MARTIN TRUEX JR. has failed inspection three times and will drop to the rear on the pace laps but still be scored as starting P15. He is riskier for CASH but you can hold pat in GPPs.
The fastest track in all of NASCAR comes beckoning this Sunday for the second time this Cup schedule. In the lush greenery of the Irish Hills is nested a 2-mile racetrack that uses its shape and banking to allow for the highest speeds which routinely top 200 mph entering Turn 1. The track known as Michigan International Speedway is seeing the Cup cars for the second time, with the last race coming in June. If you would like a full breakdown of the track and the stats for the drivers here, check out the Track Breakdown and the Practice Notes always have good tidbits in them for this week’s field as well. There is also a podcast talking strategy for the race and a lot of the drivers throughout the salary ranges too.
One quick strategy note is that laps led will be important, but mostly on DK as they get more points, but position differential will be king this week given how qualifying and post-qualifying penalties played out.
Points by Position on Average in August
*These points averages are based on points scored over the last five August races at Michigan. They are a tool but not a hard and fast rule in all cases.
Prop Bet Challenge
We’re on a nice little run with this Props Challenge. I nailed all ten props last week at Watkins Glen and over the last three races combined I’ve gotten 25 out of 30 correct. Lets keep it rolling this week at Michigan!
- Will the polesitter lead O/U 35.5 laps in Stage 1? I’ve got a good feeling about Brad Keselowski this week, but then again I also thought he’d win at Daytona a month ago so we’ll see how that goes. But it’s his home track and I think he’s got a great chance to make some noise. Joey Logano flat out dominated this race on the pole back in June so Keselowski could just as easily do that on Sunday. But I’m going to go contrarian here and actually take the UNDER because I have a feeling Kevin Harvick could jump to the front early on.
- A Toyota driver wins either Stage 1 or 2? So the Toyota drivers in contention to actually win a stage would be Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones (on his home track), or Matt DiBenedetto. I’m going to say YES because it would shock me if a Joe Gibbs Racing driver didn’t win a stage. It’ll likely come in Stage 2. Stage 1 could go to Team Penske.
- O/U 5.5 drivers will score stage points in both Stages 1 and 2? This is tricky, but I’ll take the UNDER. Everyone’s looking for playoff points any way they can get them at this point so I’m looking at a few long shots to get in the mix for stage points as well.
- The Stage 2 winner will lead O/U 25.5 laps in that stage? Again I’m taking the under and it really depends how everything shakes up during pit stops. And even after Logano’s dominant performance in June I hope I’m not going to contrarian, but I’ll be conservative with this prop.
- The leader at the halfway mark, lap 100, will be a Chevrolet driver? I’m going to say NO, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. The Chevy drivers in contention are Chase Elliott (fresh off last week’s win at Watkins Glen), Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon, and Daniel Hemric. There are some good names there, but I’ll take the field with all the Fords in the mix as well as Joe Gibbs Racing. To be honest I think a JGR driver wins stage two, but they’ll all have work to do in order to move up.
- O/U 4.5 Chevrolet and Toyota drivers finish in the top ten on Sunday? This one I’ll take the OVER on. You can pick a few drivers listed in the previous prop as well as the JGR drivers and Matt DiBenedetto who has logged a few top ten’s in his last few races. So Elliott, Bowman, the Busch brothers, Larson, Byron, Johnson, Hamlin, MTJ, Jones, and Matty D are all capable of finishing in the top ten.
- Which Team Penske driver scores more points? Joey Logano or Ryan Blaney? Both drivers are starting in Row 4 and while I might be sleeping a bit on Blaney, I’m going to say JOEY LOGANO scores more points based on his track history here. Blaney has had better results as of late and Logano’s car didn’t possess the greatest speed on Saturday, but we’ll go with the guy who dominated this track just two months ago.
- Will the race winner hold the lead for the final ten laps? I truly hate this prop as it’s the prototypical “anything can happen” kind of prop. A wreck or any sort of caution could really throw a monkey wrench in this one so it’s tough to gauge. I’ll say YES and move on…
- Which Joe Gibbs Racing driver will finish higher? Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr.? MTJ has produced better results over his last couple races and finished as the runner-up for the second straight year at Watkins Glen to Chase Elliott. He’s hungry for another win and I’ll take MARTIN TRUEX JR. to finish over Kyle Busch on Sunday. UPDATE: With the recent news that MTJ is starting at the back of the field while being credited with starting 15th, I'll change the pick to KYLE BUSCH.
- Will a Ford win at Michigan? I’m going to say YES. If I had to pick five guys to win today it would be either Harvick, Keselowski, Logano, Hamlin, or Truex and three of those guys are in Fords so I’ll say yes and hope it’s one of the Penske drivers.