Driver Group Game Picks Michigan


The Cup Series will travel to the Irish Hills of Michigan this week for the FireKeepers Casino 400. This is race No. 23 on the schedule. That means there are only four races left in the regular season and 14 races left until the Cup Series crowns their champion. The win last week by Chris Buescher makes 12 winners so far this year. The racing for the final four spots is going to be intense. It all starts at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. The FireKeepers Casino 400 can be seen Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports App.



The race Sunday at Michigan will be the last race on an intermediate track in the regular season. I am not worried about saving allocations in Group A because there are enough great drivers in that group to get us through the race at Phoenix. Ty Gibbs and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are the obvious picks for Group C. Group B is where the picks get tricky. Kevin Harvick is an absolute lock. Michigan is one of his best tracks. The other choices are Kyle Busch, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman and Chris Buescher. You should be OK this week if you simply stick to this list of drivers.

Here are the picks for the FireKeepers Casino 400



DENNY HAMLIN (6): Hamlin is starting to heat up and now he heads to one of his best tracks. Hamlin finished first (Pocono) and second (Richmond) in his last two races. He has the series-best Driver Rating on the large intermediate tracks this year and he has the second-best Driver Rating in the last six races at Michigan. Hamlin finished third, scored 19 Stage Points and led 38 laps at Michigan last year. The No. 11 car should be fast again this weekend.

KYLE LARSON (6): Larson used to be the best driver at Michigan. He won three consecutive races at this track in 2016 and 2017. He has not won at Michigan since 2017, but the No. 5 car has still been fast. Larson has an average finishing position of 4.3 in his last three races at Michigan. Larson has been fast on the intermediate tracks this year. He should be fast again Sunday.

(OTHER PICK) RYAN BLANEY (7): The Fords have found some speed this summer and that will make Blaney a good pick if you want to save an allocation with one of the drivers listed above. Blaney won the race at Michigan in 2021 and he finished fifth in the race last year. He also won earlier this year at Charlotte. The No. 12 car should be one of the best Fords in the field Sunday.

GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Denny Hamlin 2) Kyle Larson 3) William Byron 4) Ryan Blaney 5) Joey Logano 6) Chase Ellliott 7) Ross Chastain 8) Christopher Bell



KEVIN HARVICK (3): Harvick needs to be in all of your lineups this week. He has been an absolute beast at Michigan. Harvick finished 1st, 14th, 1st and 1st in his last four races at Michigan. Harvick was also good at the other two-mile oval earlier this year. The No. 4 car started 10th, scored 10 Stage Points, led five laps and finished fifth earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway. Harvick should be even better Sunday.

BUBBA WALLACE (6): I knew I was going to use Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Tyler Reddick a lot in Group B this year. I was hoping another driver would step up. I wasn’t expecting that driver to be Bubba Wallace, but he has been pretty good in 2023. Wallace has been at his best on the large intermediate tracks. The No. 23 car finished fourth at Las Vegas, fourth at Kansas and fourth at Charlotte. He was running well at Auto Club too but his car had engine failure. Wallace finished second at Michigan last year. He is a great driver to pair with Kevin Harvick Sunday.

KYLE BUSCH (3): Busch has been a tough driver to get a read on this year. The No. 8 car unloads off the truck with a lot of speed one week and then they look completely lost the next race. The inconsistency for Busch is frustrating, but we have to use him in our lineups at Michigan. The most similar track to Michigan is Auto Club Speedway. Busch won at Auto Club earlier this year. He “should” have a good chance to win again Sunday.

ALEX BOWMAN (8): This was a tough pick. Should I go with Brad Keselowski at his home track, Chris Buescher with his momentum after winning last week or trust the stats and play Alex Bowman? I decided I would have another Hendrick Motorsports car in my lineup and play Bowman. The No. 48 car finished eighth at Auto Club, third at Las Vegas and 12th at Charlotte. Bowman had to start in the back last year at Michigan and he was able to drive his way into the top-10 and finish ninth in the race. I do not trust Bowman much right now, but I will trust the stats this week. At least Bowman should qualify up front Saturday and score our lineup some bonus points.

(OTHER PICK) BRAD KESELOWSKI (4): It is tough to fade Keselowski at his home track. He has made it known that winning at Michigan is high on his bucket list. It is hard to believe that Keselowski has run 25 Cup Series races at Michigan and has never won. He has been close though. The No. 6 car should be a good choice if you do not trust Alex Bowman this week.

* I only have one allocation left with Martin Truex Jr. I would use Truex over Alex Bowman if you have two or more allocations left with the No. 19 car.

GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Martin Truex Jr. 3) Bubba Wallace 4) Kyle Busch 5) Kyle Busch 6) Alex Bowman 7) Brad Keselowski 8) Tyler Reddick 9) Chris Buescher 10) Erik Jones



RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (7): I am going to try and get an allocation out of Stenhouse Sunday. He qualified on the front row and finished 12th at Auto Club Speedway earlier this season. Stenhouse also finished 12th at Kansas and seventh at Charlotte. I will gladly take a top-12 finish from Stenhouse Sunday. I struck gold last week with Ryan Preece as my Group C driver. I will try to do it again this week with Stenhouse.

TY GIBBS (5): Gibbs has not been good on the large intermediate tracks this year. He finished 16th at Auto Club, 22nd at Las Vegas, 34th at Kansas and 26th at Charlotte. He cannot be that bad again Sunday, can he? Gibbs qualified 11th and finished 10th at Michigan last year. I will have him in my lineup, just in case he has a car as fast as what he had last year at Michigan.

(OTHER CHOICE) AJ ALLMENDINGER (4): Allmendinger should be your pick if you want to save Ty Gibbs for the shorter tracks. Allmendinger finished 18th at Las Vegas, 14th at Kansas and 14th at Charlotte. His average finishing position in his last four races at Michigan is 17.6. Allmendinger should finish between 15th and 19th Sunday. That is not too bad for a Group C driver.

GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Ty Gibbs 2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3) AJ Allmendinger 4) Ryan Preece 5) Corey LaJoie

* Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my starting lineup.





Good Luck This Weekend!

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