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NASCAR at Michigan 2021: Odds, TV Schedule, Live Stream and Drivers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 21, 2021

Kevin Harvick competes at a NASCAR Cup Series auto race, Sunday, July 18, 2021, in Loudon, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The NASCAR Cup Series regular season is down to its final two races.

The Cup Series moves back to an oval Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. The past two races were on road courses.

Fourteen of the 16 playoff spots have been clinched by 13 eligible race winners and Denny Hamlin, who is second on the circuit in points. Kevin Harvick is next in line to secure a spot in the playoff field. He either needs a win to secure automatic qualification or he can get in on points because of the gap between him and Tyler Reddick.

Reddick and Austin Dillon are fighting for the final playoff spot. The former leads his teammate by 28 points. Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher and others could play spoiler to the race for 16th with a victory. The drivers sitting in 18th and below likely can't get in on points alone.

                    

Firekeepers Casino 400 Info

Date: Sunday, August 22

Start Time: 3 p.m. ET 

TV: NBCSN 

Live Stream: NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app

               

Odds

Kyle Larson: +260 (bet $100 to win $260)

Kyle Busch: +700

Kevin Harvick: +700

Martin Truex Jr.: +750

Chase Elliott: +800

Denny Hamlin: +900

Alex Bowman: +1200

William Byron: +1400

Brad Keselowski: +1600

Joey Logano: +1600

Ryan Blaney: +1800

Via DraftKings Sportsbook.

           

Starting Lineup

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Larson on the pole Sunday for Michigan. Elliott to start beside him. https://t.co/jBuZNlx3vM

        

Preview

Harvick is in the best possible position to lock up the 15th playoff spot Sunday.

The No. 4 car driver has won the past three races at Michigan, and he starts in a favorable spot on the outside of the fourth row.

A win would put Harvick in the field alongside teammate Aric Almirola, who won at New Hampshire in July to clinch his postseason spot. A strong run would provide another confidence boost for Stewart-Haas Racing since Harvick does not have a victory one year after he and Denny Hamlin traded wins throughout the regular season.

The two drivers directly beneath Harvick in the standings are set for all-out battle over the next two races. Reddick and Dillon, who are teammates at Richard Childress Racing, are separated by 12 places on the starting grid.

Dillon had the best performances at Michigan in 2020. He took eighth in the second of two back-to-back races. Reddick placed 18th and 24th in those two races.

Reddick needs a good race to feel somewhat secure going into next week's race at Daytona International Speedway, which is much more unpredictable and a track that Dillon won at in the past.

A victory would be the ideal result for either driver. But if that does not happen, they need to be in the best spot possible to earn the 16th playoff spot.

The only way Reddick and Dillon both miss out on the playoffs is if a driver beneath them in the standings wins at either Michigan or Daytona. DiBenedetto is the likeliest candidate to achieve that feat. He had two top-15 finishes at Michigan last season and has five top-11 placings in a row.

If the No. 21 car driver puts a solid run together Sunday, he could upset the RCR drivers and lock in his spot in the playoff field. However, it feels like everyone will be chasing Kyle Larson, who is the regular-season points leader and pole-sitter for the race.

Larson has five victories and 17 top-10 finishes this season. Accordingly, he is the overwhelming favorite to win Sunday's race.

If you are looking for a long shot, Joey Logano could be the best option. He is the only racer outside of Harvick to win in the past five Cup Series races at Michigan, and Team Penske needs a strong run after two poor road course finishes.

                      

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