Fantasy Preview: Quicken Loans 400

June 11, 2014 No Comments

Quicken Loans 400Brian Wiggins, Senior Writer 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make their annual trip to the Irish Hills of Michigan for Father’s Day weekend with the running of the Quicken Loans 400.

Michigan International Speedway (MIS) has been known for two things as of late: Fast speeds and fuel milage.

Typically, the two wouldn’t be associated with one another. But, the course of the history of the two-mile, d-shaped oval has seen more than its fair share of fuel milage races.

While fuel mileage may be the thing that comes to mind first when thinking of the overall history of MIS, lately it has been dubbed as the “fastest track in NASCAR” and rightfully so. Since the track was repaved prior to the June,2012 race, track records have been set in qualifying in each of the subsequent races. That should remain the same this weekend, as NASCAR’s elimination of minimum ride height on the cars has once again increased speeds.

Even with the fast speeds, you’re still going to want to have good fuel mileage come Sunday afternoon. Despite in increase of cautions since the repave (averaging no-less-than eight), MIS is still prone to late-race, long green-flag runs. In August,2013, Mark Martin gambled on fuel-mileage in the late stages. However, his fuel ran dry with less than five laps to go, and Joey Logano–who also won the pole and holds the track record–went on to claim his first win of the season.

Dating back to June,2010, there have only been two repeat winners at MIS (Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle). The furthest back a winner has started at MIS since June,2010 was ninetieth (Biffle, June,2013).

With all that said, let’s look at some drivers you would want to be sure to have in your lineup come Sunday’s race.

*This roster is set based on the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing system*

A Drivers 

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This is kind of an easy choice. Since the repave, Earnhardt Jr. has been strong at MIS, claiming a win back in June,2012. His numbers before the repave aren’t stellar, but he has been one of the favorites in each race since 2012 in the Irish Hills. And, as we saw last weekend at Pocono, he isn’t too bad at tracks that have been recently repaved.
  • Kevin Harvick: The driver of the No.4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing has been absolutely dynamite in 2014. This is exactly the type of track you’re going to want to use up a Harvick start at. He has one win at the track (August,2010), but he’s shown raw speed each and every week which automatically makes him a threat at MIS.

B Drivers 

  • Greg Biffle: This should be the easy pick for this weekend’s race at MIS. Biffle has recorded two wins in the past two years, including one just last season. He has four career wins at the track, and history has shown us that MIS is the “house of Roush”. However, 2014 has been rough for Roush-Fenway Racing. The cars aren’t competitive and they haven’t been much of a threat to win. I’d still keep Biffle on the roster, though.
  • Brad Keselowski: The Michigan native doesn’t have a win at his home track, but there’s no reason why he can’t this weekend. Keselowski has been strong at seemingly every track this season, and Team Penske as a whole has been arguably the best team over the course of the first fourteen races.
  • Joey Logano: The winner of the most-recent race at MIS, Logano is looking for his third win of the 2014 season. He started from the pole last August and took home his first win. The 1.5 and two-mile tracks are the strong suite for Logano, which makes him a threat anytime the series visits one of these tracks.
  • Paul Menard: This may not seem like an obvious choice, but don’t rule out Menard this weekend. He’s a very strong first-half driver, and this style of track is what he performs best on. The Richard Childress Racing cars haven’t been great by any stretch this season, but a top-10 certainly isn’t out of the question.

C Drivers 

  • Austin Dillon: MIS is the track that Dillon has the most Sprint Cup experience at. The Rookie of the Year contender made his first start here in June,2012 and recently filled in for the injured Tony Stewart last August in the No.14 Chevrolet. As stated previously for Menard, RCR hasn’t been great this year, however Dillon has made the most of it. He’s currently in the Chase Grid and a solid top-10 on Sunday should be expected.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya: Yes, Montoya is back in NASCAR for the weekend. He’s the third-best “C Driver” of the lot for this weekend, but he’s in the best car. That has to mean something at a track where speed is going to be crucial. Montoya’s numbers at MIS are far from stellar, but this No.12 Team Penske car should be a top-20 car no problem.
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