Race: FireKeepers Casino 400 Predictions to Win
Date: Sunday June 12, 2016
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Time: 1pm EST
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Imagine that! Pocono was rained out! The drivers were forced to take the track Monday morning in order to get a rain-free race, unlike the rest of the weekend at the Tricky Triangle. As predicted, though, it turned into a fuel mileage race in the closing 32 laps. Kurt Busch ended up passing Jr. to take the lead and take the win. Ironically, Busch is one of the teams suffering penalties after the Charlotte race. His crew chief, Tony Gibson, was actually not on the box this weekend due to suspension. Apparently, it didn’t hurt him too much. This weekend, Gibson comes back, so we’ll see how that affects his momentum heading into Michigan.
The rest of the field had a pretty interesting day. Rookie Chase Elliot led a race-high 51 laps and ended up finishing fourth. Brad Keselowski managed to get through 2 penalties, one of which was extremely questionable, to make a third place finish. That shouldn’t be a surprise really, as the Penske guys always have the horsepower to get around these fast tracks. Teammate Joey Logano finished a respectable fifth place after getting into it with Ryan Newman, who caused damage to Logano’s left rear.
This weekend, the drivers head to Michigan International Speedway for the running of the FireKeepers Casino 400. This speedway has been around since the late 1960s and is a pretty cookie-cutter intermediate track. It’s a 2-mile D-shaped oval with 18 degrees of banking in the turns, 12 degrees at the start/finish and a mild 5 degrees on the backstretch. The trick to winning at this track is driving on the high side and carrying the momentum out of corners in order to keep that speed. The straights are long here, and that momentum out of the corners creates more speed for the drivers.
There are several drivers with a nice winning record here, including Monday’s winner, Kurt Busch. The problem I have with picking Busch is that he has only 2 top 10 finishes here in his last 11 starts. That’s not a good record. It seems like he’s either really good or really bad. Consistency hasn’t been his friend this year, so although he’s coming off a win at Pocono and has 3 wins at Michigan, he most likely won’t be in victory lane come this weekend. One of the better choices is going to be a tossup between either Kevin Harvick or Matt Kenseth. Kenseth is going to be my guy this week. He won this race in the Fall and has been doing relatively well this year. This will likely be his second victory this year. Harvick is going to be on his fender, though. With 5 second place finishes in the last 6 races, Harvick sure is good at getting that first loser spot. He’ll try his best to get the win, but I believe Kenseth will have the edge. Here’s a look at your rundown of potential winners this weekend heading into Michigan:
My Pick to Win: Matt Kenseth
Middle of the Road Pick: Greg Biffle
Dark Horse Prediction: Chase Elliot. Having a wager on the race makes for a REALLY fun time! You can bet on NASCAR races using your credit card and you also get 50% extra added to your 1st deposit at one of the web’s oldest, most trusted and BEST sportsbooks: Bovada!
Chase Elliot because, well, duh. He led 51 laps at Pocono and is edging closer and closer to a win. He’s got all of the tools to make it happen, and Michigan is a solid track for him to try everything out. Now, if Roush drivers are supposedly improving, this is going to be the track to show that off. Greg Biffle has an awesome record here. He doesn’t have an awesome record recently. Anywhere. At all. But Biffle could help grab the Roush team some much needed success. He has 4 wins at this track and will surely be running in the top 10, if not better, if the Roush team has managed to do anything to improve their game. They need a lot of help if they’re planning on getting any of their cars into the Chase this year. Let’s see how the points are shaping up after Pocono:
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kurt Busch
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Carl Edwards
5. Kyle Busch
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Chase Elliot
8. Joey Logano
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Austin Dillon
14. Jamie McMurray
15. Ryan Blaney
16. Ryan Newman
The biggest loser of the week was Jimmie Johnson, who fell 3 spots due to an accident. Lucky for him, he’s got a couple of wins this season, ultimately securing his position in the Chase. Truex had a rough finish just inside the top 20 and fell a couple of position. There are still several drivers looking for a single win. Matt Kenseth is one of those guys. I really think that they are going to get the win this weekend. That team has something figured out here that a lot of drives don’t. It’s a track similar to Texas and California, where he’s also got success. The drive off the corners is everything here, I’m telling ya! Look for practice and qualifying to be a good indicator of where these guys are going to finish. Speed trumps all here, so those speeds before the race are going to mean a lot. Stay tuned for a great afternoon of not-rained-out racing at Michigan International Speedway! Another great place to bet your weekly NASCAR picks is 5Dimes. They offer a ton of props on raceday as well as driver vs. driver matchups which are MUCH easier to win than trying to pick the outright winner! They pay fast too!