Race: Quicken Loans 400 Predictions to Win
Date: Sunday June 14, 2015
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
TV: FOX Sports 1
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Martin Truex Jr. dominated the race on Sunday to bring home the win at Pocono and secure his place in the Chase. He has been a force to reckon with for much of the season, so it really should come as no surprise that he finally got his win. It was only his 3rd career Sprint Cup win, but I believe there will be many more to come. Truex has been very successful this season and done well with the Furniture Row team. That momentum will carry forward this weekend as we head to Michigan.
This track is similar to Pocono due to its recent repave. The interesting part is that the racing grooves are not there. Pocono has some grooves built back in to a certain extent, but Michigan really doesn’t. Unless there’s been big changes since last year, we may not see extensive competition this weekend like we have pre-2012 at this track. It gets better every year, but it’s nothing near where it used to be several years ago when the track had several seasoned grooves and a lot more grip. The positive side to the repave of the track has been the ridiculously fast speeds that we tend to see here. The drivers can really carry an enormous amount of speed around the entire length of the track, including through the turns.
Michigan is a 2-mile oval. The straights are very long, thus our high speeds throughout. The frontstretch is 3600 feet, while the backstretch comes in at a hefty 2242 feet. The banking is not very extensive, but it still provides some pretty nice momentum around the place. The turns are 18 degrees and the frontstretch has 12 degrees. The backstretch is pretty mild with only 5 degrees of banking. Again, there aren’t nearly as many racing grooves as there have been in the past. We will likely see drivers either hug the high side or stick to the bottom groove, but either way, passing will be a challenge.
That being said, we need to look at the drivers who have managed to hold speed throughout the season and those drivers who have done well at the bigger tracks. Honestly, your best bet is going to be Kevin Harvick this weekend. He has dominated, especially in the earlier part of the season, these types of tracks. He also finished second to Truex at Pocono. That’s not too shabby coming into this weekend. Some other major contenders include Pocono’s winner of Truex as well as the Penske stable due to their speed. All of the Hendrick drivers, Kasey Kahne included, should fare well also. Let’s take a look at your potential winners this weekend as we head into Michigan:
My Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick
Middle of the Road Pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse Prediction: Danica Patrick
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Danica was doing really well at Pocono but fell off and wrecked. Should she manage not to wreck, she should manage a relatively good finish. Truex is simply a strong pick. Just as Harvick has managed to be up front for the majority of the season, Truex has certainly held his own. This type of track is right up his alley, so expect him to maintain his momentum from Pocono. Other notables include both Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards who tend to excel on these intermediate type tracks. They also have some successes here as well. Look for those guys to be contending for a win. Harvick still reigns in the points, though.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Joey Logano
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Jeff Gordon
11. Paul Menard
12. Kurt Busch
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Aric Almirola
15. Ryan Newman
16. Carl Edwards
The points have been very consistent within the top 10 positions. There hasn’t been much movement among the drivers. We are starting to get into crunch time when it comes to earning a win in order to get into the Chase. We’ve had a total of 10 different drivers so far this season, so there’s not many spots left. These guys in the last few spots really need to step up if they want to maintain their position going into the Chase. We’ll have to wait and see if Michigan brings us another new winner and another new Chase participant. Stay tuned for another great afternoon of racing at Michigan! Bet your Quicken Loans 400 picks using your credit card at an online sportsbook where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus up to $250 in FREE cash! –> Bovada Sportsbook.