We saw how Pocono worked. Starting position mattered there in Race 1 but not so much for Race 2. Heading into Pocono, four of their last five winners came from a top 10 starting spot including three from the top four. It paid off on Saturday but on the Sunday race, the same two drivers that were 1-2 in Race No. 1, were 1-2 in Race No. 2. They started on Row 10 but still made their ways forward.
Expect that to happen at Michigan.
This track has more than enough lanes to race on so it should be easier for the guys coming from midpack due to good finishes on Saturday, to find their ways to the front on Sunday. Yes, nine straight Michigan winners have come from a top 12 starting spot, but that likely changes on Sunday.
The good guys at Michigan are good for a reason and will be so during both days. With how well Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are running right now, I think your winner is from that group.
Combined, this group has won 15 of the 20 races run this season including 12 of the 16 during the pandemic.
Harvick (3 top 2 finishes in last 4 Michigan starts) to go along with seven straight top fives on the season, Hamlin has 8 top 2s this year, 4 in the last 7 races, Truex Jr (4 top 6 finishes in last 6 Michigan tries) has three top three finishes in his last four starts on the season, Keselowski (3 top 6’s last 4 in Michigan) has five straight top 10s, three in the top four, including a top 11 in all but two races back from the pandemic and Logano (12 top 10’s in last 14 Michigan starts) with two top fives in the last three races are the ones to beat.
Aric Almirola has nine straight top 10s tie season, Cole Custer has four top 10s in his last five starts and Matt DiBenedetto has three top six finishes in his last six.
Good luck topping that group. The Fords have won four straight and you have six Fords part of that grouping.
Hamlin and Truex should handle the weight for a Toyota team that hasn’t won at Michigan since 2015 (only win in their last 16 tries there). Kyle Busch in winless this season (20 starts) and has one win in his last 42 starts overall, but does have six straight top 10s at Michigan too. Still, Toyota says that they are still lacking and this is a big track. That suits the Fords.
Hendrick Motorsports hasn’t won a race at Michigan since 2014 but Chase Elliott (3 runner-ups, 7 top 10’s in 8 Michigan tries and Alex Bowman (Fontana winner) could prevail. Kurt Busch (3 top 6 finishes, 1 a runner-up in last 4 Michigan starts) could help Chevy get their second win in the last 13 points paying races.
Still, I think the heavyweights shine and this being an SHR or Penske race to lose.