Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Brooklyn, Michigan, this week for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Since the track was repaved in 2012, the speeds have been lightning fast. The problem is the racing has not been as good. Michigan used to be a multiple groove track, which allowed drivers to search for the quickest lane for their car. The surface has yet to age and produce the quality racing that fans are used to. With another winter having taken its toll on the track, maybe fans will be in for some competitive racing Sunday.
The race this week will be determined by horsepower and fuel strategy. Hendrick Motorsports has had the fastest cars this season, and they should be fast Sunday. The team has won half of the races since the track was repaved. Team Penske will also be a team to watch. No team knows how to play the fuel strategy game better than Brad Keselowski's No. 2 car.
Here are my picks for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan.
Yahoo Group A Picks
There will be many good options in Group A of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing this week. All of the drivers from Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) in this group have had success at Michigan. Team Penske (Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski) drivers are always fast at the track, and Kevin Harvick must be considered in every race. Harvick has 13 top-10 finishes in the 14 races this season.
My sleeper pick in Group A is Jeff Gordon. He dominated the last race at Michigan in August 2014, starting on the pole and leading 68 laps on his way to Victory Lane. Do not be surprised to see Gordon make it back-to-back victories at the track Sunday.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A.
Harvick is my pick to win Sunday. He has a series-best average finish position and the second-best driver rating in the last four races at Michigan. Harvick ran well in the race at Fontana in March (Another two-mile oval track). He started the race on the front row, led 34 laps and finished second. Harvick should have a similar performance Sunday.
Johnson won this race last season and could find his way to Victory Lane again Sunday. He has run well at Michigan in his career, and the Chevys look like the cars to beat. Kevin Harvick and Johnson have won four of the six races on the intermediate tracks this season. There is a good chance the No. 4 and No. 48 will be racing for the win again this week.
Other good choices: Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon
Yahoo Group B Picks
The strategy this week for Group B will be to select two of the top drivers and pair them with two sleeper picks. Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch have been running too well to ignore and would make excellent picks this week. Make sure you pair these two drivers with two sleeper picks who have had success at Michigan.
My sleeper pick for Group B is Tony Stewart. To say Stewart has had a rough season would be an understatement. If he is ever going to get back to his old form, it should start at Michigan. Stewart has his best average finish position and his best driver rating at Michigan. Look for Smoke to rise on Sunday.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.
Martin Truex Jr.
Truex Jr. does not have great stats at Michigan, but it does not matter this season. Truex is the best driver in the series right now and is too hot to leave off your team. Truex has led the most laps in the last four races, and he has finished 13 of the 14 races this season in the top 10. It is hard to say if the No. 78 team can continue to run this well all season, so my suggestion is to use Truex while he is on fire.
Busch is the best choice in Group B this week. His career stats at Michigan are not the best, but he has been racing very well on the intermediate tracks this season. Busch won the pole and led the most laps before finishing third at Fontana. The track in California is similar to Michigan's, so Busch should have the same results. Busch is my pick to win the pole this week.
Michigan is Menard’s best race track. He has finished the last four races at Michigan in the top five. Menard has the third-best average finish position and the sixth-best driver rating in the last four races at the track. At Fontana, he started 11th and finished fourth. Menard has a good chance for another top-five finish Sunday.
Biffle has not been great this season, but he is starting to show he can finish in the top 15 consistently. Biffle will probably need a win to make the Chase, and Michigan is his best track. His last two trips to Victory Lane came at this track. Do not be surprised to see the No. 16 team gamble on fuel mileage and try to steal a win this week.
Other Good Choices: Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray and Tony Stewart
Yahoo Group C Picks
Fantasy teams who have been paying attention this season will have no problem filling out their lineup this week. The best strategy has been to take a race ringer and pair him with a driver who competes in every race and has success at the track. This week Ryan Blaney will be your ringer, and Danica Patrick or David Ragan will be your backup drivers.
My sleeper pick for Group C is David Gilliland. He is a long shot to finish in the top 20, but he should easily finish near the top 25. Last season, Gilliland finished 26th in the spring race and 21st in the summer race. If you feel like rolling the dice on a driver your competition will not select, Gilliland is your man.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.
Blaney will be back in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford this week. He has run well in the car this season, but he has had terrible luck with his engines. Blaney was unable to finish three of the five races because of engine failure. It is impossible to predict problems with the car, so I suggest selecting Blaney and rolling the dice that he can finish the race. The risk is worth the reward this week.
Patrick may be one of the best-kept secrets at Michigan. She has finished three of her four starts at the track inside the top 18. She will be a good insurance policy if Ryan Blaney does not qualify well or does not show speed in practice. Expect another top-20 finish from Patrick Sunday.
Other Good Choices: David Ragan, David Gilliland and Justin Allgaier
Fantasy Live Picks
The best strategy for Fantasy Live this week will be to select a combination of drivers who start up front with a chance to lead many laps and some drivers who start further back with a chance to earn points for finishing differential. There are 200 laps in the race and 100 bonus points available for leading laps. It will be important to try to earn as many of the bonus points as possible.
If you are one of the fantasy teams who selected Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. early in the season and were able to hold on to them, you are probably sitting at the top of your league standings. These three drivers have run well in most of the races, and their prices continue to climb. If you do not have them on your team, this would be a good week to select them.
Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Michigan:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $29.00
Driver 2: Martin Truex Jr. $22.75
Driver 3: Carl Edwards $21.75
Driver 4: Greg Biffle $19.75
Driver 5: Matt DiBenedetto $6.25
Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick
* Driver prices based on prices at Pocono
Fox Fantasy Racing
The strategy for Fox Fantasy Racing has been to select drivers who started the race in the back with a chance to move to the front, but teams must also factor in the driver's price. The two best bargains in the game this week are Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch. This is Biffle’s best track, and Busch will greatly outscore his price this week. It would be wise to select both drivers for your team at Michigan.
Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for Michigan:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $13,300
Driver 2: Joey Logano $10,900
Driver 3: Brad Keselowski $11,300
Driver 4: Kyle Busch $5,900
Driver 5: Greg Biffle $7,900
* Driver prices based on prices at Pocono
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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