1) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 4th)
Michigan Fantasy Spin – Kevin Harvick is a phenomenal performer at Michigan who’ll finish in the top five and compete for the win. Over the last ten Michigan races he has 5 runner-up results and 7 top fives. On Sunday there’s no reason to think why he won’t have a stellar performance. He’s starting up front (4th) and in Practice #2 he had the best ten lap average. One attribute I love about Kevin Harvick is how strong he’s been at high-speed intermediate tracks this year. In 2018 on this track type minus Auto Club and Charlotte (top five competitor in both races but crashed) he’s won 3 of the 4 events and has finished in the top two every race.
Michigan Track History – Michigan has been a great track for Kevin Harvick. He’s a former winner and as you read above over the last ten races he has 5 runner-up results and 7 top fives. Last August he was a top five contender but finished a misleading 13th after using inferior pit strategy in the final third of the race. Prior to pit strategy becoming a huge factor in the outcome he finished 2nd in Stage #1 and 3rd in Stage #2. Additionally, he earned the 4th best driver rating and had a 7th place average running position. Last spring he finished 14th, had an 11th place average running position and earned the 9th best driver rating. With about 10 laps to go while he was running around 8th he got some minor damage in a multi-car wreck so his result is slightly misleading. In 2016 Harvick had a pair of 5th place results. In summer 2016 he was a consistent front runner. In addition to finishing 5th he earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led 33 laps. In spring 2016 in the first Michigan race with the lowest down force package he finished 5th. In five of the six Michigan races prior to that he finished in the top five.
DraftKings $12,000 / FanDuel $12,500
2) Kyle Busch (Starting – In the rear but will be scored from 3rd. I still think he’ll compete for a top five)
Michigan Fantasy Spin – Michigan hasn’t been a friendly track for Kyle Busch, but he should be on your short list of favorites. In 5 of the last 9 Michigan races he’s finished 31st or worse. Last year he had a good season. He swept the top ten and would’ve won in the spring if there wasn’t a late caution. The main attribute I like about Kyle Busch this weekend is how strong he’s been at high-speed intermediate tracks. In 2018 on this track type he has 2 wins, the best average finish (4.0), the best average running position and is the only driver who’s finished in the top ten every race. In practice #2 Kyle Busch said his car was good and driveable. He was also fast on the stop watch with his ten lap average ranking as the 2nd best.
Michigan Track History – Kyle Busch is a former Michigan winner, but it’s one of those tracks that has his number. It’s home to his worst top five finish percentage (15%) and 2nd worst top ten finish percentage (31%). He runs well here, but often times trouble isn’t far. Last August he had a solid showing and finished 10th. He finished 7th in Stage #1, 9th in Stage #2, had a 9th place average running position and earned the 7th best driver rating. In that race he had to overcame a self-inflicted mistake when he pitted when pit road was closed. Last spring I would argue he had the best car and if there weren’t late cautions he would’ve won. When the checkered flag waved he finished 7th, had a 3rd place average running position, earned the 3rd best driver rating and led 40 laps. In August 2016 he spun early which dropped him a lap down and went on to finish 19th. That race had few cautions so he wasn’t able to bounce back. In spring 2016 I thought he had top ten potential but his engine blew up on lap 53 which led to his 40th place finish.
DraftKings $11,600 / FanDuel $11,600
3) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 17th)
Michigan Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. should be on your short list of favorites at Michigan despite his 17th place starting position. Last summer he also started in the teens and if there wasn’t a late caution he would’ve won. In recent races at two-mile ovals Truex has arguably been the best performer, despite Kyle Larson winning almost all the races. Since 2017 at two-mile ovals Truex has the best driver rating, the best average running position (3.8), has led the most laps (317) and has the 2nd best average finish (3.3). Earlier this year at Auto Club Speedway, a similar 2.0 mile he put on a display of domination. He finished 1st, won the first two Stages, led 125 laps and had a 11.7 second margin of victory. One attribute you have to love about Truex Jr. is his momentum. He won last week and currently has four straight top 4 finishes. On Sunday look for Truex Jr. to be a serious contender to win.
Michigan Track History – Kyle Larson won both Michigan races last year, but Truex Jr. was arguably the best performer. Last August Truex Jr. had the race won but during the Green-White-Checker restart Kyle Larson shot from 4th to the lead. If that late caution didn’t come out Truex Jr. had the win wrapped up. When the checkered flag waved he finished 2nd, earned the best driver rating and led 57 laps. Additionally, he finished 4th in Stage #1 and won Stage #2. Last spring, Truex Jr. had a strong showing. He won Stage #1 and Stage #2. When the checkered flag waved he finished 6th, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position, led 62 laps and ran the most fastest laps (50). In August 2016 he had a good car but finished a misleading 20th after having some major problems on pit road that damaged his car. In spring 2016 he was fast but finished a misleading 12th. Performance wise he likely had one of the best cars but his race wasn’t incident free. On lap 46 while he was running in 2nd, racing side by side with Bowyer he spun. In 2015 he finished 3rd both races.
DraftKings $10,700 / FanDuel $12,000