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. The information is not developed or provided by NASCAR, Inc., or its affiliates.
High Price Salary
Kevin Harvick ($13,900) – Once again, Kevin Harvick was the fastest in practice and nearly the fastest in qualifying. Harvick almost became the first driver ever to win all three rounds of qualifying, but he fell short by fractions of a second. Harvick’s hungry for a win. He’s been the runner up 7 times these season and hasn’t won since the middle of March. At Michigan, Harvick has been the runner up four times in a row. Fastest car, starting on the front row, and as hungry as ever, pay up because he’s taking all the fast lap and laps led points.
Brad Keselowski ($11,300) – BK hasn’t been the Penske driver of choice lately (Logano anyone). However, he qualified in 3rd and put up a fast 201.44 mph qualifying speed. If Harvick and Kahne get caught up battling for clean air, the Blue Deuce could maneuver his way into the lead (he has done it before). Brad sits 6th in the Chase standings and already has his win. His team is competing for wins and will be aggressive. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if BK takes his Ford to Victory Lane tomorrow.
Jimmie Johnson ($13,000) – Just like Harvick, it is hard to argue with the #48. The 2015 season has been another career year for JJ. Johnson qualified in the 8th spot, but this shouldn’t hinder his ability to get up front. Johnson may not get the initial lead laps, but with a crew chief like the strategic genius Chad Knaus it’s hard to hold him back long. Johnson has 4 wins on the season. He has 1 win lifetime at Michigan. Could this be the week he gets his 5th of the season? Of course it could!
Mid Price Salary
Kasey Kahne ($10,800) – Clean air is vital to racing and DFS. Kahne starts from P1, and with a decent restart Kahne will separate from the field. Harvick is a serious threat to take Kahne’s lead, but at the mid level range, there isn’t a better shot of grabbing the limited amount of fast lap and laps led points. Kahne has ten top 10s at Michigan, and has run in top 10 for the most part of his recent races.
Kyle Larson ($10,100) – Larson’s favorite number was 16 on Friday. He put up the 16th fastest practice time at 198.813 mph. He then qualified in the 16th spot with a time of 199.435 mph. The young driver has had a good season, but is waiting for that 1st win. With just 2 Sprint Cup races at Michigan, Larson has shown us he can run well with a top 10. Larson put up 49.25 DK points at Dover and 45 DK points at Pocono. For his price and qualifying position we could be looking at another 40+ week.
Carl Edwards ($10,200) – Carl sets up in the 4th qualifying spot. This is the 4th week in a row Carl’s JGR Toyota has been impressive in practice and qualifying. Carl grabbed the win in the first DK NASCAR contest at Charlotte. Edwards has 2 wins at MIS. He also has an impressive 15 top 10s at Michigan. Look for him to compete up front all day and be in contention when the white flag is waved.
Low Price Salary
A.J. Allmendinger ($7,800) – Recent struggles have caused The Dinger’s price to drop to a more playable level. Since the launch of DFS NASCAR at Draftkings, The Dinger has been wretched. Early in the season, his small team looked like they were competing for a playoff spot again this year. Then the Draftkings value play jinx. A.J. has 10 Michigan finishes inside the top 25 (most of them inside the top 20), starting at 31st, The Dinger is a ringer for place differential points.
Clint Bowyer ($8,700) – MWR has struggles this year. Every time that it seemed like they were ready to turn the corner, they took a step backward. This week the MWR teams switch crew chiefs. Why pick Bowyer if he’s a train wreck? First of all, Bowyer qualified 32nd. Bowyer’s having a rough year, but he’s not a 32nd place driver. If he can crack the top 20 (not asking much), Bowyer will be knocking on the door of a 40 pt. performance. Still not sold? Clint Bowyer has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 8 races at Michigan.
Casey Mears ($7,500) – The Geico driver has quietly had a good season this year. Unfortunately, some weeks it’s tough to play Mears because he qualifies about as high as he can finish (20-25th). It would be great if Mears would qualify in the 30s, but that’s never going to happen. The week you can grab a solid driver at very low price from the 27th position.
Long Shot Value Drivers
Cole Whitt ($7,000) – He’s the most consistent bargain bin priced driver when it comes to place differential. There should be a lot of wrecks in the middle of the pack. The Ginger Lion will move up by default.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,100) – Nobody in all of NASCAR can pronounce his name correctly, but when you are starting in the back there is only one way to go…up. DiBenedetto has the potential to keep you in the positive and allow you to stack some top drivers.