Featured Stories Crunching The Numbers: Michigan

Crunching The Numbers: Michigan

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After a wild weekend of turning left and right at the fast road course at Watkins Glen, the three national NASCAR series head their separate ways this weekend with the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series heading to Michigan to take on the 2 mile Michigan International Speedway and the Nationwide Series heading to their second road course race in a row for their inaugural race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway

With only four races left until the cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at Chicago, the battle between those fighting for a spot in the 12 driver playoff keeps ratcheting up with only 31 points separating the drivers between 10th and 17th in the standings. From this point on every race, every position, and every point matters that much more. Drivers at Michigan will have a balancing act between playing it safe for points or gambling for a win and putting themselves in position for a Wild Card Chase berth.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Carl Edwards 18 2 9 14 1 291 19.9 8.2
Matt Kenseth 28 2 12 18 0 284 17.9 9.4
Greg Biffle 21 4 10 13 1 565 13.5 11.3
Jeff Gordon 41 2 18 25 5 954 11.5 12.4
Danica Patrick 1 0 0 0 0 0 37.0 13.0
Mark Martin 55 5 18 31 1 965 11.9 14.2
Kevin Harvick 25 1 4 9 0 149 18.2 14.3
Denny Hamlin 15 2 5 7 0 149 14.3 14.7
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 28 2 6 10 2 327 14.9 15.6
Kyle Busch 17 1 4 6 0 169 14.6 15.6

Who To Watch: Coming off of an eighth place finish in the first race at Michigan in June, Carl Edwards boasts the best statistics in the Sprint Cup Series at the track with two wins, nine top fives, 14 top tens, one pole, 291 laps led, and an average finish of 8.2 in 18 races.

Matt Kenseth comes up next with two wins, 12 top fives, 18 top tens, 284 laps led, and an average finish of 9.4 in 28 starts. Kenseth finished in sixth in June in his first race at Michigan for new car owner Joe Gibbs.

Others who run well at the track include: Greg Biffle, who won in June and has a total of four wins at the track, along with 10 top fives, 13 top tens, one pole, 565 laps led, and an average finish of 11.3 in 21 starts; Jeff Gordon, with two wins, 18 top fives, 25 top tens, five poles, 954 laps led, and an average finish of 12.4 in 41 starts; and Danica Patrick, who finished in 13th in her first start at the track in June.

The remainder of the top ten statistically (Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kyle Busch) also run well at Michigan and have a total of 11 wins between them.

NASCAR Nationwide Series – Inaugural Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio

Since there have been no Nationwide Series races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, there are obviously no statistics to pull from to see who will run well at the track. So, the best bet for Saturday’s race will be to go with drivers who run well on road courses. Drivers such as Ron Fellows in the JR Motorsports No. 5, Marcos Ambrose in the No. 9 for Richard Petty Motorsports, A.J. Allmendinger in the No. 22 for Penske Racing, and Max Papis in the No. 33 for Richard Childress Racing should find themselves up front along with Nationwide regulars Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan

After a few weeks off since last racing at Pocono, the Camping World Truck Series makes their return at Michigan with points leader Matt Crafton holding onto a commanding 52 point lead over rookie Jeb Burton in the standings. The race also marks the return of the Truck Series for consecutive weekends and the debut of Fox Sports 1 for the broadcast of the Truck Series race on Saturday.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Ty Dillon 1 0 0 1 0 3 5.0 6.0
Miguel Paludo 2 0 1 2 0 3 6.0 6.5
Kyle Busch 6 0 4 5 1 149 5.8 6.8
Brendan Gaughan 7 1 3 4 0 48 18.4 8.9
Joey Coulter 2 0 0 1 1 7 10.5 12.5
Ron Hornaday, Jr. 9 0 1 6 0 15 10.3 12.7
Dakoda Armstrong 2 0 1 1 0 0 20.5 13.5
Johnny Sauter 4 0 0 0 0 1 8.0 13.5
James Buescher 4 0 2 2 0 5 7.8 14.5
Timothy Peters 6 0 1 3 0 0 16.7 14.8

Who To Watch: Championship contender Ty Dillon leads all active drivers at Michigan with three laps led and a sixth place finish in his lone start at the track last season.

A driver who has been running strong as of late is Miguel Paludo and he falls in second statistically at Michigan. Paludo has two starts at the track and in the two starts has one top five, two top tens, 3 laps led and an average finish of 6.5.

Others who could find their way to Victory Lane include: Kyle Busch, who has six starts at the track, and in those six starts has four top fives, five top tens, one pole, 149 laps led and an average finish of 6.8; Brendan Gaughan, who has one win, three top fives, four top tens, 48 laps led and an average finish of 8.9 in seven starts; and Joey Coulter, who has one top ten, one pole, seven laps led and an average finish of 12.5 in two starts.

Last, but certainly not least would be the promising crop of rookies in the series this year (Jeb Burton, Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace, Jr.), who are giving the veterans a run for their money. It certainly would not be a surprise to see one of those drivers win either.

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