The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Brooklyn, Michigan this week for the Pure Michigan 400.
The Sprint Cup Series raced at Michigan two months ago. Kurt Busch won the race that was shortened by rain, but Kevin Harvick had the best car. He led the most laps, but was forced to pit when he suffered a flat right tire after a lug nut had cut the inner valve stem. Carl Edwards and Joey Logano were also impressive in the race.
Michigan usually comes down to fuel mileage. The teams with a spot in the Chase will be likely to gamble and try to earn the extra three points for winning the race. The drivers who are racing for points (Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Clint) should play in safe to ensure they finish up front. These four drivers will be safe picks for your fantasy team this week.
Here are my picks for the Pure Michigan 400.
Yahoo Group A Picks
There will be a many good choices in Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing this week. Fantasy teams can either use the hot driver (Kyle Busch), use the driver with four wins on the intermediate tracks this season (Jimmie Johnson), or go with the drivers from Team Penske (Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano).
Kevin Harvick is the favorite to win, but it would be wise to save him for the Chase if you have less than four allocations left with the No. 4 team. Harvick may take a risk Sunday to get to Victory Lane since his spot in the Chase is locked up. He would be a much safer selection once the playoffs begin.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is my sleeper pick in Group A. Michigan is one of his best tracks. Earnhardt has finished the last three races at the track in the top 10. He finished second to Kurt Busch eight weeks ago.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A.
Joey Logano (8)
Logano is very good at Michigan and he has been one of the best drivers in the sport on the down force tracks the last month. He has a series-high average finish position and the second-best driver rating in the last five races at the track. Logano will be looking to extend his streak of five finishes in the top 10 at this week.
Logano has been on fire lately. He finished second at Kentucky, fourth at New Hampshire, second at Indianapolis and had the race won at Pocono until he ran out of gas. Logano is my pick to win Sunday.
Brad Keselowski (8)
The second driver for group A was a choice between Kyle Busch and Keselowski. Busch has been unstoppable the last month, but if he is Superman then Michigan is his kryptonite. Busch has finished four races in a row at this track outside the top 30. Keselowski is a much safer pick.
It is no secret that Keselowski would love to go to Victory Lane at his home track. He has the third-best driver rating and the fifth-best average finish position at Michigan. If Keselowski can avoid problems in the pits, he could be the driver to beat Sunday.
Other good choices: Dale Earnhardt Jr.,Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson
Yahoo Group B Picks
There are seven good choices in Group B this week. Fantasy teams should choose their drivers from this list, but use the drivers they have the most allocations with. The seven drivers to consider include Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer.
Paul Menard is my sleeper pick for Group B. He runs very well at Michigan. Menard has finished the last four races at the track in the top 10 and three of the races in the top five. The No. 27 car would be a great selection to save an allocation with one of your top drivers this week.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.
Kurt Busch (3)
Busch won the last race at Michigan, but he was not in the car that dominated the race. Busch had the fifth-best driver rating in the race and only led six laps. A win is a win, so Busch must be considered the top driver in Group B this week.
Busch knows his way to Victory Lane at Michigan. He has three wins at the track. Busch will be one of the top drivers in the field if Stewart-Haas Racing gives him a fast car for the race. Check his practices times on Friday before you decide to use him for the race.
Kyle Larson (5)
Larson came three laps way from winning the June race at Michigan. He was leading the race when he came into the pits to get gas. As soon as he got back up to speed it began to rain. Larson ended up finishing in the 17th place.
Larson is very good on the 2-mile oval tracks (Auto Club and Michigan). The fastest way around the track is usually up against the wall. No driver in the field runs the rim of the track better than Larson. He should qualify up front and finish in the top 10 this week.
Clint Bowyer (5)
Bowyer is slowly starting to turn his 2015 season around. He has finished six of the last eight races in the top 10. Bowyer needs the points to make the Chase, so the No. 15 team will ensure he finishes in the top 10 Sunday.
Bowyer ran well here in June. He started 32nd and drove through the field to a top-10 finish. This would be a safe week to use an allocation with Bowyer.
Carl Edwards (4)
Michigan is not one of Edward’s best tracks, but that is mostly because he raced at Rough-Fenway Racing and not Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards ran well here in June. He qualified fourth, led the second-most laps and finished 12th. Edwards spend most of the day running in the top 10. He is my pick to win the pole Saturday.
Other Good Choices: Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Greg Biffle
Yahoo Group C Picks
The Xfinity Series will compete at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, so the drivers who come up to the Sprint Cup Series will be unable to compete. This means there will be limited choices in Group C this week.
Danica Patrick and David Ragan will be the popular picks, but most fantasy teams have used up most of their allocations with these drivers. Ryan Blaney and Justin Allgaier would be good choices for the race Sunday.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.
Ryan Blaney (6)
Blaney will be back in the No. 21 car for the Wood Brothers this week. He competed in the last race at Michigan and finished 24th. Blaney actually ran a lot better than where he finished. He qualified fifth and should have a chance to earn bonus points for qualifying this week.
Danica Patrick (5)
Michigan is Patrick’s second-best track (Atlanta is No. 1). She has finished four of her five starts inside the top 20. Patrick has never finished worse than 23rd at the track. In June she qualified 19th and finished 16th. Most fantasy teams would take a top-20 finish from Patrick this week.
Other Good Choices: David Ragan and Justin Allgaier
Fantasy Live Picks
The strategy for Fantasy Live this week is to pick at least two drivers to lead laps and the other three drivers should start in the middle of the pack with a chance to finish upfront. There are 200 laps and 100 bonus points available for laps lead in the race Sunday. If you are able to select the driver who leads the most laps, your team will earn the bonus points needed to get to the top of your league standings.
Kevin Harvick is the favorite to lead the most laps. He led 63 laps in the race in June and has led the most laps in the series this season. Harvick is the most expensive driver in Fantasy Live, but he is worth the money this week.
Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Michigan:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $28.75
Driver 2: Kyle Larson $22.50
Driver 3: Carl Edwards $21.25
Driver 4: Austin Dillon $15.00
Driver 5: David Ragan $10.50
Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick
* Driver prices based on prices at Watkins Glen
Fox Fantasy Racing
The strategy for Fox Fantasy Racing will be a little different than Fantasy Live. This game only rewards one point for leading laps in the race. It will be more important to choose drivers who start deeper in the field with a chance to make their way to the front. Make sure you check the Happy Hour speeds Saturday to see which drivers have the fast cars for the race.
Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for Michigan:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $13,300
Driver 2: Kurt Busch $10,500
Driver 3: Kyle Larson $9.500
Driver 4: Carl Edwards $8,600
Driver 5: Kyle Busch $7,700
* Driver prices based on prices at Watkins Glen