Kyle Larson – Kyle Larson should be your default Yahoo C List driver this week. He has strong fantasy NASCAR potential at Michigan in the Quicken Loans 400 and he’s more than capable of running with the Top Tier Elite Picks. He’s a driver who knows how to find the fast groove on a racing surface and at Michigan it’s up top. When it comes to running that line he’s as good as anyone. Last season in the lower series at Michigan Larson finished 2nd. This season on high-speed intermediate tracks he’s been a strong performer. In the five races on this track type he has an 11.2 average finish and has scored the 8th most points. His best finish of the season came at Auto Club Speedway. At that big 2.0 mile oval he finished 2nd hot on race winner Kyle Busch’s heels. Look for Kyle Larson to perform well in the Michigan Quicken Loans 400.
Austin Dillon – Last season Austin Dillon raced in 11 Sprint Cup races and his two best results of the year were both at Michigan. In August he piloted the #14 car for Tony Stewart and finished 14th. His 14th place finish didn’t come easy. On lap 13 him and JJ Yeley spun. Dillon sustained no damage but it did drop him one lap down. His race was anything but pretty because his average running position was 26th and he earned the 19th best driver rating. In spring 2013 he performed better. In that event he drove the #33 car which was RCR prepared. In that race he qualified 7th, finished 11th and earned the 15th best driver rating. In June 2012 Dillon made his first Michigan Sprint Cup start and finished 24th. This season on high-speed intermediate tracks Dillon hasn’t performed great. On this track type he has a 16.6 average finish and an 18th place average running position. His best finish on this track type this season to no surprise came at Auto Club Speedway which is Michigan’s sister track. In that event he finished 11th.
Juan Pablo Montoya – Juan Pablo Montoya will be returning to NASCAR competition at Michigan. He’ll be driving the #12 car from the Penske Racing stable. This race is being used as a tune-up race for Indy in August so this team will be bringing their A game. Montoya has been racing Indy cars this season but I think he’s still very familiar driving a stock car. In the open wheel series he’s been penalized for rough driving and speeding on pit road so in a way it’s like he never left. At Michigan Juan Pablo Montoya has a 21.2 average finish. Last August when Montoya raced here he finished 11th. Last season at Michigan Penske cars were good. Logano swept the top ten and won in August and Keselowski performed better then he finished in both races.
Danica Patrick – Danica Patrick could surprise people at Michigan in the Quicken Loans 400. Heading into the event I think her fantasy value is much higher than usual. What I like about her this week is her strong performance at Kansas. Both tracks have relatively new surfaces and I consider Kansas to be a mini-Michigan. At Kansas this spring she had the best race of her career. In that race she finished 7th, had a 7th place average running position and earned the 10th best driver rating. Last year at Michigan Danica Patrick had some of her better performances of the season. In June 2013 she finished 13th and earned the 21st best driver rating. Last August she finished 23rd.
Trevor Bayne – Trevor Bayne tested at Michigan earlier this year but after his test Goodyear changed the tires that will be raced. That minimizes the test session to a degree. At Michigan Trevor Bayne is not an unknown driver. He’s participated in the last six Michigan races. At Michigan minus a 2012 engine failure he has a 20th place average finish and has had a result between 15th and 24th every race. This season on high-speed intermediate tracks Bayne has results of 19th, 20th and 20th.