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Last week was a rather boring Cup race, but the XFINITY finish was awesome. Denny Hamlin believes this package should do really well at Michigan, and at this point, I am listening to the drivers above listening to analysts. If Hamlin believes this package should create a more competitive race, then we should see more passing and that is what makes for a fun race. We also see the squads split with the Truck series heading to the Longhorn State and the XFINITY and MENCS going to Michigan.
I am super excited that Greg Biffle is racing the Kyle Busch #51 Toyota Tundra this week. Pricing has not come out yet but I am hoping he is not the highest prices driver because he stands the best chance as far as I am concerned in this race.
Ross Chastain made the decision this week to move away from his chase for the XFINITY series championship and commit full time to trucks. You have to imagine that being a very difficult decision for a guy who has gone through a lot this year. It looked like he was going to drive the Chip Gnassi 42 in the XFINITY series before the DC Solar issue but he has still turned in a very solid year in both series. His win does not count toward the truck playoffs and is starting at 0, but this is a truck that can still pull off another win.
Going along with that thought, the next three truck races are the Triple Truck Challenge, where if a driver can win all these races, he or she can pocket a large amount of cash. No MENCS drivers are allowed in races during this time, so it will just be truck folks.
The field is solid, and truly, truck racing is the best thing offered by NASCAR at this point
Prediction: Immediately after transferring into the Truck series full time, Ross Chastain edges out Greg Biffle for the win and locks himself into the playoffs on his first attempt.
Back to Michigan, we have the XFINITY series. We had one hell of a finish last week with Tyler Reddick over taking Cole Custer in overtime, only to put himself in the wall and give the race back to Custer.
The field is solid this week with Paul Menard as the only Cup driver in the field this week. It is worth mentioning that he will not see the ownership of bigger named drivers from the Cup series, but should be considered to be one of the favorites to win this week.
Alex Labbe will be making an appearance this week after racing in the Pintys series last weekend. He has been up and down in his XFINITY career and his real prowess is going to be on road courses.
Jeb Burton will be in the race fielding the number 8 car which has been a speed demon all year, so I am expecting him to garner huge ownership as this car has routinely outperformed its starting position regardless of who is behind the wheel.
I feel like this is a genuine toss-up. I can see any of about 8 cars getting into the mix and winning the race this weekend.
Prediction: Unquestionably, my biggest issue is that I always go for the underdog, and I am not going to change that this week. I am pulling John Hunter Nemechek into the winner’s circle this week in what I am expecting to be a good race.
The Big Show
Part of the title is because I am a lifelong professional wrestling fan, but also because I hate writing cup all the time.
What do I want to write about first? I am going to take some flack for this, but…
Bubba Wallace has started to show speed. He has been bemoaning for quite some time about the team needing the money and that is why they are lacking speed. The team capped Pocono, a tough track that they’ve had issues with, almost clipping a top 20. At the end of the day, I am not calling for this car to be a top 10 car or anything, but already with two top 20s in 3 appearances at Michigan, this could be a get right week for Bubba. The danger is that we have seen a few times this year where Bubba has overqualified, making this a wait and see play for me.
Speaking of drivers with good results, we cannot talk about Michigan without mentioning Chase Elliott and his 6 top tens in 6 attempts, with 3 top fives thrown in there. Elliott has truly been one of the better drivers this year, leading laps and having a race win under his belt. I would believe this team can take a lot of the notes they already have (package be damned) and get the car set up nicely this weekend.
Kyle Busch effectively killed me last week, as I wanted to run the fade on him. Did you know on tracks, non-restrictor plate over 2 miles Kyle has not finished outside of the top ten since October 2017? That is a healthy stretch of top tens! While he might not have won many of those races, save for Pocono last week, it shows his upside. As if we really need more of a reason to play Kyle Busch, often times he qualified in the late teens or worse. We will see how qualifying goes this weekend.
This should be a better race than what we saw last week, which is all we can really hope for.
Prediction: Chase Elliott makes it 7 for 7 top tens and his first win at Michigan, just narrowly edging out Joey Logano for the victory.