NASCAR Picks for Michigan
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After winning back-to-back races at Michigan early in his career, Newman suffered through a prolonged slump at the 2.0-mile oval. However, he has figured things out again recently, reeling off four straight top-15s. Newman has three top-10s during the stretch to go along with an 8.5 average finish.
Jeff Gordon, #24 Drive to End Hunger/Axalta, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
When he has run well at Michigan, he has been excellent. When he has struggled at the track, it has been ugly. Since the start of the 2009 season, Gordon has five finishes of sixth or better at MIS, including a pair of second-place efforts. He has finished outside the top 15 in his other three starts, including two finishes outside the top 25. Still, the numbers say he is more likely to have a good day than a bad one.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite some horrible luck and equipment issues at Michigan recently, Busch knows how to get around at the 2.0-mile oval. In fact, he is a two-time winner at the track. More importantly, Busch has found his stride with Furniture Row Racing the last month, and top-15s have become the norm.
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After finishing second in both races at Michigan in 2007, Truex went five races without even cracking the top 10. He has turned things around a bit recently, and he finished 12th and 10th in two starts at the track last season. As long as fantasy owners don't expect more than a top-15 finish out of Truex this weekend, they shouldn't be disappointed.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Logano has been on a rollercoaster ride at Michigan, logging three top-10s and five finishes outside the top 15 in eight starts at the track. With three straight finishes outside the top 20 at MIS, recent history isn't really on his side. That being said, Logano did almost win at the similarly-shaped Auto Club Speedway earlier this year, so he does have some sleeper potential.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Since winning at Michigan in June of 2009, Martin has had a rough time at the track. The veteran has finished outside the top 15 in five of his last seven starts at MIS and has failed to crack the top 25 four times during the stretch. The normally dependable Martin is somewhat of a shaky pick this weekend.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
As his 22.1 average finish at Michigan suggests, Menard hasn't been the most-reliable option at the track. However, he has been making strides recently. Menard has two top-10s in his last four starts at MIS after failing to manage a single top-10 in his first nine starts at the track. For now, fantasy owners should probably cap their expectations at a top-20.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
McMurray has pretty much been mediocre at Michigan throughout his career. He has a 19.0 average finish at the track, and he has finished between 14th and 23rd in his last five starts. History says McMurray just isn't going to provide owners with much more than a top-20 finish this weekend.
Juan Montoya, #42 Target, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
In typical Montoya fashion, he has been hot and cold at Michigan since joining the Cup Series. While he does have three top-10s in 12 starts, he has also finished 25th or worse at the track seven times. Even with Montoya running well of late, the risk probably outweighs the reward this weekend.
A.J. Allmendinger, #47 Kingsford/Clorox, JTG Daugherty Racing [Yahoo Class C]
He will make his first of at least five starts in the No. 47 this weekend, and Allmendinger picked a decent track to make his debut with his new team. After all, he has reeled off five straight top-20s at Michigan and has cracked the top 15 three times during the stretch. Allmendinger could make an excellent sleeper pick for fantasy owners.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class C]
While he will be making his Cup Series debut at Michigan this weekend, there is reason to be optimistic about Stenhouse's chances. Keep in mind that he drives for Roush Fenway Racing, and three of the four-best finishing averages at MIS since 2003 belong to drivers that raced for the organization at the time. Stenhouse should have access to excellent setup information, making him a potential sleeper option immediately.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
On one hand, Ambrose did finish in the top 10 in both races at Michigan last year. On the flip side, he has a 22.6 average finish at the track for his career and has finished outside the top 20 in five of his nine starts. Given his overall inconsistency at oval tracks, it is just tough to trust that Ambrose can back up his 2012 results at MIS.
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