This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Consumers Energy 400
Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Course: Michigan International Speedway
Format: 2.0-mile D-shaped oval
Chase Elliott grabbed back-to-back Watkins Glen wins with an impressive drive on the New York road course last week. It was his second victory of the season and comes at an ideal moment with four races remaining for teams to pick up any advantage they can before the playoffs begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This week, the series makes its return to Michigan International Speedway where Joey Logano won earlier in the season. Kevin Harvick won this race last season but was only able to muster a seventh-place finish in June despite leading 15 laps. Instead, Logano used his Penske Racing Ford's advantage to put himself out front for 163 of the 203 laps run. He battled Kurt Busch for the victory but had the car that couldn't be overcome that afternoon despite having to endure an overtime finish after Erik Jones lost a tire and spun with just five laps remaining until the finish. Logano also won the race's first stage, while Austin Dillon took the second after the top six runners, including Logano who dominated the lead again, at the time opted to make stops for fuel.
Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway
• Number of previous races: 100
• Winners from pole: 21
• Winners from top-5 starters: 59
• Winners from top-10 starters: 75
• Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
• Fastest race: 173.997 mph
Last 10 Michigan Winners
2019 spring - Joey Logano
2018 fall - Kevin Harvick
2018 spring - Clint Bowyer
2017 fall - Kyle Larson
2017 spring - Kyle Larson
2016 fall - Kyle Larson
2016 spring - Joey Logano
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Jeff Gordon
Michigan International Speedway's wide turns and long straights offer plenty of opportunities for drivers to move their cars around the track to find the line that suits them best. The differences enable some great racing, as teams try to stay on top of changing track characteristics and adjust the car to match. Ford has won the last three races at the track with Chevrolet taking three before that. Matt Kenseth scored Toyota's only victory at the track since 2011 back in the 2015 edition of this week's race, as the Detroit-based manufacturers have done a good job defending their home circuit. Kyle Larson won three consecutive Michigan races in 2016 and 2017, but has yet to get a tick in the win column this season. The playoff picture is growing ever tighter at the cutoff line. Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman sit tied at 544 points with Daniel Suarez 23 points behind, and Clint Bowyer just 12 points ahead. Those drivers will be scraping for every point they can get in the coming weeks while looking for a win to move them out of the bubble position.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Martin Truex Jr. has fully put his mini-slump behind him. He came up short of a win again at Watkins Glen but enters Sunday's race at Michigan as one of the favorites. He has consecutive top-five finishes at his back and was third at Michigan in June. Kurt Busch challenged Logano for the win in June and holds three track victories of his own. His last three finishes at the track were third (from pole), sixth and second. Kyle Larson once won three straight at this track but has struggled since the rules package changed. He has three top-10 finishes from the last four races, and this is a venue at which he should be able to outperform what he's done so far this season. William Byron led two laps here in June before finishing 18th. He had a rough outing last week but took home a fourth-place finish at Pocono two weeks ago. One of the most improved finishers we've seen this year is Chris Buescher. He hasn't finished out of the top 20 since Dover and regularly picks off top-15 finishes. He was 16th at Michigan earlier this summer. Wrapping up the lower-risk lineup is Daniel Hemric, who started 11th and finished 12th at the track in June. A repeat of that finish would be a good payoff for fantasy players taking him with this week's bargain price tag.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kevin Harvick hasn't missed finishing in the top 10 since his New Hampshire win and he has a very nice record at Michigan. His win in this race last season came with 108 laps led. He led 15 circuits in the June race and finished seventh. He is even more confident now. Denny Hamlin has quietly been making himself a championship favorite with one of the best finishing records over the past month. His four top-fives from the last five races make him a logical choice this week at a track where he has won twice. Those not sold on him can take Ryan Blaney. Erik Jones has also been coming on strongly. He also has four top-fives in the last five races and was third in the race two seasons ago. June's Michigan race was one of Daniel Suarez's best races of the season. He finished 11th in this race last season. Like Chris Buescher in the lower-risk lineup, Matt DiBenedetto is enjoying an improved season this year. His sixth-place finish at Watkins Glen was one of three top-10s he has landed in the last five races. His 21st-place Michigan finish in June was his best at the track, and he should be expecting to improve upon that this week, too. Bubba Wallace was another who had plenty to forget in last week's road course race. He's looking for trouble-free races, which should put him in striking distance of a top-20 finish on Sunday if it happens.