2018 Michigan International Speedway, FireKeepers Casino 400

Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. who picked up his second win of the season this past weekend at Pocono. So far this year the series has been dominated by three drivers and that doesn’t bode well for NASCAR as far as ratings go or selling tickets to races. Fans want to see some competition or it doesn’t pay to attend or watch a race. I have a feeling we are going to see some new rules implemented soon to level the playing field and make the season a little more interesting for the fans.

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Last week’s race was pretty boring as I suspected it would be as most races at Pocono are. Once a restart was underway it was pretty much the driver in first place took off and nobody could catch them other than a few passes for the lead, but when the first pass was made that driver drove away from the field. There really wasn’t a lot of drama in this race.

This week the series heads to the Michigan International Speedway for the first of two races at this track. This is a two-mile moderately banked D-shaped oval track that is wide enough to pass on either side and will have multiple grooves for the drivers to race in. It is very similar to the Auto Club Speedway in California where Martin Truex Jr. won his first race of the season.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin is still the class of the field and only a mistake where he didn’t pit late in the race for tires and almost the entire field behind him did cost him his sixth win of the season. He and Kyle Larson got caught up together at the Auto Club Speedway earlier this year which took Kevin out of the race and we didn’t get to see him battle with Martin for another win. I think this week will be different with Kevin coming out on top once again.

Martin Truex Jr.: As I stated above. Martin Truex Jr. won the race at the Auto Club Speedway earlier this year on the other 2-mile track that is almost an exact replica of Michigan. We will have to wait and see if the battle between Martin and Kevin materializes this weekend or if someone else battles for the win. Odds are Martin, Kevin, and Kyle Busch will battle each other for the win once again.

Kyle Busch: Funny think about Kyle, if he isn’t winning the race, his car is junk. Sometimes even when he is winning the race his car is junk. The thing is he always thinks he can run faster no matter how anyone else is doing. I do believe that in the races where he gets beat by Kevin he just doesn’t have the speed or his handling is off a little bit, but I believe that Kevin would tell you he could have been better too.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has won the last 3 races at Michigan and has looked very good lately. He came away with a second place finish last week and I think he might have something to say before all is said and done at Michigan this weekend. You can’t win three races in a row at any track and not be considered a contender the next time you race there. He is a great driver to have on your team this week, especially if you are trying to save some starts for the top three drivers.

Chase Elliott: Chase has been great at Michigan in his four Cup starts where he has finished in the top five three times and the top ten all four times. This includes multiple runner-up finishes. Right now the Hendrick teams aren’t at the level where they can compete for wins with the top four right now, but they seem to be getting closer to that point each and every week. I see Chase coming away with another top ten finish this weekend.

Joey Logano: Joey has been very good at Michigan over the past three years where he has picked up a win, three top five, and five top ten finishes. Once again we have seen how fast all of the Ford drivers have been this year and this speed should show once again on the long straightaways at Michigan. If they can keep up with the changing track conditions as the race progresses, they could find themselves in contention at the end of this race.

Jamie McMurray: Jamie is my dark horse of the week. He has finished in the top ten in five of his last six starts at Michigan and has shown some speed lately. He is also Kyle Larson’s teammate and we have already discussed what Kyle has done here lately. I look for Jamie to continue this trend and if everything falls into place for him he could be looking at visiting victory lane this weekend.

Erik Jones: Erik has only run two races at this track, but has fared pretty well in both of them. He has one top five finish and this is the type of track where he is at his best this early in his career. I think he had a tough time last week with the three different type corners at Pocono, but won’t have that problem this week at Michigan. I look for him to run in the top fifteen all day and maybe even come away with another top ten finish.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan had a good week once again last weekend at Pocono. He sat on the pole and finished sixth in the race. We talked about how fast all of the Ford drivers have been all year and we know how well his teammate, Joey Logano, has run here recently. I think Ryan will capitalize on all of the information he can get from Joey and will have a fast car once again this weekend. This is a wide track, so Ryan should be able to use it all and if he can stay out of trouble could compete for a win or a top five finish once again this weekend.

Brad Keselowski: Not to be outdone by too much by Joey Logano, Brad has two top five and four top ten finishes in his last six starts at Michigan. Brad really wants to win at this track as it is his home track as he hails from Michigan. This team just needs to find a little bit better balance to their handling early in the race so they aren’t trying to play catch up and having to go outside the box to gain track position. Once they are good at the beginning of a race they will start to compete for wins once again.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kyle Larson
  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Chase Elliott
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Erik Jones
  • Jamie McMurray

Driver Group Game Group C

  • William Byron
  • Alex Bowman

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Ryan Blaney

Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray

Stay Away From: Darrell Wallace Jr.

Big 18: Kyle Larson

55 thoughts on “2018 Michigan International Speedway, FireKeepers Casino 400

  1. I’m thinking this for my line up when fantasy opens… 1 9 12 22 42 with 20 in the garage…. I know the 4 18 & 78 have been the class of the feild every week… I’m running low on uses for them with plenty of racing left… I have 4 left on 4… 5 left on both the 18 & 78… I know these are more than likely to be the top their drivers on the 2 road courses also so I would like to save at least 2 starts for each of those 3 for the 2 road courses! what’s your option on this?

  2. Looks good for this week. For the road courses there are other options besides those other three. Keselowski, Hamlin, Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Bowyer, Newman, and Suarez are all good options there.

  3. early predictions on a race winner? I like the 42! This is 1 of his best tracks & has been the best running Chevy every week it seems! Do you see him finally getting the bow ties their 2nd victory of the season this week? Or someone else?

    1. Doesn’t look too promising. His best finish in his last 12 here was an 18th. The rest of those finishes were in the 20’s and 30’s. I would stay away from him this week.

  4. Jeff if u think the #4 is the driver /team to beat why do you have the #78 instead of the #4 as your A drivers?, Im guessing its because of the 9 driver usage and u are saving the #4 this week??

  5. Also whats your thoughts on the #31 and his average finish of 13th at Michigan.what driver would u drop and use for the #31 ,or the 4 drivers u have everyones average is better beside the #12 of Blaney, .thks Jeff!!!!

    1. The 31 should be okay. He has finished in the top 18 in every race with RCR. I like the 12 just because of how good he has been all year.

      1. Well looking at average finishes the #31 has been better than the #12, but going off how they have ran and finished this year the #12 looks better. Newman is always a driver that gets the best finish out of what he has.

  6. do you happen to know if they are running the restrictor plate package they ran in the all star race this week?

    1. No, like Darren said. To run this package the owners would have to approve of the change and then NASCAR would have to give the teams time to work on getting all of their cars ready which will cost a lot of money. You might see it later in the year, but I don’t really expect to see it until next year in the Cup series. They are running it in the Xfinity series in some races this year to test it out though.

    1. He was 23rd in the first practice and qualified 19th. He has not run well at all in any of the races he has run. Doubtful he will do any better this week.

  7. damn right he is the only one that can do what jeff Gordon and jimmy Johnson can do and ever will in nascar, Now what if someone built a 3 mile ?

  8. Made the mistake of too many chevys in my lineup including Larson and McMurray. They were way off what I expected.
    Looking at last few races here, starting in the top dozen or so is important.

    1. Not too worried about starting position. Practice today will be the tell tale sign where the teams are setting up in race trim. Watch the 10 lap averages in practice today and you will have a better idea of who to start on your team. Lots of grooves to pass in and a wide track and wide pit road with big pit boxes.

    1. Before I would make a choice I would wait and see if they are going to get the final practice session in. Menard was faster in the second practice, but I don’t think I would bet against Elliott who finished 2nd if 3 of his 4 starts here and 8th in the other race. I would stick with Elliott.

  9. Harvick, McMurray, Jones and Buescher

    Larson, Dillon, Kenseth and Wallace on bench.

    Your thoughts? 300 point lead so trying to save starts

  10. William Byron or Kasey Kahne. Kahne screwed me out of first last week. But willing to give him another chance if you think so. Thanks

  11. Is there a better race to use harvick before the chase? Just get to use him once. Thinking about Keselowski and saving Harvick for another track. All drivers can only be used 1 time.

  12. I have to start two out of these six drivers. Ryan Newman ,Jamie McMurray ,Paul Menard Kurt Busch ,aric almirola ,Ricky Stenhouse Jr.. which two would you start? thanks Jeff

  13. I go with McMurray because Jones never had a ten lap run in practice so we don’t know how he will be on long runs which you normally get at Michigan.

    1. 42 and 78 are a toss up, but I think Larson moves through the field pretty quickly and gets himself back in contention and he has won the last 3 here. Another toss up between the 37 and 38. The 37 was slightly better in practice where the 38 has more experience but a very poor average finish. Got to go with your gut on this one.

    1. Another toss up. Brad is starting towards the front and really wants to win at his home track. Kyle is starting quite a ways back in the field, but he was one of the fastest cars in practice and won the last 3 races here. If I had to choose I would go with Larson.

  14. We going to have a preview for sonoma ? I have good luck with your picks and havnt seen this weeks pick yet!! Gettin nervous lol !! 😂

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