Saturday, August 27, 2016

Final Michigan Driver Ratings: 2016 Pure Michigan 400

Jimmie Johnson looks like a strong contender to win at Michigan. 
Hendrick Motorsports amassed 242 Sprint Cup victories and 11 driver championships since the team was created in 1984, but they've been in an 18 race winless drought since last winning in March at Fontana. Based on Friday's qualifying and Saturday's final practices at Michigan International Speedway, the streak might be coming to an end Sunday as Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott have things figured out with the new reduced downforce package.

The new package which was used on a trial basis in the June 12 Michigan race and last month at Kentucky Speedway uses a shorter splitter and spoiler with the idea of creating more passing and giving more appeal to the fans. The Team Penske Fords had things dialed in the most with wins in the those races, but the Hendrick crew looks stronger this week.

Adjusted odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook show just how much respect they have for the Hendrick duo following practices with Johnson being adjusted from 15-to-1 down to 8-to-1 and Elliott from 20-to-1 to 10-to-1. Both start in the top-five where 56 of the past 94 Michigan winners (60 percent) all-time have started.

Elliott had the third fastest lap (201.196 mph) in Saturday's early practice and was second fastest (197.786) during a shortened happy hour, where he also had the second-best 10-consecutive lap average. Johnson had the second best 10-consecutive lap average in the early session and the third fastest lap (197.694) in happy hour.

Read more here......LVRJ

Micah Roberts' Sprint Cup Driver Ratings
Pure Michigan 400
Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, August 28, 2016 - 11:18 am PT

RATING  DRIVER    ODDS                  PRACTICE 1          QUALIFIED          PRACTICE 2          PRACTICE 3 
 1. Jimmie Johnson 15/1            2nd                 2nd                 9th                3rd
2014 winner with 16.9 average finish in 29 starts; best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 2. Joey Logano 6/1                   3rd                  1st                16th                7th 
Two-time winner (2013, 2016), both from the pole. Four of past six Michigan races won from pole.
 3. Brad Keselowski 7/1            13th                 18th               14th                5th
2012 runner-up; the Michgan native has finished ninth or better in past five on home track.
 4. Chase Elliott 20/1                  7th                  5th                 3rd                2nd
Career-best runner-up in June race leading 35 laps; looks to have car just as good as Johnson's.
 5. Kyle Busch 8/1                     6th                 16th               12th               21st
2011 winner, but 34th-place average last six starts; best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 6. Denny Hamlin 12/1              11th                  3rd                17th               1st
Two-time winner (2009, 2010), fifth in this race last season; 4.8 average in past five 2016 races.
 7. Kevin Harvick 6/1                 12th                  4th                 7th               20th 
2010 winner, runner-up in five of last seven; using Kentucky chassis - led 128 laps finishing ninth.
 8. Carl Edwards 8/1                 10th                  9th                11th               9th
Two-time winner (2007, 2008), active leader with 9.5 average finish. Two wins in Xfinity Series.
 9. Kyle Larson 15/1                   5th                 12th                 5th                8th
Career-best third in June race using same package; best 10-consecutive lap average practice 3.
10. Tony Stewart 30/1                9th                 15th                 1st               12th
2000 winner with 12.3 average finish in 33 starts; finished fifth at Kentucky using same package.

Note: NASCAR is using a reduced downforce package (shorter spoiler and splitter) on a trial basis. It's been used this season during the first Michigan race and Kentucky -- both won by Team Penske Fords.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director, has been been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1994. Follow on Twitter @MicahRoberts7

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