NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

Well, last week's race was pretty interesting. We may need to nickname the Indy road course "Home of the Calamity Curbs". I'm not really sure who stole the headline: the curbs, the Briscoe/Hamlin debacle or the actual race winner, AJ Allmendinger. It sure left us with a lot to talk about. Now we're back to traditional oval racing on the super-fast Michigan International Speedway where there's a ton of space to move around and make some passes. NASCAR is applying resin similar to how they did at Nashville, so we'll see how that changes the racing. 
And dare I say it, will the race be Kevin Harvick's best chance to break his winless streak and tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott for the series-most consecutive wins at Michigan? Michigan is arguably one of Harvick's best tracks. Stay tuned!
This Week's Pick Strategy: This track is fast and challenging, and suits the driving style of racers who are skillful at searching the track to run different lines from their fellow competitors. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson are two of the best in that category. Also, think Fords this week. A Ford has found Victory Lane 41 times with Chevrolet coming in a not-so-close second with 26 wins in the Irish Hills.
Active Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last Five Years):
By Race
Chase Elliott - 6
All with 5 - Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch
Both with 4 - Joey  Logano and Martin Truex Jr.
Includes two August races in 2020 and one each 2016-2019

By Track
Joey Logano -9
Brad Keselowski -8
Kevin Harvick -7
Chase Elliott - 6
Both with 5 - Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin  

Last Year's Race Winner*: Kevin Harvick 
*Both August 8 and August 9, 2020 
My No-Brainer Pick: Kevin Harvick

My Final Four: Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr..
Second-Look Driver: This week’s second-look driver is William Byron. William has posted one Top 10 and four Top 15s in six Cup Series starts at the Michigan track and will be relying heavily on his crew chief Rudy Fugle who called many successful races here in Michigan while in the Truck Series. Rudy’s Michigan resume includes six Top 5 finishes and six Top 10s in seven starts. He also has an average start of 5.4 and an average finishing position of 4.6.
Points to Ponder:
  • The first starting position is the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more winners (22) than any other starting position at Michigan International Speedway.
  • 22 of the 103 (21.36%) NASCAR Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the pole or first starting position; the most recent win from the pole at Michigan was June 2019 (Joey Logano).
  • Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Michigan with 13. The Wood Brothers Racing organization has the second-most series wins at Michigan with 11. 
  • Seven of the 38 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Michigan are active this weekend: Kevin Harvick with five wins; Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson with three wins each; Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman with two wins each; and Kyle Busch with one win.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active series drivers in Top 5 finishes at Michigan with 15 as well as Top 10s at Michigan with 21. He also leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in laps led at Michigan with 699 laps led in 40 starts. 
  • Chase Elliott leads all active drivers in the series in average finishing position at Michigan with a 7.700 in 10 starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, August 22nd.

Enjoy the race!

Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 15 years. She launched NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat, or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Saturday, August 21, 2021 Rating: 5