After two weeks of road course racing, I am more than ready to get back to some familiar territory with an oval. Michigan is sure to be an exciting race following two weeks with an abundance of controversy to fuel the entire field as the playoff cut date is looming grimly.

The regular season is on the cusp of ending and Michigan is the only track before Daytona and the playoffs. Drivers with a lot on the line know that this could be their last sure shot to make it into the playoffs. Daytona is a chaos-driven event, so anyone hoping to have a consistent day and scoot into the playoffs is in trouble. This race is viewed by drivers as their last true shot to point their way into the playoffs; Daytona is the hail mary.

Kevin Harvick has been a heavy favorite for this week, and I think that he has a shot to make it happen. He’s won 4 of the last 6 races, but SHR has still been dragging their feet in terms of competition. Despite Chase Briscoe’s near-win last week at Indy, there is a lot of work to be done to make this team a threat consistently. 

Favorite: Denny Hamlin

Hamlin has got to be on a new level of determination. Say all you want about the man’s clutch gene, but he’s still one of the best drivers in the field and with a huge chip being placed on his shoulder already. Last week might’ve been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We might start to see “Dark Denny” come out to play. A driver who cares little about friends and only about finding that elusive championship.

Hamlin boasts an amazing 50% top 10 rate at this track with 2 wins. He is still a lock for playoffs at this point, but this team needs a major momentum booster to be competitive once they get here. Each week Larson has chipped away at his points lead and now he finds himself looking up at the 5-team. I think that this might be as far as Hamlin can be pushed and this week will determine if he breaks or attacks back.

Dark Horse: Austin Dillon

Just like Hamlin, Dillon has been getting all the wrong buttons pushed and finds himself in a much more desperate situation. He also finds himself getting punted from the playoffs by his younger teammate. There is a different kind of motivation fueling Dillon. He’s supposed to be the flagship driver and has always carried the weight of being a “silver spoon” kid on his shoulders. To have his younger teammate steal a playoff spot from him is a tough pill to swallow.

This is a track that Dillon has had success at but it’s an inconsistent success. There is the potential for a sneaky win with Dillon this week, and while he knows his abilities at Daytona, this RCR team might bring their best to Michigan for both their boys.

Fantasy:

High-End Picks:

  1. Kyle Larson: $11,500
  2. Denny Hamlin: $10,400
  3. Kyle Busch: $10,800
  4. Kevin Harvick: $10,400
  5. Joey Logano: $9,600

Mid-Tier Picks:

  1. Kurt Busch: $8,500
  2. Alex Bowman: $8,800
  3. Austin Dillon: $8,000
  4. Tyler Reddick: $7,400
  5. Christopher Bell: $8,100

Low-End Picks:

  1. Chris Buescher: $6,500
  2. Bubba Wallace: $6,400
  3. Erik Jones: $6,200
  4. Chase Briscoe: $6,700
  5. Josh Berry: $5,600

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