Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan (Cup Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Brad Keselowski has crashed the Kevin Harvick/Denny Hamlin Cup Series party
- In the backyard of the American auto industry. bragging rights are at stake.
- Joey Logano starts Firekeepers Casino 400 from the customary spot – on the pole.
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NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan Odds
|Kevin Harvick||+450 |
|Denny Hamlin||+550 |
|Joey Logano||+700 |
|Brad Keselowski||+800 |
|Martin Truex Jr.||+850 |
|Chase Elliott||+900 |
|Ryan Blaney||+1000 |
|Kyle Busch||+1000 |
|Aric Almirola||+1400 |
|Alex Bowman||+3000 |
|Kurt Busch||+3500 |
|Erik Jones||+3500 |
|Clint Bowyer||+4000 |
|Matt DiBenedetto||+4000 |
|William Byron||+4500 |
|Jimmie Johnson||+5000 |
|Tyler Reddick||+5000 |
|Christopher Bell||+6000 |
|Cole Custer||+6000 |
|Austin Dillon||+6600 |
|Matt Kenseth||+6500 |
|Ryan Newman||+12500 |
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Firekeepers Casino 400 Predictions and Picks
At +800, Joey Logano is too attractive a pick to pass up. Logano won the pole lottery and will start from the top spot on Sunday. All three of his Michigan wins have come from the pole.
For those inclined to back long shots, look no further than Kurt Busch (+2800), another three-time winner at the track. Busch got his last Michigan win with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2015. He finished second in last year’s June race with his current Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Joey Logano +800
How to Watch the Michigan Cup Race
|Firekeepers Casino Event Information|
|What||Firekeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Where||Michigan International Speedway|
|When||Saturday, August 8, 4 p.m. EST|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
In Saturday’s Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, the focus should be on veterans who already have enjoyed success at NASCAR’s highest level. In the 101 Cup races held at the two-mile track, only two drivers have scored their maiden wins in the series—Dale Jarrett in 1991 and Kyle Larson in 2016.
The first race of a weekend Cup doubleheader will be contested at 156 laps (312 miles), with stage breaks after 40 and 85 laps. Joey Logano won the first Michigan race last year. Kevin Harvick is the most recent winner at the track. Ford drivers have won the last four Michigan races.
During the week before the Cup doubleheader, Leavine Family Racing, which fields Toyotas for Christopher Bell (+5000), announced that the team would be sold to an as-yet-unnamed buyer at the end of the season. Joe Gibbs Racing then announced it would sever ties with Erik Jones at the end of the year, presumably to make room for Bell.
Jones (+3500) no doubt will be motivated to pad his resume for the rest of the season.
Brad Keselowski Has Crashed the Kevin Harvick/Denny Hamlin Party
Since NASCAR’s reopening at Darlington Raceway in May, Brad Keselowski has been remarkably consistent. He finished 13th in the first Darlington race, but since then, the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford has posted only two finishes outside the top 10—19th at Talladega and 11th at Pocono.
Keselowski’s stellar string includes three victories, none more decisive than the spanking he applied to the rest of the field last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. That win helped elevate Keselowski’s competitive status to nearly equal footing with Denny Hamlin (five victories) and Kevin Harvick (four).
“That felt really good,” Keselowski said after the race. “Third win of the year, but first kind of win where we’ve been able to kind of take control of the race. Gosh, that feels good. That feels so good.”
Keselowski, born into a blue-collar racing family from Rochester Hills, Michigan, would feel even better if he could get a victory at Michigan this weekend. The 36-year-old driver has never won at the marquee track in his home state. But the New Hampshire win apparently settled Bad Brad’s contract negotiations. During the week, Team Penske announced an extension for the talented driver.
Michigan Races Bring Intense Rivalry Between Manufacturers
Maybe it’s just coincidence, but in 13 years of competition, Toyota has won just four of 26 races at Michigan International Speedway. Kyle Busch got the last win for the Japanese carmaker in 2011. Since then Ford and Chevrolet drivers have battled for and shared all the spoils.
With both Ford and Chevrolet based in the Detroit area, the competition is intense for the Heritage Trophy, which goes to the Michigan winner. Ford has maintained a lock on the prize for the last two years, having won the last four Michigan races. Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports, would love to see that string continue.
“Michigan for us is a very special track,” Rushbrook said in a Zoom call with reporters. “I’m 20 miles from the track right now, sitting here in my house. It’s our home track… We’ve been strong here the last several races—the last four races with wins—and hoping to continue the momentum that we’ve seen so far this season. We’ve got a lot of strong cars and looking forward to two good races this weekend.”
Joey Logano Is on the Pole, and That’s a Bad Omen for Everyone Else
OK, Joey Logano didn’t win the pole for Saturday’s Firekeepers Casino 400 by setting the fastest lap in qualifying. After reopening in May, NASCAR scrapped time trials in favor of a lottery system in which the top 12 cars in owner points draw for the top 12 starting positions.
Logano’s No. 22 team drew the top starting spot, and that should concern everyone else in the field. All three of Logano’s wins at Michigan, including his victory last June, have come from the pole position. Only once has Logano topped qualifying at the two-mile track and failed to win the race. Of late, in a general sense, Logano has been pleased with the speed in his Mustang.
“I feel like we’ve been making some good progress here over the last few weeks in getting some speed back in our cars to where we can run in the top five again consistently,” Logano says. “We’re just looking for smooth races at this point… It seems like we’re getting back on track right at the right time to head into the Playoffs, so I’m looking for a strong weekend here with a couple races, and hopefully, we can come out of there with a couple of trophies and keep that Heritage Trophy.”
Obviously, we like Logano’s chance to do just that.
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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]