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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Last year at Michigan International Speedway, Ty Gibbs picked up his fifth victory of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season on the way to the series championship.
On Saturday—now a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver—Gibbs will attempt to defend his victory from last year. He’ll be driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, with veteran Jason Ratcliff as his crew chief.
The major motivation here is extra track time for the Cup Series rookie. Gibbs is the first driver below the cut line for the Cup Playoffs, 18 points behind Michael McDowell for the final berth available on points.
Of course, Gibbs will be trying to win the race, and doubtless he’ll be a contender, but we think an Xfinity Series regular is more likely to take the checkered flag.
We’ll also opt for slightly better odds than the +450 DraftKings Sportsbook is offering for Gibbs, the pre-race favorite.
It’s difficult to judge John Hunter Nemechek’s prowess at Michigan International Speedway.
The 26-year-old Mooresville, North Carolina, native has three starts to his credit at the high-speed, two-mile track, but those starts were in cars fielded by three different car owners.
In 2018, Nemechek finished 13th in a Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. A year later, he posted his best result to date—eighth in a GMS Racing Chevy.
Last year, Nemechek drove Sam Hunt’s Toyota to a 19th-place finish. Admittedly, Nemechek (+500 via DraftKings) will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on Saturday, the best equipment he has driven at Michigan.
Based on past performance, however, we’re not sure Nemechek has a knack for the track, so we’re looking elsewhere for our winner. We do think he’ll beat Ty Gibbs head-to-head at -105 (DraftKings).
Despite failing to win either of the last two NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Michigan International Speedway, JR Motorsports drivers nevertheless have achieved a strong presence at the two-mile track.
In 2021 and 2022, JRM drivers have taken three of the top six finishing positions. Justin Allgaier came closest to victory with a runner-up performance last year, finishing 1.160 seconds behind race winner Ty Gibbs.
Allgaier has show excellent speed of late, starting with his lone victory of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, and he’s confident he’ll be a force at Michigan once again.
“We came close to getting the win here last year, and hopefully we can be that one spot better this weekend,” Allgaier said.
“We have had some unbelievable speed here lately and I know that (crew chief) Jim (Pohlman) and everyone on this No. 7 team will give me just as strong a car again this weekend.”
We agree with Allgaier, who is our pick to win on Saturday at +500 via DraftKings. After all, his bright red paint scheme fits perfectly with the creator of the Cabo Wabo brand—Red Rocker Sammy Hagar.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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