Fantasy NASCAR Analysis: (FREE) – Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan

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This is Michigan…

  • Extreme one groove lap turner, but a caution will happen, and it will open the floodgates.
  • Michigan is merciless. The track will not allow drivers to pass.
  • Drivers know that the only chance to move through the field is on restarts. Drivers are also keenly aware that starting on the bottom groove is like drag racing on gravel.
  • As the checkered flag approaches, drivers become increasingly volatile. They’re frustration grows with each restart in the quicksand at the bottom of the track. Their patience wears thin.
  • Michigan always ends with a series of cautions.
  • Imagine a 25th place driver that gets to close the race by starting in the prefered groove three consecutive times. That’s a 15th place finish and the tout that told you, “only an idiot would play Trevor Bayne,” can’t log back into twitter until Tuesday.
  • Michigan is a lap turner that ends with indiscriminate Mario Kart lightning bolts.
  • It’s a bad race, and NASCAR plans on using the All-Star package in both Michigan races next year.
  • This is not an impound race. Qualifying is on Friday. If a car fails inspection before the race, then they will go to the back of the field, but they will be scored from their original qualifying position (this happened to 3 of the 4 JGR cars in the June race). There shouldn’t be a lot of place differential chalk this week.

 

Michigan 2018

  • Kevin Harvick started up front, but he could not seize the lead from worthy opponents.
  • Harvick was unable to pass Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney. In stage #2, Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon took two tires and the lead. On the restart, those clowns nearly wrecked the field, but an accordion effect brought out a caution. On the following restart, Harvick quickly disposed of Kahne. In clear air, Harvick never relinquished the lead until Bowyer took two tries to start stage 3. Harvick could have cleared Bowyer from the slow groove, but he was patient and kind to his teammate. A lap later rain ended the race.
  • From there…it’s pretty simple. A tenth place car runs in tenth place at a lap tuner, but there is one catch. Restarts are unequal. A tenth place car that starts in the top groove becomes a seventh place car. A tenth place car that starts on the bottom becomes a 13th place car.
  • It was just another intermediate track controlled by the usual suspects, but with Martin Truex, Jr. looking suspect.
  • SHR were gods.
  • Hendrick was surprisingly good minus James Kenneth Johnson. They have new chassis and have looked speedy this past month. When Junior talks them up on the broadcast, it’s dismissed as favoritism. It’s not. Elliott’s win was a little fluky (Kyle Busch gas can failure and Truex ran out of gas), but he had a winning car. Whether he is a winning driver is still in question for some, but not me. He has one win in 99 races, and it was at a road course. He is not a winning driver.
  • JGR got busted modifying their splitters and they were sent to the back moments before the first Michigan race, but they eventually migrated into the top 10. Suarez was the one car that wasn’t busted cheating, but he was the one car that got into a wreck (Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne accordion).
  • Penske had top 10 cars, maybe even top 5 cars.
  • Menard took two tires at the end and was able to hold his spot upfront. We could see more cars gamble with this strategy, but not many. It did not work for Kahne and Dillon. A 20th to 25th place car can’t make this work, but a 10th to 15th place car can.
  • Ryan Newman’s average running position of 14th is the result of starting 11th and holding on. Unfortunately, he did not restart in the prefered groove at the end and he finished 23rd. In 2017, he road the fast lane to an undeserved 4th place finish. That’s Michigan DFS – Lotto ball value and mid range plays.
  • A.J., Bubba, and Ty got more than they deserve at the end. They finished 11th, 12th, and 14th on the DFS scoreboard (Lotto ball value and mid range plays).
  • Stenhouse caused the wreck that ended the race. If he doesn’t wreck, then Harvick passes Bowyer in the next corner. I’m too lazy to drum up another Stenhouse conspiracy.
  • Larson drove from 26th to the top 10 with ease. He had a top 5 car, but he was pushing the car to the limit in a race against mother nature. He got loose and spun out. There wasn’t a lot of damage, but he did not get back on the lead lap until the very end.
  • Average running position vs. finishing position
    • 69% of the field finished within 3 spots of their average running position.
    • 70% of the DFS top 10 finished within 3 spots of their average running position.
    • 65% of the DFS top 20 finished within 3 spots of their average running position.
      • You finish where you run minus the late race restart winners and losers (that’s why it’s not 100%). Passing just does not happen at this track.

 

Lineup thoughts

  • Is Harvick/Truex/Busch a must play? I lean yes. The weather led to more cautious than usual in the June race. If we get long runs, which we should, then the elite should take over. If they start on the pole, then it’s a no brainer
  • There aren’t a lot of laps, but there will be multiple hogs in the optimal lineup. The hogs do not have to be the elite drivers. Kurt and Blaney were hogs in June. Team Penske could lead laps, if they start on the pole. Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson could have been hogs in June, if they didn’t start in the back. Track position should guide your hog picks this week.
  • Mid range and value picks are lotto balls.
  • Punting may not be necessary. I would consider a decent $5000 range driver starting in the 30s, but it’s not a must. Enough $6,000 and $7,000 range drivers will nail the last restart and earn a top 15 and +8 place differential points.

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