NASCAR® Rankings: Pure Michigan 400


Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.

(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary. The typical median fppk for a 2016 race was in the threes. Plate tracks tend to be lower and short tracks tend to run higher due to the amount of laps.)

1Martin Truex, Jr.$10,600
2Kyle Larson$10,300
3Kyle Busch$10,500
4Denny Hamlin$9,600
5Chase Elliott$9,800

1. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,600) – This car is fast everywhere. Cole Pearn could set up the #78 to out run a lunar rover on the Moon. Don’t be distracted by Truex’s finish in the first Michigan race. He had the best car, and he won the first two stages. The late race restarts cost Truex a couple spots. (6.2 fppk)

2. Kyle Larson ($10,300) – The fastest car in NASCAR belongs to Truex, but Larson’s aggressiveness and his propensity to run the high groove evens the playing field. Larson has won the last two Michigan races. (5.4 fppk)

3. Kyle Busch ($10,500) – His Michigan track history is so bad, that it can’t just tough breaks. In the June race, Busch scored the third most fantasy points. He’s fast every week but rarely does the #18 team make it through a week without a costly mistake. (5.2 fppk)

4. Denny Hamlin ($9,600) – Outside of the triumvirate of speed (Truex, Larson and Kyle Busch). Hamlin is the closest threat. The JGR Toyotas are the fastest cars in NASCAR, and this is a pure speed track. (3.9 fppk)

5. Chase Elliott ($9,800) – It’s true that Elliott has three consecutive second place finishes at Michigan. The last one is questionable. Elliot had a top-10 car, but he benefitted from restarting in the right position late in the race. (3.7 fppk)

6Matt Kenseth$9,300
7Kevin Harvick$9,900
8Brad Keselowski$9,400
9Joey Logano$9,000
10Jimmie Johnson$9,100

6. Matt Kenseth ($9,300) – Like Hamlin, he has top-10 speed. Unlike Hamlin, Kenseth needs a win. The right strategy play could help Kenseth beat a fast car, but three fast cars? (3.6 fppk)

7. Kevin Harvick ($9,900) – It was announced last minute that Harvick would be forced to go to the back in the June race. Fantasy NASCAR players were frustrated, but it really didn’t matter. Harvick climbed back into the top-10, but he plateaued from there. (4.2 fppk)

8. Brad Keselowski ($9,400) – Michigan is Brad Keselowski’s home track, but he’s never won here. He was never in the picture for a win in the June race. As he lamented in a post race interview several weeks ago, the JGR Toyotas have all of the speed. (4.2 fppk)

9. Joey Logano ($9,000) – His 2016 wire-to-wire win at Michigan feels like a lifetime ago. Logano needs the win, but his Penske car doesn’t have the necessary speed. He has top-10 speed, but not the pure speed needed to win the Pure Michigan 400. (3.2 fppk)

10. Jimmie Johnson ($9,100) – He was very fast in practice in June, but because of damage, he had to switch to a backup car. By the end of stage one, Johnson was inside the top-10. From there, his car became uncontrollably loose, and he had nothing for the top-10 drivers. (3.7 fppk)

11Clint Bowyer$8,300
12Jamie McMurray$8,500
13Ryan Blaney$8,700
14Daniel Suarez$7,800
15Erik Jones$8,400

11. Clint Bowyer ($8,300) – He had a top-10 car all day in the first Michigan race. Bowyer got aggressive on a late race restart and wrecked. He didn’t destroy the car, but he fell to the back of the field after pitting to fix the damage. (4.0 fppk)

12. Jamie McMurray ($8,500) – For most of the Michigan race, McMurray ran just outside of the top-10. Not everyone was hurt by late race restarts. If someone is shuffled back, then someone slides forward. McMurray finished fifth. (3.3 fppk)

13. Ryan Blaney ($8,700) – This was a top-10 car in June. Blaney was full of confidence following his Pocono win, but he was the main victim of a late race restart caution. The bottom line backed up and Blaney got caught in the bottle neck. (2.8 fppk)

14. Daniel Suarez ($7,800) – The #19 JGR Toyota is a great car. The rookie is not quite skilled enough to win, but top-5 finishes are possible. If he doesn’t make a mistake or get caught in a restart wreck, he’ll earn at least a top-10. (4.3 fppk)

15. Erik Jones ($8,400) – In the June race, Jones was a darkhorse candidate for a win. Michigan is his home track and he was fast in practice, but a loose lug nut issue on pit road ruined his day. (3.5 fppk)

16Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.$6,900
17Ty Dillon$6,600
18Kurt Busch$8,000
19Dale Earnhardt, Jr.$7,900
20Ryan Newman$7,300

16. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,900) – Finishing position can be a misleading number. Stenhouse finished eighth in the June race, but his average running position was 16th. However, he’s done this so many times that it can’t be an accident. Stenhouse is taking advantage of late race restarts. (4.2 fppk)

17. Ty Dillon ($6,600) – In the 22 races this season, Ty Dillon has finished 22nd or better 17 times. His median finish is 18th. He’s a lock for me every single week for 50/50 contests. (4.7 fppk)

18. Kurt Busch ($8,000) – Like Harvick, Kurt was forced to start from the back. Just like Harvick, he made his way to the top-15 where he ran most of the race. Kurt has five top 15 finishes in his last seven Michigan races. (2.8 fppk)

19. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($7,900) – If Junior doesn’t do something this week, he’ll fall out of the rankings. He has two Michigan wins under his belt, but he doesn’t have the car to compete with the JGR Toyotas. The Hendrick cars noticeably ran outside of the top-10 in the spring race. (2.5 fppk)

20. Ryan Newman ($7,300) – In June, Newman had top-20 speed in practice, give or take a spot or two. He had the same car in the race, and consistently turned laps. In the end, he finished 15th. Not a lot changes in two months. It should be another top-20 day, but not much more. (3.9 fppk)


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