Dustin Off the Next Race: Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway

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Dustin Off the Next Race:  Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Speed takes over NASCAR this week as the Sprint Cup Series heads outside of Detroit to rumble at the Michigan International Speedway.

The two-mile, D-shaped oval has provided exciting racing in years past, but has also been rather "ho-hum" because of their long runs of green-flag racing.

Earlier this year, a stretch spanning over 120 laps under green spread the field out. At one point, the lead was over eight seconds. Had it not been for a caution with just over 20 laps remaining, the finish would not have been as close as it was.

Eventual winner Denny Hamlin said it was a "show caution" that kept the race close at the end. That is neither here nor there at this point, as it is a new race.

With four races remaining before the Chase, every position and every win is meaning more to each driver. This track has provided some surprising moments, while also being a nail-biter when it comes to fuel mileage. Which race we will see on Sunday is yet to be seen.

But, why waste any time. Let me dust off who to watch for in the Carfax 400.

 

FAVORITES

Carl Edwards

This track has the nickname of being the "Roush House." The teams to watch for every time have the Roush-Fenway name attached to them.

Of the four current drivers, Edwards is by far the best.

He averages a seventh-place finish at this track, including two wins. Plus, factor this in, right now Edwards is running on a winless streak dating back to Homestead in 2008. The last time he went over a season without a victory, it was this track that got him back to victory lane.

No better time than now to see the No. 99 in the winner's circle.

 

Greg Biffle

Edwards may currently have the best record at this track, but the other Roush driver with momentum to spare is Biffle.

His win two weeks ago at Pocono was the culmination of all the effort his team has been putting together all year. He and his crew were so close to winning, but just couldn't put all the pieces together. Now that this team has a win under their belts, they are hungry for more.

Biffle also has two wins here, but averages only a 12.8 finish. That statistic doesn't worry me, I expect the 3M Fusion to be running strong.

 

Jeff Gordon

The stress of worrying about Gordon's wife, Ingrid, has finally passed. This week, the two of them welcomed baby number two into the family.

There is possibly no better gift after seeing his second child born than seeing his team celebrate with him in victory lane. Two of the last three weeks have been a struggle for the No. 24, with ill-handling race cars and some bad strategy playing the big parts.

At Michigan, Gordon averages an 12th-place finish. With two wins, 18 top-five's, and 23 top-10's, there's a great chance he can end the streak.

It would make Ingrid, Ella and Gordon's new son, Leo, very happy to see him win one more time.

 

SLEEPERS

Kurt Busch

Here is one team that has been running strong, but just hasn't gotten job done. At Pocono, a late wreck ended Busch's strong run. Last week, he ran near the front but couldn't run down Juan Pablo Montoya.

But, when it comes to Michigan, he is currently the top driver running the Dodge nameplate. Two wins, three top-five's and eight top-10's aren't the best of statistics. But I wouldn't bet against the Miller Lite team.

Two years ago, they had to wait until Tuesday to get a win at this track. Hopefully if he wins this time, we all won't have to wait for two days to take a green flag.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Now before you all start going "What?," this choice is strictly based on statistics and not how the season has gone.

Michigan has been one of Junior's better tracks. He won here back in 2008, has four top-fives and eight top-10's. Junior himself has said he enjoys running here because he's able to move the car around a lot, which can be a good thing when the conditions change.

Keep an eye on the "Drive the Guard" Chevrolet. He could surprise a lot of people.

 

ESPN once again will have the honor of broadcasting the action. Coverage begins at Noon ET with NASCAR Countdown. The race is scheduled to go green shortly after 1 p.m.

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