Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan (Cup Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Kevin Harvick can double up on dominant Saturday victory at Michigan.
- Fords appear unbeatable as they secure fifth straight win at their “home” track.
- Kyle Busch looks to build on top-five run, but he hasn’t had the speed to win.
NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan Odds
|Martin Truex Jr.||+850|
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Consumers Energy 400 Predictions and Picks
Kevin Harvick had a dominant car in Saturday’s doubleheader opener on Sunday. There’s no reason why he can’t be as effective on Sunday. That’s why we’re going with a sweep for the driver known as “The Closer.”
Kevin Harvick +350
How to Watch the Michigan Cup Race
|Consumers Energy 400 Information|
|What||Consumers Energy 400 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Where||Michigan International Speedway|
|When||Sunday, August 9, 4:30 p.m. EST|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
Same drivers. Same cars. So why not the same result? Kevin Harvick wouldn’t mind. He dominated Saturday’s Firekeepers Casino 400 in the opener of a weekend doubleheader at Michigan International Speedway.
In Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at the two-mile track, Harvick will face an additional challenge. For back-to-back races at the same venue, NASCAR inverts the top 20 finishers from the opener. Accordingly, Harvick will start 20th in Sunday’s race, which is scheduled for 156 laps (312 miles), with stage breaks after 40 and 85 laps.
For the first time in the Cup Series, NASCAR instituted a “choose rule” for Saturday’s race, allowing each driver to pick either the top or bottom lane before each restart. That rule will be in effect in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series for the rest of the season.
Kevin Harvick Favored to Go Back-to-Back at Michigan
Kevin Harvick claimed his second consecutive victory at Michigan on Saturday, and on Sunday he’ll have an excellent chance to add a third straight trophy to his collection—even though he’ll be starting mid-pack because of the inversion of the top 20 finishers from Saturday’s race.
Harvick swept both stages in the Firekeepers Casino 400, led 92 of the 161 laps (including five in overtime) and had enough strength in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to maintain control of the race throughout. He and crew chief Rodney Childers have a setup that works at Michigan, and it won’t be any less formidable in Sunday’s back end of the doubleheader.
“Any time we come to Michigan since I’ve been at Stewart-Haas Racing, these cars have been just lightning fast,” said Harvick, who won for the 54th time, tying NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty for 11th all-time. “It’s definitely a place we feel like we should come up here and contend for the win, and today our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang was just on rails, could go bottom, top, middle, was fast down the straightaway, would do everything that you wanted to do.”
If that’s the case on Sunday, it will be difficult to keep Harvick out of Victory Lane.
Ford Drivers Seek to Maintain Firm Hold on Heritage Trophy
Harvick’s victory on Sunday was the fifth straight for Ford at Michigan International Speedway. Another win on Sunday will give the carmaker undisputed possession of the Heritage Trophy, awarded to the winning manufacturer at the “home track” of the American auto industry.
Behind Harvick, Ford driver Brad Keselowski claimed the runner-up spot, as Ford took three of the top five finishing positions. Keselowski, who dominated last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, should again be a threat on Sunday. So should fellow Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney, who ran fourth on Saturday. Only one problem—they’ll have to beat Harvick.
“He is just super-fast in the corners and the straightaway,” Keselowski said of the race winner. “He was definitely the best car out there today. We put a good effort to kind of maximize our day and that is what we did, finished second. We’ll go back to work on it and hopefully find a little bit more for the race (Sunday).”
Kyle Busch Rebounds with Top-Five Run, Hopes to Build on It
From laps 108 through 111 of Saturday’s race at4 Michigan, Kyle Busch held a short-lived lead—until Kevin Harvick pulled up near the left-rear quarter of Busch’s Toyota, which broke loose and nearly smacked the outside wall.
Busch, however, did an admirable job of retaining control and rallied for a fifth-place result. Winless through 21 races this season, Busch had mixed feelings about the result. He was happy to salvage a top five, but he acknowledged that his car lacked the speed to keep up with Harvick’s.
“The M&M’s Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry was fast—just nowhere near (Harvick’s) level of fast,” Busch said. “The 4 car was just driving away, and I was running wide open and couldn’t even draft with him down the straightaways. We definitely didn’t have the speed we needed but had a good balanced car, good-driving car, and hopefully, we can work on it a little bit tonight and get it better for (Sunday). Just need to be better in traffic and be able to maneuver and be able to pass just a bit more.”
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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.