The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the first of two races at the 2.0-mile, D-shaped oval. Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 will also be the second race of 2018 at a two-mile track, with the first coming at Auto Club Speedway back in March.
FireKeepers Casino 400 Live
Date: Sunday,June 10, 2018
Start Time:Sun, Jun 10,2: 00p ET (FS1)
Length: 2.000 miles
Shape: D-shaped Oval
Location: Brooklyn, Michigan
TV Channel: FOX
Michigan is a big, fast track with a wide racing surface, and while passing isn’t necessarily easy, the multiple racing grooves and a tendency for longer green flag stretches usually allow the fastest cars to get to the front.
Look at the results from Michigan’s sister track, Auto Club, earlier this year. Kevin Harvick wrecked out early while battling in the Top 5, but the rest of the top finishers were the usual suspects. Weekly frontrunners Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch took the first three spots. Meanwhile, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske placed six cars in the first eight spots, and Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing claimed six of the final seven spots in the Top 15.
Yes, two-mile ovals like Michigan have been known to produce the occasional fuel mileage finish, but stage racing has eliminated that to a degree. In other words, you need to be prepared to load up on the big names this weekend if you want to post a strong score and hold serve in season-long contests like Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game., #4 Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer, Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick[Yahoo Class A] Although he didn’t get the win at Pocono, Harvick did lead the most laps and continued to show elite speed. Expect more of the same at Michigan this weekend. Over the last 10 races here, Harvick’s seven Top 5s lead all drivers, and his 7.6 average finish is tied for the best in the series., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing Martin Truex, Jr.[Yahoo Class A]
He’s coming off a win at Pocono, and Truex also won the first race of 2018 at a two-mile oval, leading 125 laps in his victory at Auto Club. He finished sixth and second in the two races at Michigan last year, leading 50-plus laps in both events. Truex should be a Top 5 option in all formats again this weekend., #18 M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing Kyle Busch[Yahoo Class A] His record at Michigan is actually rather pedestrian by his standards, but Busch did finish in the Top 10 and lead double-digit laps in both races here last season. He’s also been one of the best drivers in 2018, and he led 62 laps and finished third at Auto Club back in March., #42 CreditOne/DC Solar, Chip Ganassi Racing Kyle Larson[Yahoo Class B] Larson has been the king of the two-mile tracks, finishing third or better in the last six races. He was the runner-up at Auto Club earlier this year, and more importantly, he will be going for his fourth win a row at Michigan this weekend. This is a great spot to use Larson in the Driver Group Game and in Fantasy Live, and he should be an excellent option across all fantasy formats., #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske Joey Logano[Yahoo Class A] He has been the model of consistency at Michigan, piling up a series-leading nine Top 10s in the last 10 races here while tying Kevin Harvick for the best average finish. Logano also has a pair of wins in that stretch, so he offers plenty of upside, as well., #2 Miller Lite/Discount Tires, Team Penske Brad Keselowski[Yahoo Class A] Keselowski rarely has a bad run at MIS, and he ranks third in driver points scored at the track over the last 10 races. He also led 105 laps here last August, and he finished fourth at Auto Club back in March of this year. He offers the safe floor and high ceiling you want in any fantasy format., #12 Menards/PPG, Team Penske Ryan Blaney[Yahoo Class B] His 18.2 average finish at Michigan leaves a lot to be desired, but Blaney has taken his performance to another level in 2018. He finished eighth at Auto Club in March, and considering Team Penske’s success at MIS, I expect him to bring another Top 10 car this weekend., #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin[Yahoo Class A] It would be great if he could be more consistent, but Hamlin’s upside makes him impossible to ignore. The two-time Michigan winner finished fourth here last June, and he ran sixth at Auto Club back in March. There’s Top 5 potential here if you are willing to roll the dice., #9 NAPA Auto Parts, Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott[Yahoo Class B] Elliott had a disappointing run at Auto Club in March, but the Chevrolet teams have shown better speed in recent weeks, and his record at Michigan speaks for itself. Elliott has three second-place finishes in four starts here to go along with a 3.5 average finish. He will be one of my four Group B drivers in the DGG this weekend., #20 DeWalt, Joe Gibbs Racing Erik Jones[Yahoo Class C]
The sample size isn’t big, but Jones showed a lot of promise at Michigan as a rookie. He finished 13th in his track debut last June, and he notched a third-place finish in the return trip. Jones finished seventh at Auto Club earlier in the year, so a Top 10 finish should be more than reasonable Sunday.
, #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing Kurt Busch[Yahoo Class B]
He owns four career wins at 2.0-mile ovals, and three of those have come at Michigan. Busch has also finished 12th or better in his last four starts at MIS. I’m not sure he has Top 5 potential this weekend, but he should be flirting with the Top 10.
, #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools, Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson[Yahoo Class A]
The seven-time champ is starting to make some strides. He has finished 12th or better in six of the last seven races this season, and he has three finishes of sixth or better in that span. Johnson still isn’t playable in the Driver Group Game, but he deserves to be on your radar in Fantasy Live at this point.Subcribe Now