Early Week Driver Rankings for Michigan


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels to the Irish Hills of Michigan this week to compete in the FireKeepers Casino 400. This will be the fourth consecutive race for the MENCS teams using the 550 HP engine, higher-downforce aero package. Usually the high-line is the fastest way around Michigan but that will not be the case this week. Drivers will be able to hold the throttle wide open at the bottom of the track so why not take the shorter rout to Victory Lane? It should be a fun race to watch with a lot of passing. The FireKeepers Casino 400 can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on FS1.

The MENCS will have the same schedule they had last week at Pocono. There will be two practices Friday. The first practice will be at 2 p.m. ET (No TV) and final practice will be at 4 p.m. ET on FS1. Qualifying will be Saturday at 12 p.m. ET on FS1.

NASCAR will have a inspect the cars Saturday prior to qualifying so we do not have to worry about cars going to the back and losing their qualifying position.

My early week pick for the pole is Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 car has won three poles this season and two of them have been in the 550 HP engine, higher-downforce aero package. Harvick missed the pole at Auto Club (most similar track to Michigan) by .002 seconds (He qualified 2nd). I expect the No. 4 car to unload with a lot of speed and be a threat to win the pole Friday.

Each week I use different stats in my model to create the best rankings possible to give you an edge on the completion. This week I used driver rating from the 7 races where the 550 HP aero package was used, average finishing position in the races where the 550 HP aero package was used, average finishing position in the last 4 races, driver rating at Michigan and average running position at Michigan in the last 2 seasons.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Michigan…


1. Kyle Busch
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Chase Elliott
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Kurt Busch
7. Joey Logano
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Kyle Larson
10. Erik Jones
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Alex Bowman
14. Daniel Suarez
15. William Byron
16. Austin Dillon
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
18. Aric Almirola
19. Jimmie Johnson
20. Ryan Newman
21. Paul Menard
22. Chris Buescher
23. Daniel Hemric
24. Matt Dibenedetto
25. David Ragan
26. Michael McDowell
27. Ryan Preece
28. Ty Dillon
29. Darrell Wallace Jr.
30. Matt Tifft
31. Corey Lajoie
32. Quinn Houff
33. Ross Chastian
34. Landon Cassill
35. Cody Ware
36. Reed Sorenson
37. Bayley Currey


* I will post my final driver rankings Saturday night.

**Stats from Driveraverages.com and NASCAR Media. Career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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