Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Michigan International Speedway Data
Season Race #: 15 of 36 (06-16-13)
Track Size: 2-miles
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 18 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 18 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 3,600 feet
Backstretch Length: 2,242 feet
Race Length: 200 laps / 400 miles
Top 12 Driver Rating at Michigan
Greg Biffle 108.9
Matt Kenseth 105.5
Carl Edwards 105.2
Jimmie Johnson 104.2
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 97.1
Tony Stewart 95.9
Jeff Gordon 94.7
Denny Hamlin 93.7
Kyle Busch 92.9
Brian Vickers 91.5
Kurt Busch 89.5
Kasey Kahne 88.2
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (16 total) among active drivers at Michigan International Speedway.
2012 pole winner: Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 203,241 mph, 35.426 secs. 6-15-12
2012 race winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 139.144 mph, (02:52:29), 6-17-12
Track qualifying record: Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 203,241 mph, 35.426 secs. 6-15-12
Track race record: Dale Jarrett, Ford; 173.997 mph, (2:17:56), 6-13-99
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Driver Tale of the Tape at Michigan
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M / Give The Kids A Smile Ford)
· Three wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.8
· Series-best Average Running Position of 8.3
· Series-best Driver Rating of 108.9
· 268 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· 1,143 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 176.334 mph
· Series-high 2,677 Laps in the Top 15 (85.3%)
· 769 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), second-most
Kurt Busch (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing / Serta Chevrolet)
· Two wins, three top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 21.4
· Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.5, 11th-best
· 1,941 Laps in the Top 15 (61.8%), ninth-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota)
· One win, three top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 16.4
· Average Running Position of 14.2, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 92.9, ninth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.625 mph, seventh-fastest
· 2,089 Laps in the Top 15 (66.5%), seventh-most
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard “Man of Steel” Chevrolet)
· Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.8
· Average Running Position of 12.5, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 97.1, fifth-best
· 161 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 1,313 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.789 mph, fifth-fastest
· 2,083 Laps in the Top 15 (66.4%), eighth-most
· 697 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)
· Two wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 8.2
· Average Running Position of 10.3, second-best
· Driver Rating of 105.2, third-best
· 185 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 1,162 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.172 mph, fourth-fastest
· 2,573 Laps in the Top 15 (82.0%), second-most
· Series-high 790 Quality Passes
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Two wins, 18 top fives, 25 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 11.7
· Average Running Position of 12.6, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.7, seventh-best
· 159 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.591 mph, eighth-fastest
· 2,106 Laps in the Top 15 (67.1%), sixth-most
· 580 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota)
· Two wins, five top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 13.6
· Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 93.7, eighth-best
· 97 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.682 mph, sixth-fastest
· 1,850 Laps in the Top 15 (67.5%), 11th-most
· 610 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)
· Four top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 15.2
· Average Running Position of 10.3, third-best
· Driver Rating of 104.2, fourth-best
· Series-high 318 Fastest Laps Run
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.274 mph, second-fastest
· 2,392 Laps in the Top 15 (76.2%), fourth-most
· 614 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)
· One win, seven top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.7
· Average Running Position of 15.3, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 88.2, 12th-best
· 144 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 1,208 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.478 mph, 11th-fastest
· 1,800 Laps in the Top 15 (57.3%), 12th-most
· 597 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
· Two wins, 12 top fives, 17 top 10s
· Average finish of 9.6
· Average Running Position of 10.4, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 105.5, second-best
· 157 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 1,112 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.178 mph, third-fastest
· 2,512 Laps in the Top 15 (80.0%), third-most
· 716 Quality Passes, third-most
Mark Martin (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota)
· Five wins, 18 top fives, 31 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 15.3, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 87.7, 13th-best
· 104 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.527 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,930 Laps in the Top 15 (61.5%), 10th-most
· 541 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Brass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
· One win, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.9
· Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.9, sixth-best
· 100 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 1,095 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.562 mph, ninth-fastest
· 2,269 Laps in the Top 15 (72.3%), fifth-most
· 648 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Quicken Loans 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
The big news last week going into Pocono happened on Wednesday when it was announced by Toyota Racing Development that they would be reducing horsepower on their engines for Pocono and Michigan. Toyota has experienced five wins on the season and had shown more horsepower than any other team on the type of tracks that required the most.
But with that massive output, there was also a negative effect. Three Toyota engines had expired the previous two races and with Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip Racing having cars that are trying to win a championship, expiring engines are not a good thing.
The first thought when I heard the news was that it’s going to rapidly change the odds of all the Toyota drivers, most of whom were considered the favorites to win based on the Toyota horsepower. No track requires more horsepower than Pocono to get down the long front straightaway, so if they’re reducing that power, there go the chances of Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to win.
But until I actually saw something on the track, I would hold off any judgment. When they finally got to practice on Saturday after being rained out on Friday, it was apparent that Toyota was slower than they had been all season. None of the Toyota teams were happy with the new version of the engine, which made them all look extremely mediocre.
On race day, Kyle Busch and Hamlin made the most of it with top-10 finishes, but they weren’t ever really competing for the win. They were light years behind what Jimmie Johnson was bringing, and now that takes us to this week’s race at Michigan, where we will again see Toyota-light performing.
Without having a Toyota driver to consider this week, it opens things up for others to compete with Johnson like Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick or maybe even Michigan native Brad Keselowski. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in practices on Saturday to really determine the shape of these Toyota engines, but if it’s anything close to last week, we can put a slash across the name of anyone driving a Toyota Sunday.
What makes this even more interesting is that Johnson has never won at Michigan. He’s been close several times, but for a driver of his stature with 63 career Cup wins and dominating at Michigan’s sister track in Fontana over his career, it’s amazing that Michigan has been able to elude him. Over the past eight seasons, no one has led more laps at Michigan than Johnson, but he seems to be snake bit with Murphy's Law ruling in the late stages of Michigan races for him.
So if we bring Johnson down a notch based on his past history, and eliminate the Toyota drivers, we have the makings for a pretty wide-open race with the possibilities of cashing in with a winner at a big price, depending on how much the sports books adjust the numbers.
It’s likely that most of the odds posted won’t reflect the Toyota situation and will be posted like a normal race where Kenseth will be 6/1, Busch 7/1 and Hamlin 10/1.
If that’s the case, then siding with a Roush-Fenway Ford might be the way to go this week. Or we could even see a driver like Dale Earnhardt Jr. win his first race since winning at Michigan last season.
Edwards looks to be the driver to key on because of his past history and how fast he was in Saturday’s Pocono practice. Although the Pocono and Michigan layout are nothing alike, they both require lots of horsepower. Edwards has the best average finish (8.2) among active drivers at Michigan along with two wins, the last coming in 2008.
Greg Biffle won at Michigan last fall giving him three wins on the 2-mile oval. He comes off an outstanding Pocono race that saw him finish second to Johnson. It was Biffle’s second top-5 finish on the season.
Another added dimension to this year’s race will be the Gen-6 car, which has been fast everywhere, racing on a Michigan surface that was repaved before last year’s June race that set speed records.
“The track has gone through a winter, but I don’t expect it to have ‘aged’ much since the last time we were here in August,” Jeff Gordon said. “I don’t expect it to be much different.
“It’s still going to be real fast.”
Think outside the box this week and take a shot with a couple drivers at longer odds early in the week. Review what happened in practice on Saturday and then bet a couple more, or reinforce the bets on drivers already bet upon.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #99 Carl Edwards (12/1)
2) #16 Greg Biffle (15/1)
3) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15/1)
4) #5 Kasey Kahne (9/1)
5) #2 Brad Keselowski (12/1)
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Quicken Loans 400 Driver Chassis Selections
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Michigan is PRS-841 which last Raced at Kansas and finished sixth. The backup chassis is PRS-847 which has never raced but has been a backup at several races.
#5-Kasey Kahne: For this weekend at Michigan, crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-793. Kahne finished second with this car at Kansas Speedway in April. Most recently, he led 161 laps and drove it to another runner-up finish in May at Charlotte's 600-mile race. In 18 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan International Speedway, Kahne has one win, seven top-five finishes, eight top-10s and has led 49 laps. He has two pole positions at the two-mile oval and won from the top starting spot in June 2006. Most recently at Michigan, Kahne finished third there in August 2012.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: The #9 Stanley team has prepared chassis No. 847 for Michigan. The team competed with this chassis at Texas Motor Speedway where Ambrose started from the fourth position.
#10-Danica Patrick will pilot chassis No. 10-781, which was first used by Patrick in March at Auto Club Speedway, where she started 40th and finished 26th. She then drove this car in April at Kansas, where she started 25th and finished 25th. The last time this car was used was during the Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race in May at Charlotte where she finished ninth in the Showdown and 20th in the All-Star race.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-735 debuted in 2012 at Indianapolis where Stewart qualified 28th and rallied to score a top-10 finish. Chassis No. 14-735 made its second career start in October 2012 at Kansas. It was impressive as Stewart used it to overcome a 33rd place starting spot, a botched pit stop, an incident with Jeff Burton and a lap-166 spin to finish fifth. The car made its third career start in the 2012 season finale at Homestead. There, it rallied to a top-20 finish after starting 35th and dealing with handling issues throughout the 267-lap race. Stewart's milestone 500th career Sprint Cup start also came at Homestead in Chassis No. 14-735. With 2013 Chevrolet SS bodywork covering it, Chassis No. 14-735 returned to action in May for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. It rallied again, coming from 25th in the field to lead six laps before finishing seventh, beginning a resurgence for Stewart that has seen him climb eight spots in the championship point standings since Charlotte. This weekend's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan will mark the car's fifth career start and second of 2013. Stewart has one win, eight top-threes, 11 top-fives, 19 top-10s and has led a total of 224 laps in his 28 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan. His average start is 19.4, his average finish is 11.9, and he has a lap-completion rate of 93.9 percent.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Primary Chassis No. 758 finished fifth at Kansas and 35th at Fontana (due to a mechanical issue). Backup Chassis No. 724 has not seen action this season. In 14 races Bowyer owns six top-10s. His average start is 18th and finish 17th. He has led 27 laps, including 19 in his last race at MIS. In the last four MIS starts, Bowyer is tied with fellow Toyota driver Matt Kenseth for the most points with 148. He also has the best average finish of any driver (7.5) and is the only driver with four consecutive top-10s. 5-hour ENERGY'S corporate offices are in Farmington Hills, Mich. about 65 miles from Michigan International Speedway.
#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M Give Kids a Smile Ford Fusion team will bring primary chassis RK-817 which is the same car that Biffle won with in the fall at Michigan last year and it last ran in the All-Star race in May and finished 15th. The backup chassis is RK-803 which last ran in Bristol and finished 11th. Biffle has 20 Sprint Cup career starts at Michigan, earning three wins, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Michigan is Biffle's second-best average finishing track. His average finish is 11.8 from an average starting position of 13.2. Biffle has led a lap in all but six of his 20 starts at Michigan.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Zest Racing team will be using primary chassis RK-814, which is the same chassis that the #17 team ran at Martinsville finishing 25th after getting caught in an accident early in the race. The backup Chassis RK-811was a chassis that the #99 ran numerous times in 2012. Stenhouse will make his first career Sprint Cup start this weekend at Michigan.
#21-Trevor Bayne: For this weekend's race, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared Chassis No. 745, which hasn't been raced since 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Since then the car has been completely overhauled and converted to a Generation-6 racer, and Wingo is pleased with the final result. "We've put a lot of work into it," he said, adding that the results of a recent wind-tunnel test indicate the car will be a fast one. The team will need it on the newly repaved Michigan oval, where speeds are expected to be high, even with a winter's worth of aging on the track's asphalt. That aging should make for a good race, according to the veteran crew chief. "I think the groove will get even wider than it was last year," he said. He anticipates his biggest challenge on the pit box will be developing a strategy that will give Bayne track position in the closing laps. "You won't be taking four tires on every stop," he said. "The key is going to be doing what you have to do to have track position at the end of the race." The #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will carry a special decal this weekend in memory of Cecil Wilson, who passed last week at age 77 after a battle with cancer.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis for Michigan is PRS-857 which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is PRS-844 which has never races but has been a backup at several races.
#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 427 at Michigan International Speedway. This #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable. Menard has 13 starts at Michigan International Speedway. His best start of ninth and best finish of fourth both came in 2011. The Wisconsin native has completed 2,564 of 2,610 laps attempted (98.2 percent) at the Brooklyn, Mich., track, leading 14 of them.
#29-Kevin Harvick: and the #29 Budweiser team will utilize Chassis No. 378 from the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) stable. Harvick has raced this car twice in 2013 and earned a 13th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway and an 11th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Harvick has made 24 starts at Michigan. In those events he has scored one win (August 2010), three top fives and eight top-10 finishes. He's completed 99.1 percent of the laps run at the track in NSCS competition since 2001 (4,660 of 4,701) and holds an average starting position of 18.1 and an average finish of 14.8 at the 2-mile track.
#31-Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 372 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. This #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet was utilized earlier this season at Bristol Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. This weekend's 400-mile event marks Burton's 39th start at the two-mile facility and 670th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Burton has garnered four top-five and nine top-10 finishes at the track, along with two pole awards in 1996 and 2006. He has also led 76 laps at the Brooklyn, Mich.-based race track.
#33-Austin Dillon will pilot chassis No. 418 in the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. This former #27 entry was driven by teammate Paul Menard to a 13th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, and a 17th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April before it was converted to the black and green colors of American Ethanol. Dillon competed in last year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. He posted lap times consistent with the top 10 competitors and ran in the top 15 before a broken radio caused him to fall one lap down to the race leader and finish 24th.
#39-Ryan Newman will pilot Chassis No. 39-760 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in this weekend's Quicken Loans 400. Built new for 2013, Chassis 39-760 made laps in January at Charlotte while participating in the final test for NASCAR's sixth-generation Sprint Cup car. It saw its first laps of racing competition in March at Las Vegas, where ill handling and an expired engine relegated Newman to a 38th-place finish. Since then, Chassis No. 39-760 was outfitted with aerodynamic updates and was tested last month in a wind tunnel. In 23 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan, Newman has two wins, five top-five finishes and seven top-10s. Newman, a 35-year-old from South Bend, Ind., also has led 97 laps, has an average starting position of 11.4 and an average finish of 17.7 at the 2-mile oval.
#43-Aric Almirola: The #43 Eckrich / Operation Homefrond team has prepared chassis No. 843 for Michigan. Most recently, Almirola drove this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season. Almirola has six starts at the Michigan track over all three NASCAR premier series. He and crew chief Todd Parrott are no strangers to Victory Lane at the two-mile oval. Almirola won the truck series race in 2010, while Parrott has three Cup series wins there. Parrott knows how to get around the Michigan track. In his 29 starts as a crew chief, he has an average finish of 12.8 and 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: will drive chassis No. 784 at Michigan, this chassis last ran at Charlotte in the All-Star race and won. Also finished 3rd at Kansas and 12th at Auto Club Speedway in 2013. Chassis No. 720 serves as the backup and won two races in 2012.
#55-Mark Martin: is running Chassis 776 which has not raced in 2013. In 54 starts, Martin owns five victories and 18 top-five finishes. He's led 965 laps and won two poles. He won the pole for the August race. Bill Elliott leads the series in starts at Michigan with 61. Terry Labonte leads all active drivers with 55 starts; followed by Martin with 54.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.:crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-716. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in May. Notably, this is the same chassis Earnhardt drove to Victory Lane in Michigan last June. In 27 Cup starts at Michigan, Earnhardt has recorded two wins, two pole positions, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has completed 99.2 percent of all laps he's attempted (5,252 laps of 5,295 total) and led 293 laps. Earnhardt's two career pole positions at Michigan are tied for first as career-bests for the 38-year-old driver. He also has captured two career poles at Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Fastenal team will be bringing chassis RK 854 which is a new chassis for the 2013 season. Backup chassis RK 826 last ran in Texas. Edwards will make his 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Michigan International Speedway Sunday. In his previous 17 starts, Edwards has two wins, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. His average start at Michigan is 21.1, his average finish is 8.2. He has completed 99 percent of the laps he has attempted at the two-mile track. Only four times in his previous 17 starts has Edwards finished outside the top 10. Fastenal returns to the track with supplier brands Widia, Walter Meier, ITW and Weiler on the hood, TV panel, deck lid and B-post.
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Michigan
By: Jeff Wackerlin
To help you make your fantasy racing picks, MotorRacingNetwork.com's Jeff Wackerlin brings you his weekly detailed analysis to help steer you toward Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Who's HOT at Michigan
• Greg Biffle, who holds the best driver rating, scored his third win last August.
• Two-time winner Carl Edwards leads all drivers with an 8.2 average finish.
• Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has posted a 2.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface.
• Clint Bowyer is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in the last four races.
• Tony Stewart has finished ninth or better in five of his last six starts.
• Two-time winner Matt Kenseth - making first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing - has only finished outside the top 15 four times in 27 starts.
• Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski have each finished in the top five in two of their last three starts.
• Five-time winner Mark Martin - who led 54 laps last August - leads all drivers with 31 top 10s.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Michigan
• Kasey Kahne will be driving the same car he finished second with at Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
• Marcose Ambrose (7.0), Martin Truex Jr. (11.0), Ryan Newman (11.5) and Kevin Harvick (13.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have competed in the last two races on Michigan's newly paved track surface.
• Kyle Busch has the most wins (2) and has led the most laps (227) in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
• Kurt Busch and Trevor Bayne tested at Michigan last month.
• Joey Logano (led 41 laps) and Denny Hamlin both battled for the win at Auto Club Speedway in March before making contact on the final lap. Both also ranked second and third, respectively, in average running position throughout that race.
• Jeff Gordon has finished sixth or better in five of the last eight Michigan races.
Note: Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination of left- and right-side Goodyear tires they ran last August at Michigan. This is also the same tire setup Cup teams have run in the last two races at Kansas Speedway.
MotorRacingNetwork.com Writer Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Kasey Kahne
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Dustin Long: Kasey Kahne
John Singler: Jimmie Johnson
Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Michigan unless noted)
Jimmie Johnson: 16.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; One of five tracks on the schedule that he has yet to win at; 15.2 average finish in 22 starts; Fifth-place finish in this event was fourth top five; Led 23 laps last August until an engine issue; 11.2 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
Carl Edwards: 8.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Last of two wins came in the 2008 August race; Sixth-place finish last August is 13th top 10 in 17 starts; Finished Fourth in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; 12.4 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will debut a new car (chassis No. 854) in the Quicken Loans 400.
Clint Bowyer: Tied for the second-best best average finish (7.0) in the two races on the new track surface; Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Finished seventh in two starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 758) that he last finished fifth with at Kansas Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: Defending race winner; Tied for the best average finish (2.5) in the two races on the new track surface; 10.7 average finish in 10 starts with Hendrick Motorsports; 4.8 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same chassis (No. 716) that he raced to the win last June; This car last finished seventh in the All-Star Race.
Kevin Harvick: Winner of the 2010 August race; 13.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; 13.0 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he finished 11th with in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Matt Kenseth: 10.0 average finish (9.6 overall in 27 starts) in the two races on the new track surface; Last of two wins came in the 2006 August race; Making first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing; Led 10 laps and finished seventh in first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; 10.6 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2010 August race; 22.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; 13.8 average finish in 10 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Led 125 laps en route to the win in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; 9.8 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
Kasey Kahne: 18.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; An accident in this event last year relegated him to a 33rd-place finish in his first track start with Hendrick Motorsports; Finished ninth in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; 13.2 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 793) that he finished second with at Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway (led 161 laps).
Brad Keselowski: 7.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Coming off second top five in last three starts; 11.8 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 841) that he finished sixth with at Kansas Speedway.
Greg Biffle: Coming off third win in 20 starts; Tied for the best average finish (2.5) in the two races on the new track surface; Finished sixth in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; 7.4 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club). Will return in the same car (chassis No. 817) that he finished 15th with in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Jeff Gordon: Engine issues last August snapped streak of two consecutive sixth-place finishes; Has finished sixth or better in five of the last eight races; 17.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Last of two Michigan wins came in this race in 2001.
Paul Menard: Coming off second top 10 in four starts with Richard Childress Racing; Only top 10 (fourth) in 13 starts came in this event in 2011; 15.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Finished eighth in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 427) in the Quicken Loans 400.
Tony Stewart: 10.6 average finish in eight starts with Stewart-Haas racing; An engine issue last August snapped streak of consecutive top 10s at five races; 17.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; 13.2 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club). Will return in the same car (chassis No. 735) that he last finished seventh with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Aric Almirola: 18.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 843) that he last finished seventh with at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kurt Busch: 30.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Last of two wins came in the 2007 August race with Penske Racing; Finished fifth in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; Tested last month at Michigan; Marking first track start with Furniture Row Racing.
Joey Logano: 19.6 average finish in eight starts; 33.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Led 41 laps and finished third in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; Will make first track start with Penske Racing driving a new car (chassis No. 844) in the Quicken Loans 400.
Martin Truex Jr: Coming off second top 10 in six starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 11.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; 13.4 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club).
Ryan Newman: 11.5 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Finished 10th in the first race on a two-mile speedway (Auto Club) with the Gen-6 car; 9.0 average finish in the last five races on two-mile speedways (Michigan and Auto Club); Will return in the same car (chassis 760) that he finished 38th with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway due to an expired engine; This car was tested last month in a wind tunnel.
Jamie McMurray: 14.0 average finish in the two races on the new track surface; Has yet to finish in the top 10 in six starts driving an Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr: Making first Sprint Cup track start; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 814) that he last finished 25th with at Martinsville Speedway.
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
NASCAR heads to Michigan
The NASCAR circuit takes on a second straight long track on Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. This 2-mile D-shaped oval track was built in 1968 and remains one of the fastest tracks out there. Banking is 18° for all four turns, with a frontstretch of 3,600 feet (0.68 miles) banked at 12° and a much flatter 5° backstretch measuring 2,242 feet (0.43 miles).
Since 2006, there has been only three repeat winners over these 14 races at Michigan, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards each have two wins during this stretch.
Drivers to Watch
Denny Hamlin (10/1) - He is certainly back in the swing of things after missing four races with his back injury. Since his return, Hamlin has finished eighth or better in three of four races. The one exception was Dover, when he was racing from the pole position and leading for 41 laps before crashing. Hamlin's double-digit odds at Michigan are certainly favorable considering his history here (two wins, five top-5's in 14 starts). In the past four spring races at this track, he's finished 3rd, 1st, 1st and 34th last spring as the result of a crash.
Greg Biffle (12/1) - The defending champion of this track racked up his third career win at Michigan last fall, giving him an impressive nine top-5's in 20 starts at this venue. The streaky Biffle could be poised to go on a nice little run here as we approach the start of summer. After a 7.5 average finish over a four-race stretch, he then had six straight finishes outside the top-12 (25.0 average). Last week we predicted Biffle (35-to-1 odds) to contend at Pocono, and he made us look great with a second-place showing. You could certainly make the case of placing your largest wager on Biffle this weekend, as he and Hamlin appear to shine above the rest in terms of betting value.
Jimmie Johnson (4/1) - Maybe the weekly advice should be laying an automatic unit on Johnson, whose three wins in 14 races this season have come with 12-to-1 odds (Daytona), 4-to-1 odds (Martinsville) and 5-to-1 odds (Pocono). And even though he hadn't won at Pocono since 2004, we still picked Johnson as the best bet of the five chalkiest drivers last week (Hamlin, Kenseth, Kahne and Kyle Busch), and he sure came through. Johnson has never won at Michigan, but he's finished sixth or better five times in his past 11 starts at this track. In his past three starts, he came in 2nd place, 5th place and 27th last fall due to engine failure in a race he led for 23 laps. He's incredibly chalky for a driver that has never won at this venue, but Johnson is just too hot to ignore completely.
Matt Kenseth (7/1) - He has really struggled since winning at Darlington, placing 15th at Charlotte, 40th (engine problems) at Dover and 25th at Pocono. But this is exactly the setting to move back up the standings. His average finish is an impressive 9.6 in 27 career starts at Michigan, where he's finished outside the top-20 just once due to a crash in the 2007 spring race. The past two spring races, Kenseth finished runner-up in 2011 to Denny Hamlin, and then placed third last year.
Joey Logano (40/1) - There aren't a whole lot of darkhorses to choose from in this race, but Logano has performed well enough on all different sized tracks to like him again here. In the past eight races he's actually finished (excluding Kansas crash and Talladega engine problems) the 23-year-old has placed 10th or better six times (3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 7th and 10th). He also has three top-10's in his past seven starts at Michigan.
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Michigan Quicken Loans 400 Preview
By Dan Margetta and John Wiedemann
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into the heart of the American auto industry near Detroit as the Michigan International Speedway hosts the Quicken Loans 400 Sunday afternoon. Located in
the Irish Hills of Michigan, MIS is a sweeping two mile oval which has seen incredible speeds since the track was repaved a year ago. The track has since had a winter season for the pavement to settle and it will be interesting to see if the new Gen 6 car can produce the same eye-popping lap times that were evident a year ago. Michigan’s wide layout leaves plenty of room for three and four wide racing, often times with few caution flags which makes fuel mileage a crucial element in planning a race strategy.
The Quicken Loans 400 is scheduled to start at 1:16pm on Sunday, June 16th. Two hundred laps around the 2 mile oval make up the 400 mile distance at the Michigan International Speedway.
The following are the drivers we think you should be watching this weekend.
Dan Margetta: “Superman” flexed his muscles and put a hurting on the field last week at Pocono as Jimmie Johnson drove to a dominating win. Michigan, however, could be his Kryptonite as it’s one of the few tracks Johnson has yet to win at. He’s been close before, even running out of fuel on the final lap, but if there is ever a time to check Michigan off the list, it’s now as currently, this team is outperforming everyone by a mile. One thing to keep in mind however, is with such a large point lead, the #48 team could go into “test” mode the next few weeks as they look ahead to the Chase.
John Wiedemann: Carl Edwards is really good at Michigan. With the exception of two races, Edwards has finished in the top twelve in every Sprint Cup race he competed at the track, including wins in 2007 and 2008. Missing the top ten in the last three races, Edwards can use some of his Michigan magic to get back on track and challenge Jimmie Johnson for the top spot in the point standings. I expect a sure top five and possible shot at victory lane this weekend out of the driver of the #99.
DM: Matt Kenseth has a pretty stellar record at Michigan with two wins, twelve top five finishes, and seventeen top ten results. He also holds the second best driver rating among the competitors. The wildcard factor in all this is that these performances were all behind the wheel of a Roush-Fenway Ford and with the horsepower scaled down in his Joe Gibbs Racing Tortoise I mean Toyota, in search of reliability, he could find himself having a hard time keeping up with the powerhouse Hendrick teams at a track where horsepower is key. Engine issues the last two weeks have slowed down the #20 team’s effort which has allowed Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team to roam freely at the front of the field. Despite being down on power which may not be as big of a factor with the track pavement now settled, Kenseth and the #20 team will look to regain their edge this week counting on other factors such as chassis set-up and fuel strategy.
JW: In the last three races Tony Stewart has shot up the point standings with finishes of 7th, 1st and 4th. He now sits thirteenth in the points with a grip on one of the Chase Wild Card entrees. Prior to the 7th place finish at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart hadn’t had a top ten finish since the second race of the season. Heating up in summertime has been the mode of operations for Stewart and he is solidly in that mode right now. Stewart has one win at Michigan, back in 2000, and just broke a streak of five top tens in the fall race last year when he lost an engine. A Wild Card won’t necessarily cut it with Stewart, he will be looking for a solid spot in the top ten of the point standings. Look for Stewart to be tough this weekend and in the weeks to come.
DM: “The Biff” bounced back last week at Pocono with a second place finish that was for the most part best in class as Jimmie Johnson had the field covered. Biffle has won three times at the Michigan oval to go along with nine top five finishes and twelve top ten finishes. He is the best rated driver in the field Sunday and momentum from the strong Pocono run should carry over this weekend. Historically Roush-Fenway Racing has fared very well at Michigan and it’s the right place for the organization to get back to victory lane with Biffle being the favorite to accomplish it. Currently holding the last Chase point standings spot, in tenth place, Biffle and the #16 need victories to lock in their spot in the title hunt and don’t forget, they were the winners here last August.
JW: Not one driver was happy at Joe Gibbs Racing or Michael Waltrip Racing with the de-tuned Toyota engines. Solid, reliable finishes are important but most drivers would rather have a shot at the win. It will be interesting to see how much re-tuning (is that a word) is put back into the Toyota engines and how competitive they will be. Busch will be one to watch as he will be getting everything he can out of his motor. Statistically, Busch’s finishes have been all over the map at Michigan but he did win the second race in the 2011 season. 2012′s results were not as good, but I am looking at a rebound to 2011 this weekend.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
DM: Junior Nation ought to invade the Michigan International Speedway in droves as the track has been the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last two victories. It’s the only track NASCAR’s most popular driver has been able to conquer in the last five years. The #88 team turned in a strong race last week at Pocono with a third place finish and with favorable Michigan on the horizon, Dale Jr. is definitely a contender this weekend. Earnhardt and the #88 team finished second at California earlier this season and Michigan closely resembles that facility.
JW: Denny Hamlin needs reliability out of the Toyota engines but he really needs wins badly. Last weekend’s finish of eighth only moved him up one spot in the standings and he is still a long way (76 points) from the top twenty. Along with the top twenty spot he will also probably need two wins. Michigan would be considered a good track for Hamlin to find a win since he has won twice there in 2010 and 2011. But, the engine questions remain. Hamlin will continue to be “one to watch” all the way to the Chase.
DM: Once again, I’ll make Kurt Busch my long shot pick this weekend and maybe, just maybe, he’ll finally break through to victory lane. This team continues to run up front and has posted top fifteen finishes in five of the last six races, with the one poor result being when he tumbled down the Talladega backstretch while battling for the lead late in the race. Kurt Busch finished fifth at California back in March and the pieces are in place for a win this weekend. We’ve seen this movie lots of times in 2013 with this team and each time it hasn’t ended with a victory, yet we keep watching thinking the outcome will be different. Maybe this weekend at Michigan, they’ll prove all this faith we’ve had in this team has been justified.
JW: Brad Keselowski returns home to a Michigan track that I’m sure is high on his list of tracks to win at. I’m sure that list of tracks would be any track he has ever seen. Statistically, the second Michigan race on the schedule has been better for Keselowski with him scoring a third in 2011 and second place finish in 2012. Going on that trend, Keselowski should win the next Michigan race on August 18th. But, who better to buck a trend, I’m going with Bad Brad to win this weekend’s race at Michigan.
Re: Quicken Loans 400 Betting News and Notes
Quicken Loans 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Kurt Busch was fastest in both of Saturday's practice sessions at Michigan International Speedway, the final preparation for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. Busch, a two-time winner at Michigan, has been fast during practice almost everywhere that requires lots of horsepower. Although the No. 78 is running with very similar packages as the Hendrick cars, this team is still a single-car operation based out of Denver. His speeds are one of the best stories in NASCAR this season.
Until Busch finally hits payday and wins a race, we still have to temper our expectations and look at others who practiced well, which takes us right into Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne. Johnson and Kahne probably practiced the best, aside from Busch. Johnson had the best 10-consecutive lap average in the first session, and Kahne was best during happy hour.
If this were a normal track for Johnson one where he claimed one of his 63 career wins he would be elevated to the top of the charts. But it isn't. He's led the most laps over the past eight years of races at Michigan, but the checkers have been avoiding him in every imaginable display of bad luck. Because of the track holding some kind of hex over Johnson, that plays into the part of rating.
Edwards practiced well, but what sets him over the top as the top candidate to win this week is his past history. No one has a better average finish (8.2) at Michigan than Edwards, and no one has more wins at Michigan than Roush Fenway Racing (12). All we needed to see in Saturday's practices was that Edwards had some speed to confirm that he would be the driver to beat Sunday. He had the second-fastest lap in the early session and was fifth fastest during happy hour. Between all the history Ford, Roush and Edwards have had at Michigan, and the Roush cars appearing to be on an upswing, the No. 99 is the car to beat.
Mark Martin gets a strong look this week because he's the only Toyota running at full horsepower. In a precautionary move for their drivers in the Chase hunt, Toyota Racing Development reduced the horsepower on Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr's cars by about 12-to-15 horses.
Martin has won five times at Michigan, but more importantly, the maximum Toyota horsepower engine setup has won five races this season on fast tracks. During final practices, Martin was fast in short and long runs. Martin looked like what we had seen in practices earlier this season with Kyle Busch and Kenseth.
With Martin being the lone power guy for Toyota, a wager on him also takes on the risk of having an engine that forced TDR to make a change. Their engines were expiring.
Winning races was great early on, but now it's about points racing for a lot of these drivers. When you blow an engine, you blow a day and end up with a finish position in the 30's, which can blow up a season. Martin is not in the Chase race and is expendable, but he's also very fast. His large price makes the reward trump the risk in this spot.