FireKeepers Casino 400
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the FireKeepers Casino 400. The race is the first of two trips to the 2.0-mile, D-shaped oval over the summer months, but Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 is actually the second race of the year at a two-mile track thanks to the March race at Auto Club Speedway.
While Auto Club and Michigan are not the same track by any means, there are definitely similarities between the two and similarities with how drivers perform. Needless to say, I'll be looking at past results from races at Michigan and the results from this year's trip to Auto Club when making my fantasy picks.
From a fantasy standpoint, Michigan is usually one of the friendlier tracks. Yes, fuel mileage can come into play on occasion, but the track's wide, multi-grooved surface typically makes for a clean race and allows for the fast cars to get the front.
With that in mind, this is one of those races when I am not afraid to be aggressive with my Yahoo lineup, and I won't hesitate to use the top options in all three tiers. The B-List is particularly loaded at this track, and I think there is a good chance you could build a lineup that puts three out of the four cars in the Top 5 and all four in the Top 10.
1. KYLE LARSON, #42 TARGET, CHIP GANASSI RACING [YAHOO CLASS B]
The 2.0-mile tracks have been his specialty. After finishing third and first in two races at Michigan last year, Larson picked up a win at the other two-mile track on the schedule, Auto Club Speedway, earlier this year. He is a must-start B-List option at MIS.
2. BRAD KESELOWSKI, #2 MILLER LITE, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
No driver has been more consistent at Michigan in recent years. His 7.2 average finish over the last 10 races here is the best in the series, and he hasn't finished worse than 13th in that span. Keselowski has cracked the Top 10 in his last six starts at MIS, finishing third and fourth in two starts last season.
3. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Since the start of the 2013 season, Harvick has amassed an incredible seven Top 5s in eight starts at Michigan, and he has finished second five times in that span. Needless to say, he should be in the mix for the win this weekend.
4. MARTIN TRUEX, JR., #78 FURNITURE ROW, FURNITURE ROW RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He has some bad luck cost him strong finishes at Michigan last year, but he did lead multiple laps in both events, and he finished third here in both races in 2015. Truex also led 73 laps at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year, so he still has plenty of speed at the 2.0-mile tracks.
5. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Logano has been one of the best at the 2.0-mile tracks, especially Michigan. He is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and he is riding a streak of eight straight Top 10s here. Logano has led a series-best 356 laps during the streak, picking up a couple of wins.
6. CHASE ELLIOTT, #24 NAPA AUTO PARTS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS B]
The sample size is small, but after finishing second in both races at Michigan as a rookie, it seems safe to say that Elliott has a good feel for the track. He might be a B-List option this weekend, but he has Top 5 potential.
7. JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]
He has led a ton of laps at Michigan over his career, but his results at the track have always been hit and miss. Johnson has just four Top 10s in his last five starts here and just one Top 15 in his last four. He is always capable of showing up in victory lane, but this isn't the track to gamble on him as an A-List option.
8. DENNY HAMLIN, #11 FEDEX, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Hamlin has been an underrated option at the 2.0-mile tracks, and in the last five races at Michigan, he has finished 11th or better four times. He is a two-time winner here overall, and if you are looking for a contrarian A-List option, Hamlin could be worth a flier.
9. RYAN BLANEY, #21 MOTORCRAFT, WOOD BROTHERS RACING [YAHOO CLASS B]
Blaney has the momentum of a Pocono win in his side, and he has shown steady improvement at the 2.0-mile tracks. He finished a career-best fourth at Michigan last August, and he logged a Top 10 at Auto Club earlier this year. Blaney should be one of the stronger B-List plays this weekend.
10. MATT KENSETH, #20 DEWALT, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He doesn't have the consistent upside of some of the other A-List options, but Kenseth does offer a stable floor. He has finished in in the Top 15 in seven of his last eight starts at Michigan, including four straight.