NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

Tyler Reddick got his second win of the season and his second Cup Series win last week at the Indy Road Course. The race featured some spectacular calamities in Turn 1, fierce crashes and even a fire inside Chris Buescher's #17 car. Remarkably Buescher finished the race in 10th place. 
I think this week's race in Michigan won't be as crazy, but then again there are quite a few drivers who really need a Michigan master Kevin Harvick. Harvick currently sits 96 points outside the Playoff cutoff. Not only do Fords run well here, but Kevin has this place figured out. He leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in wins at the track with five (2010, 2018, 2019, 2020-1, 2020-2) in 41 starts. In addition to his impressive victories, he has earned 15 Top 5s and 21 Top 10s. The No. 4 team had a dismal race last week, finishing in 33rd. A Harvick win this week would sure make for a great story. Stay tuned.

This Week's Pick Strategy: Michigan is a super-fast and challenging track. I expect veteran drivers particularly those who are adept at studying the preferred lines and searching the track for speed to run well this weekend. Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick are the best in the business in that category. And if you happen to pilot a Ford, better yet.
Active Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last Six Races):
By Race
Both with 6 - Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott 
Both with 5 - Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin
Both with 4 -Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch
Includes two August races in 2020 and one each 2017-2019

By Track
Kyle Busch -9
Chase Elliott - 8
Martin Truex Jr. - 7
All with 6 - Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Joey Logano

Last Year's Race Winner: Ryan Blaney

The Likely Suspects: My Michigan elite drivers include Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, and Brad Keselowski.

My 2 Cents: This week's no-brainer pick is Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Ross Chastain, and Brad Keselowski. I will round out my team with Erik Jones and Harrison Burton.

My Final Four: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, and Erik Jones
Second-Look Driver: This week’s second-look driver is RFK Racing driver Brad Keselowski from Rochester Hills. A total of 101 different drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Michigan. Michigan drivers have combined to win 158 NASCAR national series races, led by Brad, who has won a combined 75 NASCAR national series races - nearly half of the state’s total.

Brad's performance this season has been inconsistent at best. This early season 100 point penalty for a modification to a single source supplied part didn't help matters. Brad finished ninth in last year's race. He has the fourth best average finish among active drivers here and has earned seven Top 5s, 13 Top 10s and two poles at Michigan.

Points to Ponder:
  • The first starting position is the most prolific in the field, producing more winners (22) than any other starting position at Michigan International Speedway.
  • 22 of the 104 (21.2%) 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 Keselowski 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. 
  • Six of the 39 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Michigan are active this weekend: Kevin Harvick with five wins, Joey Logano and Kyle Larson with three wins each, Denny Hamlin  with two wins, and Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch with one win each.
  • Kevin Harvick, tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip for second-most all-time, leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Michigan with seven. He also leads all active series drivers in Top 5 finishes at Michigan with 15 as well as Top 10s at Michigan with 21. Kevin also leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in laps led at Michigan with 699 in 41 starts. 
  • Chase Elliott leads all active drivers in the series in average finishing position at Michigan with a 7.727 in 11 starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, August 6th and your final by 3 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, August 7th.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 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 06, 2022 Rating: 5