NASCAR Sprint Cup CARFAX 400 Preview and Prediction

dave darbySenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2009

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 14:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 DeWalt Ford, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Michigan 400 at Michigan Internetional Speedway on August 14, 2009 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Is Brian Vickers the new "Rocket Man" of the Sprint Cup? Ryan Newman has held that distinction in recent years for his ability to qualify on the pole. Vickers has now qualified for the pole in six races this season. Mark Martin will join Vickers on the front row this week in Brooklyn, MI for the CARFAX 400 on Sunday.

This race is always a big one for the teams, as it is run in the Big Three automakers back yard. Those companies certainly can use the boost. After Vickers and his pole position, Toyota, spots two through five are all Chevrolet's.

Although Carl Edwards has not won yet this season on the Sprint Cup circuit, he is the defending champion at Michigan—beating Kyle Busch last year by almost a full second.

David Ragen finished third, Greg Biffle forth, and Matt Kenseth (from nearby Wisconsin) finished fifth. Brian Vickers won the pole here last year as well and finished seventh. Last years race featured seven cautions for 27 laps and had 18 lead changes among nine different drivers.

Tony Stewart needs only to start the race to assure his spot in the final "Chase." While red hot this summer, Stewart has never won this race, coming as close as second once and third place twice.

Behind Vickers and Mark Martin in qualifying were Juan Montoya, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne.

After another victory last week, here are our picks to win this week in Michigan, and they both should bring good odds.


Greg Biffle—This one could almost qualify as an underdog pick of the week, but there is an strong undercurrent right now for "The Bif."

Biffle has finished in the top seven here at Michigan in five of the past six years, including a win in 2004. Biffle also has two top five finishes in the past three races.

Sitting in tenth in the standings, he may need to be a bit cautious and do some points racing, but he needs to be near the front.


Matt Kenseth—Flat out loves Michigan, at least as much as anyone from the Badger state is allowed to. Kenseth has finished no worse than 11th here in the past eight years, including a win in 2006.

He will have to come from the back of the pack after a bad 30th place qualifying, but the Dewalt gang knows what it takes at Michigan International.

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