Fantasy NASCAR Picks for FireKeepers 400 at Michigan

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Brooklyn, Michigan this week for the FireKeepers 400. The race can be seen Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Be sure to test your fantasy NASCAR skills in the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game.

Michigan is one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. It was repaved in 2012 and the track now has plenty of grip for drivers to move around on. Drivers will run wide open around the wide 2-mile track and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson are the best at running up against the fence. Running at the top will be the best place to make passes Sunday.

This should be a fun race to watch. NASCAR decided to make another rule change to the cars this week at Michigan and the upcoming race at Kentucky. The changes include a reduction in spoiler height from 3.5 inches to 2.5 inches, a splitter reduction of two inches and re-sizing the rear deck fin. Even with these changes, I still expect the cream to rise to the top this week.

The drivers who have been running well in the last month should be up front in the FireKeepers 400. NASCAR is a momentum sport and fantasy teams need to capitalize on the drivers running well now before they cool off later in the summer. There are seven drivers who have averaged a top-10 finish over the last five races (Not including Talladega). These drivers would all be excellent picks for fantasy teams at Michigan. Here are the seven drivers with a top-10 average finishing position in the last five downforce races…

Driver’s Average Finishing Position Last Five Downforce Races

Driver

Richmond Kansas Dover Charlotte Pocono Average

Kurt Busch

10 3 5 6 1 5

Matt Kenseth

7 4 1 7 7 5.2

Kevin Harvick

5 2 15 2 9

6.6

Brad Keselowski 11 10 6 5 3

7

Chase Elliott 12 9 3 8 4

7.2

Martin  Truex Jr. 9 14 9 1 19

10.4

Kasey Kahne 4 16 4 22 6

10.4

 

Visit my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page to see the complete list of driver’s average finishing position and average running position in the last five races.

Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. had the two best cars at Michigan in 2015. Both drivers finished the two races at the track in the top five. Kenseth and Truex are currently running as well as any of the drivers in the sport and they should be two of the favorites to finish up front this week.

Here are the results from the two races at Michigan International Speedway in 2015:

2015 Quicken Loans 400 Results

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Joey Logano

 

2015 Pure Michigan 400 Results

  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Denny Hamlin

I preached patience earlier in the season. The Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game is a marathon and not a sprint. After a 350 point performance at Dover, 352 points at Charlotte and 321 at Pocono, my fantasy picks are starting to heat up as we enter the summer session of the game.

All of the drivers in Group A have had success at Michigan and there are five drivers to consider for your team. Kevin Harvick has dominated the race at the track since it was repaved. He should be on every team this week. The question is who to pair with Harvick this week?

The two drivers from Team Penske will have the best chance to score bonus points for winning the pole. Brad Keselowski is looking for his first win at his home track and Joey Logano has the best stats at the track in the last four races. Kurt Busch has been the most consistent driver in the sport the last month and he should also compete for the pole. Matt Kenseth dominated the last race at Michigan and the No. 20 car should be the best from the Joe Gibbs Racing stable Sunday.

Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. will be the two best drivers in Group B this week. Edwards runs the best when downforce is taken from the cars and Truex dominated the last two races on an intermediate tracks at Kansas and Charlotte. Fantasy teams need to remember to try and save allocations with these drivers for the Chase when then races are important again for these drivers.

There are five drivers who could be considered this week instead of Edwards and Truex. Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne have been running well the last month and both drivers know how to get around the track at Michigan. Austin Dillon had one of his best races of his career last year at the track. He started fourth and finished fourth. Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have not been competing for wins, but they have been racking up top 15 finishes.

Fantasy teams will be able to save a start with Chase Elliott this week by using Ty Dillon. Elliott is by far the best driver in this group and it is easy to want to use him for every race. The reality is that fantasy teams are only allowed nine allocations with the No. 24 team so you need to use other drivers when available. Dillon proved at Pocono that he can compete in the No. 95 car.

 

Yahoo Group A Picks

Kevin Harvick (7)

Harvick has been the best driver at Michigan since the track was repaved in 2012. He finished five of the six races in second-place. He actually had the best car in the only race where he did not finish in the runner-up position, but he had problems with a tire in the pits. Harvick also finished in second-place in the last two intermediate track races at Kansas and Charlotte. All signs point to Harvick finishing second this week, but I expect the No. 4 car to be in Victory Lane at Michigan.

Kurt Busch (7)

Busch will have momentum heading into the race at Michigan after his win at Pocono, but he really does not need any extra momentum. Busch has been the most consistent driver in the sport the last two months. He has finished eight consecutive races in the top 10, including four straight top-five finishes. Busch won this race last year and he should be upfront Sunday.

Other good choices: Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

Yahoo Group B Picks

Kyle Larson (5)

Larson has been running well the last month and he knows the fast way around the track at Michigan. Larson has finished the last three races in the top 13 and won the Sprint Showdown race and the Xfinity race last week at Pocono. The No. 42 will be running against the wall and should pass many cars in the race this week.

Austin Dillon (5)

Dillon has run well this season on the intermediate tracks. He finished 11th at Atlanta, fifth at Las Vegas, sixth at Kansas and 12th at Charlotte. I expect similar results from the No. 3 team this week. His best ever finish at an intermediate track came at Michigan last year. Dillon should easily finish in the top 15 Sunday.

Kasey Kahne (9)

Kahne is often overshadowed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, but he is starting to run like the other drivers from the organization. Kahne has finished three of the last five races (not including Talladega) in the top six. He has won before at Michigan and Kahne should get his sixth finish in the top-10 Sunday.

Tony Stewart (9)

I would love to use Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. for this race, but I am trying to save them for the Chase. I am going to take a gamble with Stewart this week. Last week he qualified in the top 10 and was running well in most of the race. Stewart-Haas Racing is gaining momentum and Smoke should benefit from his teammates success. Taking away downforce from the cars should really help the No. 14 team. No driver loves a hot, slick track where the cars slide around more than Stewart.

Other good choices: Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray

 

Yahoo Group C Picks

Ty Dillon (8)

Dillon will once again be in the No. 95 car for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. Last week Dillon was able to finish 21st and he has had success at Michigan in the past. Dillon qualified 22nd and finished 14th in this race last year. It would be wise to use Dillon this week and save Chase Elliott and Blaney for other tracks.

Ryan Blaney (6)

I had to choose between Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney for the last Group C driver. I plan on using Ty Dillon in the race to save a start with Elliott and Blaney, so this pick came down to who qualifies better. Blaney has a better average starting position then Elliott this season and his Team Penske alliance should help him start up front at Michigan. For that reason, Blaney is my second choice in Group C.

Other Good Choices: Chase Elliott and David Ragan

 

*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

 

If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR

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