NASCAR Picks for Michigan
Length: 2.000 miles
Shape: D-shaped Oval
Location: Brooklyn, Michigan
The Sprint Cup Series heads back to Michigan International Speedway this weekend, and the fast 2.0-mile oval seems to have gotten even faster with the introduction of the "Gen-6" car. In addition to dialing in the new car, drivers will have to deal with a new tire compound this weekend. That being said, the "Gen-6" car didn't really seem to shift the balance of power at MIS, and for fantasy purposes, hopefully the same thing can be said about the new tire after this weekend's race. After all, Michigan's wide racing groove has traditionally allowed the drivers with the fastest cars to move through the field and get to the front. Yes, Michigan has also been notorious for fuel mileage races, but if the cautions fall right, the drivers with the best cars tend to deliver great finishes. Many of NASCAR's big names have performed very well at the track. In other words, Sunday's trip to Michigan provides fantasy owners with a chance to pile up some points, and with a couple of short track events looming in the coming weeks, owners need to take advantage of the opportunity.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Not only is Biffle the defending winner of this weekend's race, but he is going for a season sweep and a three-peat after also winning at MIS in June. For his career, Biffle has four wins at the 2.0-mile oval and 10 top-five finishes in 21 starts. Meanwhile, no driver has led more laps or scored more points in the last five races at Michigan than Biffle.
Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Although he has never won a race at Michigan, Johnson has had his share of strong cars. He has led the most laps at the track on more than one occasion, only to run out of gas while leading on the last lap. Earlier this year, Johnson was actually closing in on eventual leader Greg Biffle when he cut a tire and hit the wall with a couple of laps to go. It is only a matter of time before he gets a win at MIS.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Fantasy owners will have a tough time finding a more reliable option than Kenseth this weekend. His 9.4 average finish at Michigan is the second best among active drivers, and in 28 starts at the track, he has 18 top-10s. Kenseth is also a two-time winner at the track, and has finished in the top 10 in five of his last six starts at MIS, including a sixth-place run earlier this year.
Kyle Busch, #18 Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Busch has been dialed in at Michigan recently. In the last five races at the track, his three top-five finishes are tied for the most in the series. During the stretch, Busch has also led the third-most laps of any driver and has scored the fourth-most points. He won the August race in 2011; and earlier this year, he finished fourth at the track.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
He has had a few bumps in the road at Michigan, but Kahne's ability to deliver elite finishes at the track is undeniable. In addition to his victory in 2006, he has finished second on three other occasions. Kahne also finished third at MIS last August, and he was leading at the track in June when he cut a tire and slammed the wall.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
His two most-recent Cup wins have both come at Michigan, including his victory at the track last June. In the August event that same year, he finished fourth; earlier this year, Junior was out front when he lost a motor. Overall, he has been a stud at the 2.0-mile ovals the last few years, and he has legitimate top-five potential this weekend.
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Keselowski has flexed some serious muscle in the last four races at Michigan. He has finished in the top-15 in all four starts during the stretch, compiling a 7.5 average finish and finishing third or better twice. His blend of reliability and upside makes him a solid fantasy option in all formats.
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
While he has never finished in the top five at Michigan, Bowyer should still make a rock solid addition to fantasy rosters this weekend. After all, he has reeled off five straight top-10 finishes at the track, including three straight seventh-place finishes. During the stretch, Bowyer's 7.4 average finish is the best in the series.
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Fantasy owners that like to go with conservative, safe options should definitely consider Edwards this weekend. After all, his 8.2 average finish at Michigan is the best in the series, and in 18 starts, he has finished outside the top 12 only twice. Edwards is also a two-time winner at the track, and he finished sixth last August and eighth earlier this year.
Kevin Harvick, #29 Budweiser/Rheem, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class A]
While he only has four top-five finishes in 25 starts at Michigan, Harvick has a knack for delivering solid finishes at the track. He has a 14.3 average finish at MIS for his career, and he has finished outside the top 20 only once since 2006. Throw in the fact that he finished second in the June race, and Harvick has plenty to offer fantasy owners this weekend.
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Truex has been getting better and better at Michigan lately. He has improved his result at the track in five straight starts and has finished in the top 12 in three straight starts. Last August, he finished 10th at MIS, and earlier this year, he finished third. Owners could definitely hit it big with Truex this weekend.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he has finished 30th or worse in his last four starts at Michigan, Busch still offers fantasy owners plenty of upside. Keep in mind that when the series visited the track in June, he led 21 laps early and was running in the top five when he spun and hit the wall. Mistake aside, Busch had one of the fastest cars on the track, and owners willing to take the risk could be rewarded with a top-five finish.