Qualifying is over. All of the practice laps have been run. This is it. Let’s make some picks.
Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day.
High Price Salary
Kevin Harvick ($10,600) – Harvick will start in the 7th position. He found himself in the top 10 of all practices and posted the fastest time in the 2nd practice. Harvick will look to get up front early and will definitely want to lead laps. Happy has 4 2nd place finishes in the last 5 races at Michigan and wants to get to victory lane. He should be highly owned this week and makes for a great cash play.
Matt Kenseth ($9,700) – Kenseth found his way to the pole this week. The JGR driver will start in clean air and has the ability to produce lead laps and fastest laps. Usually we stay away from the pole sitter, but this week we need guaranteed lead laps. With his teammates starting behind him Kenseth should get the opportunity to lead laps and produce fast laps.
Jimmie Johnson ($9,700) – You want a piece of the guy that has the led the most laps (565) and had the most fastest laps (415) at Michigan? Well then take Jimmie. Jimmie has a driver rating of 101.2 and has qualified in the 8th spot. Just like Harvick, Jimmie will get you positive place differential points and finishing points.
Mid Price Salary
Jeff Gordon ($8,500) – The Rainbow Warrior won this race last year and would love to replicate that success this year. Jeff has 19 top 5s and 27 top 10s at Michigan. He would love to find himself in victory lane this year and solidify himself in the chase. He qualified in the 21st spot and has the car/ability to work himself up to a top 10.
Denny Hamlin ($8,400) – It wouldn’t surprise me if the JGR cars dominated the race tomorrow. Hamlin starts 2nd and with a sound pit strategy should stay there most of the race. Hamlin has 2 wins at Michigan since 2005 and has led his share of laps as well. I don’t see him trying to pass Kenseth early, but I do think he will get his time at the front as well.
Kyle Larson ($8,100) – PLAY KYLE LARSON! Larson had top 5 practice time/speed in the 2nd practice and Happy Hour. Guess where he qualified….34th! Play him!
Low Price Salary
Paul Menard ($7,800) – Menard has been on fire at Michigan over the last 5 races. He has the top average finish over those races at 5.7. Menard qualified at 24th and will easily work his way up to a top 15. I won’t say he replicates his top 5 performance, but he will get you positive place differential points.
Clint Bowyer ($7,400) – Bowyer qualified a little higher than I would have liked in the 12th spot. However, over the last 3 years he has an average finishing spot of 6th. I think Bowyer stays where he is at, but for $7,400 it is hard to give up a safe finishing play.
Greg Biffle ($7,100) – The Bif has the highest driver rating at Michigan (103.8). He also has 3 wins since 2005. Bif sets up in the 20th spot and will be looking to work his way to the front. He has an average finish of 10th and should finish around this spot. Look for an easy +10 points from the Bif.
Long Shot Value Driver
Casey Mears ($7,200 ) – I really wanted to roll Sam Hornish Jr. in this spot, but he qualified to high. Mears qualified 40th…yes you read that right, 40th. He will be a top 25 play starting from way in the back. Mears will guarantee you positive place differential points and when teamed up with the Bif can give you a lot of cap room tomorrow.