The 15th race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes place at the Michigan International Speedway. This 2 mile D-shaped oval is home to some of the fastest speeds NASCAR will see all season. Drivers will be entering turn 1 at well over 200mph. Martin Truex Jr took home victory a week ago at Pocono. Who will go to victory lane at Michigan?
Kyle Larson has to be the favorite this weekend. Larson has won each of the last 3 races at Michigan, but has yet to visit victory lane this season, but has showed some speed, especially in the last few weeks. Larson led a race high 101 laps at Kansas before finishing 5th. The driver of the number 42 finished 2nd in the last race at Pocono. Larson has seen the majority of his wins come at the 2 mile ovals of Michigan and Auto Club. Expect to see the 42 up front this week.
Kevin Harvick has been no stranger to victory lane this season. Harvick has won 5 of the season’s 14 races. It would be criminal to have a favorite section and not include the driver who has set the series on fire this year. Happy Harvick does not lack the credentials at Michigan to be considered a favorite either. Harvick has 1 win and 15 top 10s in 34 starts at the track. It would be a surprise to nobody to see Harvick notch his 2nd win at Michigan this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr was victorious last weekend at Pocono. NASCAR is no stranger to drivers winning consecutive races this season with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch each winning 3 races in a row at one point. Truex’s other win this season came at Auto Club Speedway, which is the same distance and shape as Michigan. Truex has 6 top 5s at Michigan, but has never gone to victory lane. Look for him to change that this weekend.
Chase Elliott has started 4 races at Michigan International Speedway and he has never finished outside of the top 10. Elliott is still chasing his first career win after numerous 2nd place finishes, including three that have come at Michigan. The Chevrolets have been lacking speed all season, but if there is one track that Chase Elliott can turn those struggles around, it is Michigan.
Erik Jones hasn’t seen the success that his teammate Kyle Busch has this season, but he will look to change that at his home track of Michigan. Jones has two career races here with finishes of 8th and 13th. Jones’ best races of the season have come on larger tracks. They are a 4th at Texas, a 7th at Kansas, and a 7th at Auto Club. Could this be the week that Jones finally earns his first career win?
What to Expect
Michigan has always been known as one of the largest tracks on the circuit. Since it was repaved a few years ago, the groove has tightened up. As the pavement ages, the groove has slowly started to widen out. If there are two lanes working well, expect to see a relatively small amount of cautions during the day. With lots of green flag racing, the team that gives their driver the best car on the long run will have the best chance of taking the checkered flag in first place.