Here are five drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the Consumers Energy 400.
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Michigan International Speedway for the second and final trip to the Irish Hills this season.
All of the five drivers from the last edition of who to watch finished inside the top-5 at Pocono Raceway. Now the focus shifts to Michigan with just four races remaining before the NASCAR playoffs begin.
Will one of the drivers currently outside the NASCAR playoffs win and earn their spot this weekend? Will we see another first time winner in the Cup Series? Can the “Big Three” of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr. pick up yet another win?
Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Michigan International Speedway.
Chase Elliott finally broke through to pick up his first win in the NASCAR Cup Series last week at Watkins Glen. Now Elliott comes to one of his best tracks, Michigan International Speedway.
Elliott has the best average finish, 5.2, among all active drivers in the last four races. Elliott has four top-10 finishes and 52 laps led in his last four races at Michigan.
With a win under his belt, Elliott has the confidence and momentum to do it again and add to his playoff points total.
Kevin Harvick visits Michigan International Speedway with the highest average finish among the “Big Three” in the last four races at Michigan.
Harvick finished second in June and has an average finish of 8.5 in his last four races at Michigan. Staying up front in the lead pack will be key to Harvick continuing his strong finishes at Michigan.
“Usually, when you’re hooked up at Michigan, the leaders have clean air and move through traffic pretty well,” said Harvick in his pre-race report.
“But, if you’re in the middle of the pack, you find yourself getting behind and going a lap down pretty quickly.”
“When we go back this time, there should be lots of room to race and you’ll see lots of speed. As we go through the restarts and traffic and different things, we’ll have to see how it all goes, but it should be interesting.”
Kyle Larson is pulling double-duty this weekend has he competes in the Knoxville Nationals. On the NASCAR side, Larson has won three of the last four races at Michigan.
However, Larson would like to forget the Michigan race in June where he finished 28th.
Despite that poor finish, Larson still has led the most laps, 140, among all active drivers in the last four races. Larson will be a driver to keep an eye on at Michigan International Speedway.
Larson’s teammate, Jamie McMurray is another driver to keep an eye on at Michigan International Speedway.
McMurray has four top-10 finishes in the last four races at Michigan International Speedway. During those four races he hasn’t led any laps but his worse finish is tenth.
Currently, McMurray is outside of the NASCAR playoffs but could surprise with a win at one of this best tracks.
Kurt Busch only has one top-5 finish in the last four races at Michigan International Speedway. But, he has the fifth best average finish, 9.5, during that stretch.
Busch finished third at Michigan in June and knows how to go fast there.
“Michigan is a tough place because of the way the cars have a certain grip level on fresh tires versus old tires,” said Busch in his pre-race report.
“What I mean by that is, when you put on fresh tires, your tires are cold and they don’t grab the asphalt as well. A lot of guys try to stay out at Michigan with the hot tires on and they get better restarts.”
Busch, like many drivers knows how crazy the restarts at Michigan can be as drivers will sometimes go 4, 5, or even six wide on the front stretch.
“Restarts at Michigan are already pretty wild with how wide the track is and how many lanes there are for options. It comes down to just trying to put yourself in the best position with the best-percentage chance according to whether you’re on fresh tires, or by staying out, as you try to make up spots on restarts.”
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