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.
* There are 12 races left in the regular season and 3 of them are on either a Superspeedway or Road Course. So we need 9 starts from our stud drivers. I mapped out the rest of the season and I have enough starts to get us to the end and enough to use our studs in the race at Michigan.
Fantasy Live Starting Drivers
Kevin Harvick (3): I only have 3 allocations left with Harvick so I need to be careful where I use them. Harvick qualified 3rd and the word in the garage is that the No. 4 is the team to beat. Harvick finished 1st and 2nd in the two races at Michigan last year. He should finish in the top 3 and score a lot of Stage points Sunday.
Brad Keselowski (3): Keselowski desperately wants to win at his home track. He finished 2nd last year and he will be looking to improve by one spot Sunday. Keselowski posted the 15th-fastest lap in final practice with the 10th-fastest 10-lap average speed. I am not too worried about their speed. The No. 2 team will use strategy and improvements on their car during the race to gain track position. That is what they do. I am low with allocations with Keselowski but I will use another on this week.
Kurt Busch (6): Busch unloaded with a lot of speed at Michigan. Busch posted the 6th-fastest lap in final practice with the 6th-best 10-lap average speed. Busch has a series-high 3 wins at Michigan. If he is going to win his first race of the season it should happen this week. I have no problem using another allocation with Busch.
Clint Bowyer (6): The No. 14 car has been running well lately and he is fast again this week. His crew chief said in final practice, “The car is so good there is nothing more we can do to it.” Bowyer has finished 7 of the last 8 non Superspeedway races in the top 10. He also won the June race at Michigan last year. Bowyer posted the 8th-fastest 10-lap average speed and the 3rd-fastest 20-lap average speed in final practice. He should be a threat to win again this week.
Aric Almirola (6): The No. 10 car has a lot of speed this week. Almirola qualified 2nd and he dominated practice Friday. Almirola posted the 5th-fastest speed in final practice with the 2nd-fastest 10-lap average speed and the fastest 15-lap and 20-lap average speed. He has the best car in the field on the long runs. I will take a chance with Almirola this week.
My Garage Driver this week will be Martin Truex Jr. (6). I still have 6 allocations left with Truex so I am not worried about using another one. Truex was 9th fastest in final practice with the 5th best 10-lap average speed. He should quickly make his way to the top 10, score a lot of Stage points and finish in the top 5 Sunday.
Fantasy Live Picks for Michigan
** Photos from NASCAR Media
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Good luck this week!
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