Pure Michigan 400 Fantasy NASCAR Preview and Picks

Pure Michigan 400 Fantasy NASCAR Preview and PicksA= Really, Really Good Pick

Kyle Busch – Busch finished third earlier this season at Michigan Speedway. His driver rating was the second highest (124.3) and he led the second most laps (59). Another thing I really like about Busch is how strong he performed at Auto Club Speedway in March. In that race he led 151 laps, had an average running position of 2nd, and had the best driver rating by far (143.4). (Yahoo A Driver)

Carl Edwards – Edwards will be tough to beat in the Pure Michigan 400 especially now that his contract distraction is out of the way. Edwards has always been successful at Michigan and only once in fourteen races has he finished lower than 12th. Edwards has two wins at Michigan and earlier this season he finished 5th. His average finish here is 6.2 (best in series). (Yahoo A Driver)

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth is a two time winner at Michigan and earlier this season he finished second. He was very impressive and had the highest driver rating (130.1). His average running position was 4th and he led 17 laps. Michigan is a Roush track and he’s one my favorite heading into the weekend. (Yahoo A Driver)

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A- = Really Good Pick

Jeff Gordon – Gordon finished 17th earlier in the year but I wouldn’t be worried about picking him. Since Kansas it’s his only finish worse than 11th. Because of that I consider it an irregularity and not something that should be to concerning. In the last couple of years he’s had lots of success at 2.0 mile tracks. (Yahoo A Driver)

Kevin Harvick – Harvick is the defending champion of the August race at Michigan. Last year he held off Denny Hamlin and avoided a Toyota sweep at GM’s home track. Harvick is as good as they come on tracks where the high line around the track comes into play. You also can’t discount the fact that RCR cars get good horsepower and good fuel mileage when needed. In March Harvick won at Michigan’s sister track (Auto Club) and out dueled Jimmie Johnson for the win. (Yahoo A Driver)

Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie Johnson’s really good at Michigan but his results don’t show it. In 2009 he absolutely dominated both races but came home with finishes of 33rd and 22nd. Michigan is one of only a handful of tracks on the schedule that Jimmie Johnson has not won on. Earlier this season Jimmie Johnson finished 27th. He struggled all race long and had trouble right at the start. At Michigan’s sister track (Auto Club Speedway) Johnson finished second to in state rival Kevin Harvick. (Yahoo A Driver)

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has won 2 out of the last three races at Michigan but he’s been a disappointing driver as of late. Since he won at Michigan in June he’s only finished in the top ten once. If his momentum was better than I would slip him into my A ranking. It is noteworthy though that in the last four intermediate track races (Kentucky, Michigan, Kansas and Charlotte) if you were to use FantasyRacingCheatsheet.com’s momentum tool you would discover that he’s accumulated the most points and has the best average finish. (Yahoo A Driver)

Kurt Busch – Busch has had a hero or zero element to him at MIS for the last little bit. In the last three June races his average finish is 7.3. In the last three August races his average finish is 37.3 with his best finish being 36th. At intermediate tracks this year he’s been nearly as good as they get. (Yahoo A Driver)

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B+ = Good Pick

Brad Keselowski – Brad has been bad at his home track. His 27.5 average finish is concerning because it’s accurate. All of his finishes have come in the 24th through 34th range. When Brad injured himself at testing I’m guessing he had a bionic leg installed. Both of Denny Hamlin’s best seasons have come when he raced with significant injury so I’m guessing Brad visited the same doctor. Look for Brad to be strong no matter what statistics will tell you. (Yahoo B Driver)

Tony Stewart – I like Stewart for about an eighth place finish at Michigan. In his last three starts at MIS he’s finish 5th, 6th and 7th. How could an 8th place finish not be next? Another big plus about Tony Stewart is that he was very stout at Auto Club in March. He finished 13th but his average running position was 5th and he ran the entire race in the top fifteen. (Yahoo A Driver)

Ryan Newman – Newman finished a surprising sixth earlier this season. I know that surprised me. That was his first top ten at this 2.0 mile track since he won in 2004. At Auto Club Speedway this season he finished 5th so perhaps another good performance isn’t out of the question. (Yahoo B Driver)

Joey Logano – Before the June race Logano had three straight top tens at Michigan. In the race earlier this season he was a flat out 20th place car. He finished 18th, had an average running position of 21st and a mid race average running position of 22nd. I believe he’ll be better this time around. (Yahoo B Driver)

B = Just A Tier Below The Good Picks

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Picks

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. – One of Michigan’s main selling points this race is that Junior won here (2007). The last time he visited Michigan he surprisingly struggled (finished 21st) just two weeks after finishing second at Kansas. As a whole though Hendrick Motorsports struggled in June. Earnhardt has eight top tens at Michigan. (Yahoo B Driver)

Paul Menard – The Brickyard 400 winner finished 4th earlier this season at Michigan. I don’t see him finishing that good again but I think finishing somewhere around 15th is about right. His average finish on high speed intermediate tracks excluding (Dover and Darlington) this season is 16th and his average running position is 14th. (Yahoo C Driver)

Kasey Kahne – Kahne is a former MIS winner who’s come close to winning at this track multiple times (three second place finishes). Earlier this year Kahne finished 28th but he ran much better than that. Here’s his Yahoo! race chart for the race. That’s what a Yahoo! race chart looks like when a driver runs out of gas. This is a Kasey Kahne track so look for a good result out of the #4 Red Bull Toyota. (Yahoo B Driver)

Greg Biffle – Biffle’s a two time winner at MIS who finished a disappointing 15th earlier in the season. In four out of the last five previous races here he finished in the top ten. Look for a stronger performance out of the 16 team Sunday. If this team is going to make the Chase he MUST win the Pure Michigan 400. (Yahoo A Driver)

Brian Vickers – If you’re in an allocation league don’t overlook Vickers at Michigan. He’s a former winner and he has six straight top ten’s. He’s also a good qualifier who in his last four attempts has started 1st, 1st, 1st and 4th. Vickers is very good at 2.0 mile ovals. At Auto Club Speedway he’s finished in the top twelve in 7 out of the last 8 races. (Yahoo B Driver)

Martin Truex Jr. – Truex has had some success at MIS. His success includes two second place finishes and an eighth place finish last August. Typically though you can expect a mid to high teens finish out of him at Michigan. (Yahoo B Driver)

Clint Bowyer – Since racing here in June and finishing 8th things have gone down hill for Bowyer and I have a hard time liking him. There’s reasons to like him though. At Auto Club Speedway he finished 7th, and at Texas he finished second. Momentum does count though and certainly doesn’t have it. (Yahoo B Driver)

David Ragan – Ragan needs a top five at MIS to really put him back into serious Chase contention. Will he be able to do it? Personally I don’t think he seems like a driver who’s capable of thriving under pressure. Ragan’s last top ten at Michigan was back in 2008. In June he finished 20th. (Yahoo C Driver)

B- = You Can Pencil Them In For Around 20th

AJ Allmendinger – In his Ford Fusion RPM car he’s consistently been about a 11th through 20th place car on intermediate tracks this season. In June he finished 13th here and at Auto Club Speedway he finished 14th. His best finish ever at MIS is 11th. (Yahoo B Driver)

Marcos Ambrose – Ambrose has never had any level of success at Michigan. In fact he’s never finished better than 15th in six races. Earlier this year he finished 23rd. He started off the year good on intermediates but in the last three races at this track type he’s finished 26th, 23rd, and 20th. (Yahoo B Driver)

Jeff Burton – With his new crew chief at least there’s hope now the ship will get turned around. Burton has really struggled at getting top tens at Michigan so why in the world should he get his second (got a top ten at Watkins Glen) of the season in the Pure Michigan 400. Since 2004 Burton only has one top ten at Michigan. In his last two races at MIS he’s finished 24th. (Yahoo B Driver)

C+ = Got Some Question Marks Here

David Reutimann – At Watkins Glen the only thing he hurt was his pride. At Michigan Reutimann only has one top ten in nine races. That’s not great but there’s room for optimism this week. He ran strong at Kentucky (finished second) and at Michigan in June he qualified second (bonus points in some formats). (Yahoo B Driver)

Juan Pablo Montoya – Picking Montoya this week is just to risky for me. In more than half his starts here the 42 team has looked lost. Last fall he finished 7th but earlier this year he finished 28th. If you check out his Yahoo! race chart you’ll notice he never ran higher than 23rd. (Yahoo B Driver)

C+ = Not Gonna Pick Him

Mark Martin – This season has been rough for Martin but Michigan is a bright spot. For him a 9th place finish for him is pretty good. Loop data wise this was his 5th best performance this year. Martin has five wins at Michigan and his most recent was in 2009. There’s a big difference though between how he’s performing now and how he performed in 2009. (Yahoo B Driver)

Jamie McMurray – Jmac hasn’t had any success at MIS in his return to Earnhardt-Ganassi. In his three races here he’s come home with finishes of 24th, 20th and 19th. On other high speed intermediate tracks this season he’s usually been worse than 20th. (Yahoo B Driver)

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