After hot temperatures this week in Race City, USA, the NASCAR Monster Series will be cooling off in the Great Lake State this weekend. The FireKeepers Casino 400 will be a historic race, as Michigan International Speedway will host its 100th race on Sunday. With MIS marking the 16th track the drivers have visited this year, the 2019 season has almost reached the halfway point. In just about five months, these drivers will be racing for the championship at the Homestead Miami Speedway.
This Season, So Far…
Reflecting upon outstanding performances thus far this season, 2015 champion Kyle Busch has proved himself to be a front-runner. Having won four races, Busch has performed on a whole new level this year. Brad Keselowski, 2012 champion, has regained his drive – literally. Adding three wins to his career and currently standing fourth in points, Keselowski could be a notable contender for the championship. Also earning three wins, Martin Truex Jr. is also a driver to beat. The 2017 champion currently stands seventh in season points.
As the drivers approach the Michigan race this Sunday, it seems as if their opinions regarding this racetrack are diverse. For example, Joey Logano, last year’s champion, loves Michigan. Logano has placed in the top 10 in 11 out of his most recent 12 races at MIS. Two of those 11 top 10’s resulted in wins. Can Logano continue his success at MIS and earn his second victory of the season? Not if he is outraced by the outstanding performer of the season, Kyle Busch.
Busch’s luck in Michigan has been fairly decent. He has finished in the top 10 in the four most recent races at MIS. However, he has not won at this track since 2011. Considering his speed this season, he has a fair shot. Reflecting upon his history at this track, a win for Busch may not be extremely likely. Perhaps a top 10 finish may be more probable.
Chase Elliott could be a dark horse this weekend. He has never finished outside of the top 10 at MIS, granted he only has six races under his belt at this track. However, at the rate he is racing this season, he could very well pull a win this weekend, having already won twice this season.
Overall, a particular driver that currently dominates this track is Kyle Larson. He has won three of the last five races at Michigan. Larson has had his share of ups and downs this season, fluctuating between the teens, thirties, and top 10. He is currently standing 16th in season points. Larson may find himself back in the top 10 this weekend, and even grab a victory.
… and the Worst
Jimmie Johnson, on the other hand, is a less fortunate competitor at MIS. Despite his lengthy overall winless streak, Johnson has had a rocky past in Michigan. He has not finished in the top 10 since 2017, and has not won at this track since 2014. In fact, engine issues seem to be a recurring theme for Johnson in Michigan. Engine failure has knocked Johnson out of the running three times in the past 15 years. Taking what he has previously described as a “curse” at MIS into consideration, the odds of winning this weekend may not be in Johnson’s favor.
Win or Lose
Since this track has diverse driver stats, the final outcome could be completely random. The five drivers mentioned above could find themselves running in the back, clenching a top 10, or in victory lane. Nonetheless, odds at MIS are win or lose.
The race will take place on Sunday, June 9, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Michigan International Raceway is a two mile “D-shaped” track. The race will be broadcast on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Practices will be held Friday, June 7 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Qualifying will be held on Saturday, June 8, at noon.
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