Race: Pure Michigan 400 Predictions to Win the Race
Date: Sunday August 16, 2015
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Time: 2:30 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Watkins Glen ended the weekend as a fuel mileage race and a win for Joey Logano. Much like the previous weekend, drivers battled it out and gambled on fuel strategy to make it to the end. Logano was the luckiest of them all and made it to victory lane, earning team Penske its first Sprint Cup win in NASCAR. He also swept the weekend by winning the Xfinity race on Saturday after coming back from a penalty. It seems like Penske is really stepping up to the plate and becoming competitive across the board on all different tracks in the Sprint Cup series. It’s nice to see drivers and teams who are able to really stay up front on various styles of tracks that require totally different skill sets.
On that note, we are headed back to a relatively typical track for these guys. This weekend, the teams head off to Michigan. Much like the previous 2 weeks, Michigan tends to become a fuel mileage race for some reason. It’s a track where tires and pit strategy are important, but not quite as much as getting every drop out of the tank to make it to the end. It will be interesting to see if rain shortens this race like it did in the spring when Kurt Busch won. If it does, that definitely changes the nature of the race. I’m hoping for clear skies and green flags throughout the race so that the drivers trying to make it in on points alone have a good shot at racing it out instead of losing out to bad luck.
This track is a 2 mile D-shaped oval. It’s really a very true intermediate track with 18 degree banking through the turns and 12 degrees through the frontstretch. The backstretch is minimal with 5 degrees of banking, but still enough to consider the potential for tire wear with the variation throughout the whole track. In my opinion, I think that this particularly track is very similar to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. We can get a good idea of the likely front runners by looking at the stats from that track. Another interesting point about Michigan is that although it is a typical intermediate track, it is actually one of the fastest tracks on the circuits due to the size of the track. It’s extremely wide, allowing drivers to maintain significant speed going into and out of the corners. Momentum is easily kept and the downforce is well-matched to keep the cars on the track but still very fast.
Coming into this race gives us an interesting dynamic. There are several drivers are excellent on this type of track. Of course, the most notable being last week’s winner. Logano holds the qualifying record for both the Xfinity and the Camping World Truck series. The Penske cars have substantial horsepower, which is coveted at a place like this. Another popular pick will be Jimmie Johnson for having 4 wins on these types of tracks this year. I don’t know that I see him winning this weekend, though, based on his most recent performances. He will undoubtedly be competitive, but he will have quite a time trying to steal the win. Of course, we have to watch Kyle Busch because, well, he’s Kyle Busch. Kevin Harvick will be up there as will Dale Earnhardt Jr. Let’s take a look at all of the potential winners this weekend at Michigan:
My Pick to Win: Joey Logano
Middle of the Road Pick: Clint Bowyer
Dark Horse Prediction: Ryan Blaney
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Our choices are limited in the Dark Horse category this weekend, but Blaney should have some strong equipment from the Wood Brothers. He will likely run and come in with a solid finish for that team. Bowyer drove through the field from a pretty bad starting position back in June. He ended the day with a top 10 finish. I’d look for him to improve on that this time around, especially since he’s looking to make the Chase on points. Finally, Logano is a solid pick. With Penske power under the hood and the skills that he’s shown on downforce tracks, his momentum from The Glen will carry him through to the win this weekend. Let’s see how his win helped him in the standings.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Joey Logano
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Kurt Busch
9. Jamie McMurray
10. Denny Hamlin
11. Paul Menard
12. Jeff Gordon
13. Ryan Newman
14. Clint Bowyer
15. Carl Edwards
16. Aric Almirola
Eleventh through fourteenth positions are only separated by 10 points. That’s how close those guys are in getting into the Chase. The top 16 will make it in, but with several of these drivers not having wins, those points are critical. Michigan may help add a win to one of these drivers seasons, but I’m not so sure that it won’t be a repeat winner. We’ve had the same guys at the front of the pack now for several weeks. Michigan will more than likely keep that record alive as we see the strength in Logano, Harvick, and Kyle Busch. Stay tuned for a very fast afternoon at Michigan International Speedway! Find the largest array of NASCAR betting props at the web’s best sportsbook: 5Dimes (Offers discounted odds on football, baseball and basketball betting!)