has two wins, 12 top-five finishes and 18 top-10 finishes at Michigan. Kenseth will return to Victory Lane on Sunday.
2. Greg Biffle is one of the best drivers on the two-mile oval racetracks. He started No. 19 and led 48 laps on his way to Victory Lane in June. He won the last two races at Michigan and will come very close to adding a third. Biffle must be on every fantasy team this week.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. loves the racetrack at Michigan since it was repaved. Earnhardt broke his 143-race winless streak at Michigan last year. He finished No. 37 in the June race as a result of engines problems. He will bounce back with a top-five finish this week.
Who will win the race this week at Michigan?
4. Carl Edwards knows how to get around Michigan. He has two wins, nine top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes in his 18 career races at the racetrack. He started on the pole and led 16-laps in the June race, before finishing eighth. He will finish in the top five this week.
5. Kevin Harvick had a very good race at Michigan in June. He started No. 21 and raced his way to a second place finish. Harvick needs points to improve his position in the Chase. Another top-five finish will help him climb to the top.
6. Jimmie Johnson has dominated the races during the summer this season. He will start to cool down now that the Sprint Cup Series has finished the races at the flat racetracks. Johnson started No. 17 and finished No. 28 in the June race. He will be better than that, but this is not the week to use Johnson on your team in Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing.
7. Kyle Busch raced well in the June race at Michigan. He qualified ninth and finished fourth. He also had the seventh-best driver’s rating of 96.1. Busch is my pick to win the pole on Sunday.
8. Clint Bowyer has finished either seventh or eighth in the past five races at Michigan. I do not see any reason why he cannot make it six races in a row. Bowyer will add his eighth top-10 to his Michigan resume this week.
9. Brad Keselowski needs a good finish this week. The Fords have always been strong at Michigan and this could be the week Keselowski finishes up front. He has the sixth-best driver rating of 94.4 over the past five races at Michigan.
10. Kasey Kahne needs to bounce back after his horrible race at Watkins Glen. In the June race at Michigan, Kahne qualified third and was involved in an accident. He finished the race No. 38. His luck has to change soon.
11. Martin Truex Jr. is my sleeper pick this week. He started No. 13 and finished third in the June race. He has been very good on the two-mile racetracks. Truex will miss a top-10 finish this week.
12. Joey Logano had a good race in his last trip to Michigan. Logano started sixth and finished ninth. He will come close to matching those results on Sunday.
13. Jeff Gordon has a streak of 19 consecutive season finishing in the top 12 in the point standings. He needs a good finish at Michigan to make the Chase and hope to extend his streak. He only completed 52 laps in his last trip to Michigan. Sunday’s race should be better.
14. Kurt Busch has consistently started up front, but has a hard time staying there thanks to his poor pit crew. That was the case in his last trip to Michigan. Busch started second and finished No. 35. This week he will start up front and finish inside the top 15.
15. Austin Dillon will fill in for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 car this week. Dillon is a great choice for Stewart Haas Racing and a good choice for your fantasy team this week. Dillon started seventh and finished No. 11 in the June race at Michigan.
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will now visit each racetrack for the second time in his rookie season. For those who saved starts with Stenhouse, this will be the time to start using them.
17. Ryan Newman is a two-time winner at Michigan. His last win came in 2004 though. He usually starts higher than he finishes at the racetrack. Newman will start up front and finish inside the top 20 this week.
18. Paul Menard had a decent race in his last trip to Michigan. Menard started fourth and finished No. 14. I would not expect the same results on Sunday.
19. Juan Pablo Montoya is having a good season, but Michigan is not one of his better racetracks. Montoya has an average starting position of 17.7 and an average finishing position of 22. Look for the same kind of results this week.
20. Denny Hamlin has nothing to race for this season. He would need to win the majority of the remaining races to make the Chase. Hamlin looks like a driver who has given up on the season.
Trying to Stay on Lead Lap
21. Jeff Burton has been good at Michigan in the past and he could surprise people on Sunday with a top-10 finish. Play it safe and do not expect a top-20 finish from Burton on Sunday.
22. Mark Martin is another driver who used to own Michigan. He has five wins at the racetrack. Martin is not the same driver this season that he used to be. There are better choices for your team this week.
23. Marcos Ambrose must be disappointed with the results from the race at Watkins Glen. He clearly had the car to beat for most of the race. Ambrose is an average racer at Michigan. In the last race he started and finished No. 23. The same can be expected from him this week.
24. Aric Almirola he not the same driver he was earlier in the season. He finished No. 17 in the last race at Michigan and will have a hard time repeating those results.
25. Jamie McMurray had a horrible race in June at Michigan. He started No. 28 and finished No. 33. It cannot be that bad again, can it?
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Picks
Group A: Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick
Group B: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch
Group C: Ricky Stenhouse, Austin Dillon
Fantasy Live Picks
Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse, Austin Dillon
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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