This weekend the Cup series heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan for the first of two Cup races this weekend. Like previous doubleheader weekends the results of Saturdays race will determine Sundays lineup. Typically I would be at this race as I have gone here the last few years but unfortunately they are not allowing fans so will have to watch these from the comfort of my family room. Michigan is a 2 mile oval which typically has multiple lanes of racing. Last season we saw that clean air was king and Logano dominated the June race here. Michigan and Auto Club are the most comparable however Auto Club has a lot of tire wear whereas Michigan is a track where you can take two tires and play the pit strategy game. I will be looking for 2 dominators in most builds with the possibility of a third.
Martin Truex Jr (DK $10,800 FD $12,800)
The debate this week for me is Kevin Harvick or Truex. Looking at recent races, Truex seems to have a speed advantage on Harvick. Truex was in contention to win both Michigan races last season and scored a 3rd and a 4th place finish. He has also led laps in 4 of the last 6 races here. Harvick has been impressive here winning two of the last three races here, but the dominator side of Harvick has faltered slightly while Truex has seem find more consistency in recent races which will be important as Michigan tends to have longer green flag runs and less chances to work on your car. I also like the fact that Truex is starting 12th and has some built in place differential for a dominator.
Joey Logano (DK $9,700 FD $11,400)
Logano and Hamlin will be starting on the front row on Saturday and I could see an argument for playing either driver. My lean goes to Logano on Saturday. Logano showed last year what clean air means here at Michigan. He dominated the June race here leading 163 laps and backed it up in August leading 52 laps. With it being a shorter race and dominator points coming at a premium I have to believe that Joey gets out front and leads and should stay out during the competition caution with the way the stages are set up. Don’t worry I will be hedging in my gpp lineups with Hamlin in case Joey can’t hold him off early.
Erik Jones (DK $8,800 FD $10,000)
Erik heads back to his home track with some not so great news. It was announced this week that he was not being brought back to JGR so they could bring Bell over to the 20 car. The good thing is Erik is good enough that he will find another quality ride for next season with multiple organizations possibly having openings. However, I know some people are into narratives and the scorned driver with something to prove is a good one for me this week. Erik starts 23rd and has an average finish of around 15th here in his Cup career. He has a solid floor and needs a great finish to stay in contention for a playoff spot. I feel like this could be a good weekend for my fellow Michigan native.
Matt DiBenedetto (DK $8,400 FD $9,300)
Matt is right in the middle of a tight playoff spot battle. He is coming off a great 6th place finish last week at New Hampshire and is heading to a track where he should have more success. In lesser equipment last season, MDB finished 20th and 21st here. At Michigan and Auto Club, the Fords tend to be contenders for the win and great finishes and especially the Penske group which would include MDB. Matt has been on social media talking about how important this race is not only for him but for Ford and I think he knows he needs a good finish going into an unknown next weekend at the Daytona road course. I also think MDB makes a great play on SuperDraft once again at a 1.4x multiplier. I played him at Champion in our core last week and almost took down the main tournament there and looking for similar success again this week!
Ryan Blaney (DK $10,600 FD $12,000)
As i mentioned above Penske cars tend to show up at this track as it was a track owned by Penske himself for many years. Blaney has been one of the fastest Penske drivers all season even if the win total for Brad and Joey show up more in the win column. This race could come down to a strategy play and yes, that seems to be the issue that Blaney runs into at the end of races by being on the wrong end of those calls. I think Blaney’s speed this season plays well into the way that MIS races. If Blaney can find himself on the right end of one these strategy calls and get out front he could grab another victory and try to keep up with his Penske teammates.
Kurt Busch (DK $8,000 FD $10,300)
Kurt has been really good here over his career and especially in recent years. He has three career victories here and has finished inside the top 6 here in 3 of the last 4 races. He starts 10th on Saturday so he has a little place differential upside to offer but his finishing position upside is what I would be looking to target at his price on Draftkings. I think Kurt is a great pivot off of the four drivers ahead of him in price who will get more ownership in tournaments.
Any questions feel free to message me on twitter @davidjr831 and subscribe to the NASCAR package to get final thoughts, core and prop plays for all the races this weekend. Also check out the NHL package as we get ready to head into the playoffs. Our hockey expert has been killing it with his cores to Draftkings, Superdraft, Fanduel and Yahoo and we also have props for that as well. Click the links below to subscribe to both!