Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Michigan Betting Preview: 2018 Consumers Energy 400

SHR finished 1-2-3 in June Michigan race.
When the NASCAR Cup Series last visited Michigan International Speedway on June 10 we witnessed a Stewart Haas Racing beat down of every other team. They finished 1-2-3, the first time a team has done that since Roush Fenway Racing did it at Dover in 2008. It was an impressive showing and because it wasn't that long ago the set-up notes should all still be fresh and relative for Sunday's Consumer's Energy 400.

Clint Bowyer would win that race and it was a brilliant piece of pit strategy and luck with the rain cutting the race short with 67 laps remaining. In what would be the final pit stop, Bowyer took two tires and came out of the pits first.

“I looked in the mirror – everybody behind me is on four tires,” Bowyer said. “(I’m thinking that) I don’t know what you’re looking at, but there’s an army of people on pit road who saw the same forecast, same radar, they took four.”

Now all he had to do was hold off the best car on the track, his teammate Kevin Harvick who led a race-high 49 laps on the day.

“I knew, if we could get the lead, we had a decent shot of holding them off,” Bowyer said. “Fortunately, we did. We were racing for the win. I couldn’t have held him off had it gone another lap.”

Harvick, with four tires, certainly would have caught Bowyer and passed, but Bowyer drove those final eight laps like a bat out of hell.

The eventual third-place driver, Kurt Busch, was the pole sitter and led the first 46 laps. The Las Vegan has won at Michigan three times with three different manufacturers.

“The biggest thing about Michigan is respecting the speed," Busch said of the 2-mile layout. "It’s a very fast racetrack."

His last win at Michigan was rain shortened in 2015 from a 24th start position. Busch's 25-to-1 odds to win Sunday's race offered at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook looks to be the best value on the board.

The last leg of SHR, Aric Almirola, finished 11th. That's an amazing day for the organization and it's obvious there was some note sharing going on with all four teams. The big question this week is whether or not they'll be just as good, as well as whether or not the rest of the field stayed the same or improved.

I'm inclined to believe that the rest of the field improved beginning with Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports.

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