The Driver Group Game picks were performing well at New Hampshire. Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto and Christopher Bell were all running in the top 10, but the jinx continued when Blaney got sent to the middle of the field because of poor pit strategy and the Goodyear tires going down on Bell’s car. We just cannot catch a break in this game this season. There are still 16 races left in the season and we are in good shape with our allocations. We just need a little luck.
Michigan is a two-mile D-shaped, oval track. The track produces some fast speeds, but there is enough room for the drivers to stay out of trouble. The races last year using the 550 HP aero package went pretty much caution free.
Track position was very important and many teams gave up the Stage points to pit before the end of the Stage so they could start up front in the final run to the checkered flag. The teams who are on the playoff bubble will likely stay out at the end of the Stage and score a lot of Stage points. I plan to use some drivers who are on the playoff bubble this week in my lineups.
Race Rewind at Michigan: Consumer Energy 400 (2019)
Here are my picks for the FireKeepers Casino 400 …
Driver Group Game A Picks
(Start) Kevin Harvick: Kevin Harvick is the best choice in Group A Saturday. He has been a beast in races where the 550 HP aero package has been used. Harvick finished 1st, 2nd, 1st, 4th, 5th and 4th in his last six races in this aero package. Harvick also finished 1st, 7th, 1st and 2nd in his last four races at Michigan. The No. 4 car should be a lock for a top-five finish Saturday from the 3rd starting position.
(Bench) Brad Keselowski: Michigan is the home track for Brad Keselowski and it is no secret that adding a win at this track is very high on his bucket list. Keselowski has been close to going to Victory Lane with a 2nd place finish in 2018. The No. 2 car is running really well right now. Keselowski won last week in New Hampshire and finished 2nd the prior week at Kansas. It would not be a bad idea to ride the hot streak with Keselowski Saturday.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Brad Keselowski 3) Denny Hamlin 4) Joey Logano 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Kyle Busch 7) Chase Elliott
Driver Group Game B Picks
Where is Kyle Larson when I need him? I had Larson penciled into both races at Michigan but I will have to find some new options this weekend.
(Start) Alex Bowman: Auto Club Speedway is the most similar track to Michigan International Speedway. The set-ups for the cars are almost the same. Alex Bowman won the race at Auto Club earlier this season and the No. 88 car should run up front again Saturday. Bowman finished both races at Michigan in the top 10 last year. It would not be a bad idea to use him in both races this weekend.
(Start) Kurt Busch: Michigan ranks as the fourth-best track for Kurt Busch so this will be a good race to get the No. 1 car into our lineups. Busch finished 2nd at Michigan last year. He also finished 3rd in March at Auto Club. Busch has finished seven of the eight races on the intermediate tracks this season in the top 10. He should add another top-10 finish to his 2020 stats Saturday.
(Start if you can) Ryan Blaney: Once again Ryan Blaney is the best choice in Group B. I only have two allocations left with Blaney so I need to leave him on the bench this week. If you have four or more allocations left with the Blaney; use him in the race. He ranks No. 1 in Driver Ranking, Green Flag Speed and Average Finishing Position on the intermediate tracks this season.
(Start if you can) Aric Almirola: I am out of allocations with Aric Almirola. The No. 10 team is scolding hot right now. Almirola has finished nine races in a row in the top 10. He has finished 12 of the 20 races in the top 10, including an 8th place finish at Auto Club. I would replace Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch with Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola if I could.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Aric Almirola 3) Alex Bowman 4) Kurt Busch 5) Matt DiBenedetto 6) Erik Jones 7) Jimmie Johnson 8) William Byron 9) Austin Dillon 10) Clint Bowyer
Driver Group Game C Picks
(Start) Tyler Reddick: Tyler Reddick is the best choice in Group C this week. He won the Xfinity Series race at Michigan last year and he finished 11th at Auto Club earlier this year. Reddick will be running up top by the wall and passing a lot of cars. I would not be surprised if the No. 8 team used pit strategy to try and steal a win Saturday.
(Bench) Cole Custer: Cole Custer is starting to figure out the Cup Series cars and the Stewart-Haas Racing Fords have been fast this summer. Custer has finished 8th, 7th, 39th (Crash at Texas), 1st and 5th in his last five races. He has been a top-10 driver when his tires do not explode. Custer is already locked into the playoffs, so I expect this team to gamble to try and steal track position and finish up front Saturday.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Tyler Reddick 2) Cole Custer 3) Christopher Bell 4) Matt Kenseth 5) Michael McDowell
Driver Group Game Team
Good luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Pro
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