Carfax 400 Preview and Pick to Win

Race: Carfax 400
Date: Sunday August 15th, 2010
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Channel: ESPN
by Virginia Vroom, Professional NASCAR Handicapper,

Juan Pablo proved he still is a contender here in the NASCAR world, even if it’s another win on a road course. As illusive as that oval track win has been for this team, Juan can’t help but get excited over this win at Watkins Glen. He dominated the day and managed to stay out of trouble during a race that was nothing short of some crazy driving.

This weekend, we are headed to the big and fast track in Michigan! This 2-mile D-shaped oval has a 3600 foot frontstretch and a 2242 foot backstretch. The turns are 18 degrees with 12 degrees on the front and 5 degrees on the backstretch. With such a long frontstretch, these guys are getting up to speeds near 200 mph. It’s definitely a fast track where you want to keep your composure because wrecks here at these speeds hurt!


One of the biggest concerns at Michigan is the tires. Tire wear proves to be a concern because of the long green flags and the shear speed that these guys get to. Brakes are hard to maintain here too because of the speed going into the corners. These guys are on the brakes hot and heavy into that first turn coming down the frontstretch. The cars definitely get used here.

A consistent pattern we see at Michigan is the strength of the Roush team, including drivers like Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. Although they have not performed as consistently as they may have liked to this year, Michigan is always a place where they can come and make up some ground and end up with a strong finish.

I also think that we are going to see some strong runs from the typical speed guys including Kyle Busch and again Juan Pablo, but big brother Kurt Busch is the one to watch in my opinion. Kurt has been consistently strong over the last few weeks and was coming on strong last weekend at the road course. If he can stay out of trouble, I’d dare to say that Kurt Busch will be in victory lane in Michigan. If you saw part of his press conference, you’d know he’s here to win races, not to be the playboy of sports magazines. In reference to the Hendrick drivers, Kurt threw a jab saying he’s more focused on racing than the media, which may be taking its toll on Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson if you take Kurt’s word for it.

Here’s a recap of your current top 12 in the points after Watkins Glen:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Jeff Burton
4. Kurt Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kyle Busch
8. Tony Stewart
9. Carl Edwards
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Greg Biffle
12. Mark Martin

Mark Martin snuck his way into the 12th spot after Bowyer had troubles at the Glen. Bowyer, though, is only 10 points out of that 12th spot. These guys have to hurry up, though, because there are only 4 races left until those points are locked in for the Chase contenders.

Virginia’s Pick to Win: Kurt Busch

Stay tuned this weekend for some serious speed as we head to Michigan!