Fantasy NASCAR at Michigan 2014: Picks, Top Drivers for Quicken Loans 400

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Fantasy NASCAR at Michigan 2014: Picks, Top Drivers for Quicken Loans 400
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Brooklyn, Michigan, this week for the Quicken Loans 400.

Michigan is a two-mile D-shaped race track. The only other race track like it on the circuit is Auto Club Speedway. Drivers who performed well at Auto Club Speedway will have a good opportunity to perform well on Sunday. Kyle Busch won the race at Auto Club Speedway, but Jimmie Johnson led 104 of the 206 laps in the race. Both drivers would be good a selection for your fantasy team.

Joey Logano started on the pole and won the last race at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson ran up front until his engine blew up on Lap 54. Greg Biffle won the previous two races at Michigan and took the lead on Lap 109. After Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew a tire, Logano beat the competition off pit road to take the lead. He led the final three laps to win the race.

The strategy for your fantasy team this week will be to stick with the drivers who have performed well on the intermediate tracks this season (Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski).

The schedule for the summer consists of two road courses, a superspeedway, Pocono, Indianapolis and the one-mile flat race track at New Hampshire. Each of these race tracks will provide an opportunity to select drivers whom you may have not used much this season for your team. So stick with the top drivers this week for the race at Michigan.

Here are my top 30 drivers for the race at Michigan with stats from DriverAverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.info...

 

Racing for the Win

1. Kevin Harvick: Harvick has had the car to beat at each race on the intermediate race tracks this season. The only thing that can keep Harvick from finishing up front is his pit crew and engine problems. Harvick has finished second in the last two races at intermediate race tracks. He will finish first this week.

2. Jeff Gordon: Gordon has a series-best average finishing position this season on the intermediate race tracks. He has finished three of the five races in the top 10, and he is coming off a victory at Kansas. Gordon has two wins at Michigan and will run up front again this week.

3. Joey Logano: Logano dominated the last race at Michigan. He started on the pole and drove his No. 22 Ford to Victory Lane. As well as Logano has run this season, he must be considered a favorite for the race Sunday. Logano has finished three of the five races this season on the intermediate race tracks in the top five. He will add another top-five finish to his impressive 2014 resume Sunday.

4. Jimmie Johnson: There is no driver in the series on a hotter streak right now than Johnson. He won back-to-back races and finished sixth at Pocono. Simply put, Johnson is the best driver in the series, and he should be considered a favorite at each race track.

5. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has always been one of the best drivers at Michigan. He has two wins and finished 18 races in the top 10 at the race track. This will be Kenseth’s best opportunity to score his first victory of the season.

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt struggled at Michigan last year, finishing outside the top 35 in both races. That had more to do with engine failure than his driving ability. Earnhardt has won two races at Michigan and finished 10 of his 29 starts in the top 10. He will have momentum coming off his victory at Pocono.

7. Carl Edwards: Edwards has been running well this season on the intermediate race tracks, and Michigan is a good track for the No. 99 team. Edwards has finished four of the five races at intermediate race tracks in the top 10. He does not always qualify up front, but Edwards knows how to get to the front at the end of the race. That is all that matters in fantasy NASCAR.

8. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has been good but not great at Michigan in his career. Last season he finished both races No. 12. He won the race at Las Vegas but has not finished inside the top 10 at an intermediate race track since. He will be on a mission this week to prove he should have won the race at Pocono. A mad Brad can be trouble for the field.

9. Kyle Busch: Busch won the race at Auto Club Speedway. That race track is similar to the one at Michigan, but that was three months ago, and a lot has changed since the Auto Club 400. Busch should still be fast, but he has had a problem finishing races this season. If he can keep his car off the walls, he will easily finish in the top 10.

10. Tony Stewart: Stewart has not been great on the intermediate race tracks this season, but he was able to score a top-five finish at Auto Club Speedway. Do not put too much stock into previous stats from this season for Stewart, because this is the time of the year when he usually starts to heat up. Stewart has finished 20 of his 29 starts at Michigan in the top 10. He will make it 21 for 30 Sunday.

 

Don’t Overlook

11. Greg Biffle: Michigan is by far the best race track for Biffle. Four of Biffle’s 19 career victories came at Michigan. He has a series-best driver rating in the last four races at the race track. He won two of the last three races at Michigan, but the team has not had much success this season. If you were ever going to use Biffle on your fantasy team, this is the week to do it.

12. Brian Vickers: Vickers has been running well on the intermediate race tracks this season. He has the sixth-best average finishing position with three top-10 finishes. He has only won three races in his career, and one of them came at Michigan. Vickers would be a great selection for your fantasy team this week.

13. Kyle Larson: Larson’s best finish came at Auto Club Speedway. He likes to run the top of the race track, and that is the best way to get around the tracks at Auto Club Speedway and Michigan. Expect Larson to qualify up front and finish inside the top 15 Sunday.

14. Paul Menard: Menard has been a great sleeper pick on the intermediate race tracks this season. He has finished four of the five races in the top 10, including one top-five finish. Menard finished fourth in the August race at Michigan. He would be a good pick for your fantasy team if you want to save a start with another driver.

15. Kasey Kahne: Michigan is one of Kahne’s better race tracks. He has one win and finished nine of his 20 starts in the top 10. Kahne has shown some speed this year, but he is too inconsistent to select for your fantasy team. If you choose Kahne for your team, keep your fingers crossed that he does not make any mistakes during the race.

16. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has a streak of five straight top-10 finishes at Michigan, but he has not been very good on the intermediate race tracks this season. Bowyer only has one top-15 finish this season in the five races on intermediate tracks. He needs to turn his season around. Expect Bowyer to run in the top 20 Sunday.

17. Kurt Busch: Busch has two wins at Michigan in his career. He started on the front row and finished third in the last race at the race track. Busch is a hard driver to predict this season. His third-place finish at Auto Club Speedway suggests he should run well on Sunday. He is a risky pick for your fantasy team this week.

18. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has not had any success at Michigan recently. He has not finished in the top 10 at Michigan since his win in 2011. Hamlin has also struggled on the intermediate race tracks this season. He has not finished in the top 10 at an intermediate race track in 2014, and he will not get his first top-10 finish Sunday.

19. Ryan Newman: Newman has had success at Michigan in his career, but he has not run well at the intermediate race tracks this year. Newman has two wins at Michigan but has only finished one of his last four races in the top 10. He will not add his second this week.

20. Jamie McMurray: McMurray only has two finishes in the top 10 in his 22 career starts at Michigan. His last top-10 finish was in 2008. McMurray ran well at Charlotte, but do not expect the same results at Michigan.

 

Trying to Stay on Lead Lap

21. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex finished third in this race last year, but there is a big difference between Michael Waltrip Racing and Furniture Rowe Racing. So far this season, Truex has been unable to finish in the top 10 on an intermediate race track with his new race team. Do not expect it to change this week.

22. Austin Dillon: Dillon is a rookie, but he has three career starts at Michigan in the Sprint Cup Series. His average starting position is 18.7, and his average finishing position is 16.3. Dillon will easily finish in the top 25 Sunday.

23. Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya will make his return to NASCAR this week in the No. 12 Penske Ford. Montoya ran well last year at Michigan. He started sixth and finished No. 11 in the last race at Michigan. It would be wise to select Montoya this week in Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing and save Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson for other race tracks.

24. Trevor Bayne: Bayne has started four races this season on the intermediate race tracks. He has finished three of the four races in the top 25. He would be a great selection for your Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR team this week.

25. AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger’s best finish this year on an intermediate race track came at Auto Club Speedway. He started No. 18 and finished eighth. He will have a hard time repeating those results this week, but he will finish in the top 25.

 

Long Shots

26. Danica Patrick: Patrick actually ran well at Kansas and Charlotte (until she had engine problems). Expect her to qualify in the top 10 but fall back once the race begins.

27. Aric Almirola: Almirola did not get a chance to show how good he is on the two-mile race tracks because he crashed on Lap 65 at Auto Club Speedway. He has never finished in the top 10 at Michigan, and there is no reason to believe he will finish in the top 10 this week. There are better race tracks to use Almirola for your team.

28. Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has not been good this year on the intermediate race tracks. He has not finished any races on these race tracks inside the top 20. His average finishing position is 25.4. Save Ambrose for next week at Sonoma.

29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: If you are looking for a driver to finish between positions 25 and 35, Stenhouse is your driver. He has finished four of the five races between those positions, and his other one was a No. 22 finish at Kansas. Stay away from Stenhouse this week.

30. Brett Moffitt: Moffitt will be driving theNo. 66 car for Michael Waltrip Racing this week. The car was originally scheduled to be driven by Jeff Burton, but the team decided to give the younger driver a shot at Michigan. Moffitt qualified No. 18 and finished No. 22 in his only start in the Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte. He is worth consideration for your team this week based upon the car he will be driving.

 

Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing Picks

  • Group A: Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon
  • Group B: Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart
  • Group C: Juan Pablo Montoya, Trevor Bayne

 

Fantasy Live Picks

  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Joey Logano
  • Trevor Bayne
  • Brett Moffitt

 

Fox Fantasy NASCAR Picks

  • Captain: Kevin Harvick
  • Driver 2: Jeff Gordon
  • Driver 3: Joey Logano
  • Driver 4: Tony Stewart
  • Driver 5: Greg Biffle

 

If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR.

If you like Fantasy NASCAR, “Like” my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook.

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