The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway's two mile tri-oval for the 23rd race of the 2012 season, the Pure Michigan 400. NASCAR Fantasy expert Brian Brown analyzed past performances, season trends, and spoke to NASCAR contacts to provide you with the most accurate fantasy preview of Sunday’s race.
When: Sunday, August 19, 2012; 1:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Mostly sunny with a high around 76; wind out of the W at 6 mph. There is a 10 percent chance of precipitation.
The Track: Michigan InternationalSpeedway
MIS is a 2.0 mile tri-oval. It has 18 degree banking in the turns and 12 degree banking in the tri-oval.
Key to Race: A ROUSH/ HENDRICK BATTLE
Michigan International Speedway is a race that tends to become fuel mileage race so watch for drivers to conserve fuel at every opportunity and we expect some drivers will pit off-sequence early in the race.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won this year’s June race at MIS as well as the 2008 edition. This will be another top finish for the No. 88 team.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has had just two finishes worse than 17th in 24 careers starts at the track. He will be a good-shoe this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has 11 top 10 finishes in 19 career starts at MIS. He will have a top car once again.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the summer race at MIS in 2010 and has averaged a 14th place finish the past seven years at the track. He is a must use this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 11 in 13 of his 16 career starts at MIS, including two wins. He is a great option.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has 18 top five finishes in 39 career starts at MIS. We feel he will finish just outside the top five this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished inside the top 10 in 16 of the last 20 MIS races. He will have the No. 14 car back inside the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has led 459 laps in the past 11 races at MIS. He had the top car on the track in 2009 and should have no problem notching another top 10 finish on Sunday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy won last year’s August race at MIS, but struggled during this year’s June show. He is a top 10 pick.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski, a Michigan native, is going to be fast this weekend. He is worth going with.
11 to 20
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been hit-or-miss at MIS the past nine races. He is worth taking a chance on as a top 15 driver this trip to Brooklyn.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has finished worse than 14th just thrice in 12 career starts at MIS. He won the June 2010 and 2011 races at the track and will be fast again this weekend.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin won a fuel mileage race at MIS in 2009 and finished fourth last August. He should be fast this weekend, but we don’t see him finishing inside the top 10 again.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has been mostly strong at MIS so far in his young career. We expect he will be decent again on Sunday.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has averaged a 14th place finish at MIS during the past 10 trips to the track. He is a fair-to-middling choice this weekend.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has finished in the top 15 in 10 of his last 19 starts at MIS. He should qualify well and finish right around 15th.
No. 22 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish has been decent since taking over the No. 22. It might be too late to add him as a fourth driver in your league, but if it isn’t get him while he is still a relative bargain.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. finished second at MIS in both 2007 races and was eighth in August of 2011. He should crack the top 20 again this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been very average at the MIS during his career. There are much better weeks to use him.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith was awesome at MIS last August. He is an option for those of you that are desperate for a cheap pick.
21 to 30
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray ran well at MIS this June. For those of you in deep leagues, this is a decent weekend to sneak the No. 1 car into your lineup.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has been fast in three of the last seven races at MIS. There are riskier drivers to have on your roster this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Even with his fourth place finish at MIS last June, Menard is just a fourth driver in all leagues.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a 20th place finish at MIS during his career. This isn’t a bad week to use him.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne: The Wood Brothers have a storied history at MIS. Look for Bayne to surprise some people this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose finished 15th during the 2010 August race. He won’t match that finish this visit to Brooklyn.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola is quietly having a terrific season. Add him as a fifth driver in all leagues.
No. 10 David Reutimann: Reutimann has brought fast cars to four of the last six MIS races he has started. We expect he will use a similar setup and another top 30 finish should result.
No. 51 Kurt Busch: Kurt should match or slightly improve on the 30th place finish he snagged this June at MIS.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan finished 23rd at MIS in June, but we don’t see another top 25 finish happening this visit to the Brooklyn-Irish Hills.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 36 David Blaney
No. 33 Stephen Leicht
No. 91 Reed Sorenson
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 37 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Mike Skinner
No. 19 Jason Leffler
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth
No. 16 Greg Biffle
No. 29 Kevin Harvick
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