The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels to Brooklyn, Michigan this week for the Pure Michigan 400. The race can be seen Sunday at 3pm ET on NBC Sports Network. Be sure to test your Fantasy NASCAR skills in the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game.
I had a good week at Watkins Glen. My team scored 321 points. My Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing picks are beating 97% of the entries (6,276 points).
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competed at Michigan in mid-June. I expect the drivers who ran up front in the first race to be the drivers up front Sunday. Here are the top drivers from the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan…
|STAGE 1||STAGE 2||FINISH|
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||19th||17th||
There were five drivers who finished each Stage in the top 10 and finished the race in the top 10 (Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch). These should be your core drivers this week.
Using your allocations wisely will be very important the last 14 races of the season. The cream usually rises to the top at Michigan so my advice is to play your best drivers this week.
Here are my picks for the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game…
Yahoo Group A Picks
My advice for Group A is to load up on the Toyotas. They have been the class of the field since the last race at Michigan and they show no signs of slowing down.
I plan to play the two best drivers in the field this week. Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch should both qualify up front, lead laps and finish in the top five.
Denny Hamlin is on baby watch this week. I may switch out Kyle Busch for Hamlin if his wife goes into labor early in the week and it sounds like Hamlin will be available to race Sunday. Hamlin had one of the fastest cars in the first race at Michigan.
The other driver you should consider is Matt Kenseth. This is one of his best tracks and he needs a win to secure his spot in the playoffs. It will help that he will be in one of those fast Toyotas this week.
Here are the allocations I have left in Group A: Kyle Busch (3), Brad Keselowski (4), Martin Truex Jr. (5), Kevin Harvick (6), Joey Logano (6), Denny Hamlin (8), Jimmie Johnson (9), Matt Kenseth (9), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (9)
Martin Truex Jr. (5)
Truex Jr. has been the best driver this season and he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Truex had one of the strongest cars at Michigan in June. He qualified 2nd and led the second-most laps in the race. The No. 78 car has started two of the last three races at Michigan on the front row. This car has been so fast this season that it is impossible to bet against them right now.
Kyle Busch (3)
Michigan is not the best track for Busch but he ran well in the first race at Michigan. He qualified 4th and led the third-most laps in the race. Busch has been on quite the roll lately. He has led 389 laps in the last five races. I expect Busch to compete for the poll and finish in the top five Sunday.
Other good choices: Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick
Yahoo Group B Picks
There are six good choices for Group B this week. This is the best track for Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Both of these drivers should be in your lineup Sunday.
Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch ran very well in the first race at Michigan. I expect both Stewart-Haas Racing drivers to finish in the top 10 this week.
Jamie McMurray and Ryan Blaney had fast cars at Michigan in June. I expect both cars to qualify upfront and finish in the top 10 this week. I am leaving them off my team though because I only have one allocation left with these drivers.
The order I like these drivers is: 1) Kyle Larson, 2) Chase Elliott, 3) Jamie McMurray, 4) Ryan Blaney, 5) Kurt Busch, 6) Clint Bowyer
Here are the allocations I have left in Group B: Jamie McMurray (1), Ryan Blaney (1), Kyle Larson (3), Kurt Busch (4), Clint Bowyer (5), Chase Elliott (6), Austin Dillon (6), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (7), Ryan Newman (7), AJ Allmendinger (7), Kasey Kahne (8) and all the rest 9.
Kyle Larson (3)
Larson has to be the favorite to win Sunday. He has won both races on the 2-mile tracks this season (California and Michigan). Larson won the pole and led a series-high 96 laps on his way to Victory Lane at Michigan two months ago. The No. 42 car has won the pole for the last two races at the track. Larson has lost some of his mojo lately but a trip to Michigan is just what he needs to get back to Victory Lane.
Chase Elliott (6)
Elliott is my sleeper pick to win this week. Everyone knows that Kyle Larson is the driver to beat at Michigan. Most people do not know that Elliott has a better average finishing position and a better driver rating at Michigan than Larson. Elliott has competed in three races at the track and he has finished all of them in second place. This will be Elliott’s best chance to go to Victory Lane before the playoffs begin.
Kurt Busch (4)
The results for Busch in the June race at Michigan do not represent how fast his car was. Busch qualified 15th and finished 12th, but he ran most of the race in the top 10. Busch has been good at the track since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing. He went to Victory Lane at Michigan in 2015 and the No. 41 car has finished the last three races at the track in the top 12. This is a good week to use an allocation with Busch.
Clint Bowyer (5)
Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz said last week on SiriusXM NASCAR Channel that Stewart-Haas Racing will give the No. 14 team the best car they have until Bowyer wins a race or until the Playoffs starts. This is good news for Bowyer and it means he will be a good play the next four races. Bowyer was running in the top 10 in the last race at Michigan until Joey Logano got into the side of his car. I would not be surprised to see Bowyer win Sunday.
Other good choices: Jamie McMurray, Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Yahoo Group C Picks
I am not holding back in Group C this week. Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez both have a good chance to finish in the top five. I will save allocations at other race tracks.
Here are the allocations I have left in Group C: Erik Jones (2), Daniel Suarez (3), Ty Dillon (5), Michael McDowell (5), David Ragan (8) and the rest 9.
Erik Jones (2)
Jones is a Michigan native. How cool would it be to see him win his first race at his home track? The Toyotas have all of the speed right now but Jones will have to beat his Toyota teammates if he wants to go to Victory Lane. Jones qualified 14th and finished 13th in his first race at Michigan. I expect the No. 77 car to have the same setup as the No. 78 car and finish in the top 10 Sunday.
Daniel Suarez (3)
Suarez has been one of the biggest surprises this season. He is really running well now. Suarez has finished the last four races in the top seven with an average finishing position of 5.75. That is awesome for a rookie! He did not have his best race at Michigan in June but he has proven he can learn from his mistakes. I would not be surprised if he finishes in the top 10 again Sunday.
Other Good Choices: Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon
I will post my final picks for Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing Saturday after final practice.
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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