Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Michigan Betting Preview: 2016 FireKeepers Casino 400

Kurt Busch won rain-shortened Michigan race last June.
LAS VEGAS -- We can expect to see some different type of racing this week at Michigan International Raceway that may provide a different type of winner thanks to NASCAR reducing the 2016 low downforce package even more. The spoiler will be reduced from 3.5 inches to 2.5 inches and the splitter will be cut down two inches. The trial package will also run at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, which is where the new low down force package was introduced last season.

Joe Gibbs Racing was way ahead of the game when last season when the first set of changes were made and they continued that run this year winning seven of the eight races prior to Kurt Busch winning at Pocono on Monday. They still will likely have an edge this week, but it's possible that several other organizations could benefit. The cars will be looser around the corners putting even more of a premium on drivers ability to handle their cars on entry and exits.

So before we get into drivers who have a nice past history at Michigan and who are rolling right now, we should probably identify a couple drivers that handle loose cars very well. A few off the top of my head that fit the criteria over recent years are Dale Earnhartdt Jr, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. The looser, the better for them.

The thing I like about races at the fast and wide 2-mile D-shaped oval of Michigan is that manufacturers take center stage with it being in the backyard of Motor City. All the executives from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota root their brand loud and proud with hopes of making it to the winners circle.

The Ford executives have done the most cheering with 34 Michigan wins all-time, but none since 2013. The guys in bow-ties have won 23 times, including three of the past four. Toyota, the new guys on the block who make its Camry brand in Georgetown, Kentucky, have won five times, including the last race there (Matt Kenseth) in August.

Michigan is the sister track of California Speedway, where Jimmie Johnson won at in March, but the two tracks don't really race alike, or at least results comparison between the two over the years don't suggest it. Johnson has six wins in 22 starts at his home track in California, but his 2014 win at Michigan is his only victory there in 28 starts. He's the extreme example of the two tracks not really being the same, although looking identical.

Read More Top-5 Finish Prediction

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