NASCAR returns to the "cookie-cutter" tracks this weekend as the boys head to the American manufacturers' hometown.
It's all about bragging rights this weekend for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge. While Ford has traditionally dominated the two-mile track in Brooklyn, Mich., a Chevy (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) did win this race last year.
Although Carl Edwards has yet to win in 2009, our Creatures seem to think he'll break that streak this weekend, as eight (62 percent) of our 13 writers predicted we'd see a backflip this weekend.
The 400-mile event is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:16 p.m. on Sunday, and here is who our Creatures will be rooting for (OK, maybe not rooting for, but who they think will win).
Ben Bomberger—Brian Vickers
It's going to happen. Whether it's this weekend (which obviously I hope), or not, Vickers and his No. 83 Red Bull Toyota are going to make it to Victory Lane.
This week it was announced that Vickers had signed a multi-year deal to stay with Red Bull, and that confidence will carry over to the track this weekend.
At Dover: In 10 starts at the two-mile venue, Vickers has five top 10 finishes (50 percent) and one top-five (which came in this race last year, a fourth-place finish).
Since making his first start at the track with TRB, Vickers has only finished outside of the top 10 once, his first trip there with the No. 83 in 2007.
Finishes of eighth, fourth, and seventh have followed that up. He has also led 76 laps in the last three race as well.
Vickers and his Toyota would love to rain on the domestic parade in their hometown this weekend.
Dark Horse: David Ragan
James Broomhead—Carl Edwards
Seriously? You were expecting someone else. No way? Edwards is due a win, and Michigan is one of those Roush tracks where he will always have a chance.
And I have a feeling I won't be the only picking him here, let's say about five others have the same idea.
M.J. Buchanan—Carl Edwards
My pick for MIS is Carl Edwards. Roush Fenway is traditionally good at this track and Carl is tired of coming in as runner-up. I think it will be the right time to see Edwards' patented backflip in Victory Lane this week.
Kelly Crandall—Greg Biffle
Edwards has been inching closer to his first win of the 2009 season and after an impressive run in last week's fuel mileage race at Pocono, I look for him to get his third win in the last five Michigan Cup races and set himself up for the season sweep of MIS.
Adam Heasley—Carl Edwards
Edwards is really starting to pick up the pace. I expect him to dominate and win at Michigan. The only thing that scares me is the fuel mileage game, which could take him out of the game.
Danielle Henderson—Carl Edwards
While my heart wants Dale Earnhardt Jr. to get out there and win his first race of the season at a track that statistically he does well at, I'm going to have to go with my head and choose Kyle Busch.
After last week's "smashing" success in the Nationwide, I believe that Busch will show up to the Sprint Cup Series with something to prove.
He'll shrug off the backlash regarding the Sam Bass trophy in Michigan by rubbing a Cup win in every one of his naysayers' faces.
Busch has yet to win in Michigan in the Cup series; no doubt he's champing at the bit to get that done.
Last June he came in 13th and in second during the August race. A first-place finish is inevitable.
My dark horse is Dale Earnhardt Jr. and even though I know I won't get the points for not officially choosing him, that is who I am ultimately rooting for to take the checkered flag.
S.M. Napier—Carl Edwards
Will edit in comments later...
Kyle Ocker—Carl Edwards
This week's pick is Hello Newman; look for Ryan Newman to pull off the win and follow up on Stewart's big win next week.
Jen Preston—Carl Edwards
He's got the best average finish among active drivers, and he's BOUND get into Victory Lane. I think this will be the weekend the backflip returns to NASCAR.
Rob Tiongson—Brian Vickers
I think I'll do a reversal here of sorts. Last week, on my weekly Dropping the Hammer column for Pocono, I had picked Brian Vickers to win. But with my C vs. C pick, I went with Tony Stewart.
This week for this Sunday's Michigan race, I'll have to go with Vickers. He's been wildly inconsistent as of late, but in the 2008 races held at this two-mile facility, he was amazing, with finishes of fourth and seventh.
If he keeps it together, that No. 83 Red Bull Toyota might be there in Victory Lane to truly upset those supposed American-only made cars!
SUMMARY OF PICKS:
Carl Edwards — (8)
Brian Vickers — (2)
Greg Biffle — (1)
Kyle Busch — (1)
Ryan Newman — (1)
Here is a look at each writer's pick from Pocono last weekend, where they finished, and the updated point standings (wins are in parenthesis):
M.J. Buchanan, (2040) Vickers finished 21st. (0)
Kelly Crandall, (2002) Johnson finished seventh. (1)
Ben Bomberger, (1971) Edwards finished second. (0)
Adam Heasley, (1924) Earnhardt Jr. finished 27th. (2)
S.M. Napier, (1775) Hamlin finished 38th. (2)
David Phillips, (1669) Vickers finished 21st. (1)
Kara Martin, (438) Stewart finished first. (1)
Mason Dunn, (437) Martin finished 19th. (0)
Rob Tiongson, (405) Stewart finished first. (1)
James Broomhead, (378) Hamlin finished 38th. (0)
Danielle Henderson, (330) Earnhardt Jr. finished 27th. (0)
Kyle Ocker, (329) Hamlin finished 38th. (0)
Jen Preston, (189) Hamlin finished 38th. (0)
Remember, during the regular season, our writers are trying to collect as many wins as possible.
After Richmond, points will be reset with each writer receiving 10 points for correctly picking a winner during the season.
For the final 10 races, the points will matter, and a Creature vs. Creature Champion will be crowned following the season finale in Homestead.
Check back on Monday for this weekend's results.