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Race 15 – LifeLock 400 at Michigan Fantasy Preview

Posted by chadmusselman on June 13, 2008

This week’s race is at the “D” shaped, Michigan International Speedway. This race could either be very exciting, or very boring. Michigan is a wide track that gives the drivers plenty of room to maneuver and could have very long green flag runs. There have been races here without a caution, which makes it pretty uneventful. If one driver starts to dominate and lap the field it could get ugly early. Races without many cautions also mean it could come down to who gets the best fuel mileage in the race. Many drivers have run out of gas on the last lap at Michigan.

On the other hand, it could be an exciting race. Michigan has two or three racing lanes on the front part of the D, and will really tempt the drivers to push the limits. Based on the action we saw last week at Pocono, I’m going to guess we see a good amount of side-by-side action, and a good race this week.

Here’s an interesting stat from NASCAR.com:

A Dodge or Ford has won each of the last 13 Michigan races, dating back to Jeff Gordon’s victory in a Chevrolet in June 2001. Bobby Labonte leads all full-time drivers with three wins there, while five drivers have two.

Now, on to my picks…

Four with a real shot to win
Kyle Busch
Why not pick Kyle? After last week’s disappointing 43rd place finish, he’ll want to come out running hard in Michigan. The bad thing is that he doesn’t have much success here (only two top 10s in six races), and his practice times weren’t very good (27th fastest). With a normal driver I’d say to stay away from them with stats this bad, but come race day Kyle performs.

Tony Stewart
Tony has been solid at Michigan recently. In his last three here he has a 10th and two 3rd place finishes. In eighteen career races Tony has one win, eight top 5s, and twelve top 10s. His 12.0 average finish is also a strong stat. Taking out an accident in 2006, in which he finished 41st, Tony has all top 5’s and one 10th place finish since 2005. I like Stewart to run upfront all day and get the win.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Dale Jr. Historically he hasn’t done great at MIS. In seventeen career races here he only has two top 5s and five top 10s, with a 17.2 average finish. He has had some success here recently. In three of his last four races he’s finished 5th, 6th, and 3rd. He’s had a solid season so far, and this could be a track where he gets that elusive win.

Denny Hamlin
What track doesn’t Denny run good on? In two of his last three here he’s finished 5th and 9th. He’s a solid driver that knows how to go fast, and not wreck. Denny will be in the top 10 most of the day, and will be challenging for the win at the end.

Two others that should do well
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin has been close at Michigan recently finishing 2nd in last two here. I don’t know if he’ll do that good this weekend, but he should at least finish in the top 10.

Kasey Kahne
I never thought Kasey would win last week. I don’t really think he’ll win again this weekend, but he should carry some momentum from the win into Michigan and have another solid run. He has finished 4th and won in two of the last four here. Another solid top 10 run should be doable for Kasey on Sunday.

Darkhorse
Reed Sorenson
Reed has had a tough season so far. He’s sitting thirtysecond in points, and his only top 10 finish was 5th at Daytona. Michigan could be his second top 10 of the season. He has two top 10 finishes here in his last four races. I don’t think Reed will win on Sunday, but he should contend for a top 10 finish.

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