NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will make the first of its two trips to Michigan this summer for the running of the Quicken Loans 400 this Sunday afternoon. All the action from Michigan International Speedway is set to get underway at 10 a.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
I have used Dale Earnhardt Jr. as my top value NASCAR pick at longer odds to win in a few races this season and that play finally paid off with his victory in last Sunday’s Pocono 400 at 12/1 odds. Brad Keselowski posted another solid finish by taking second and Kurt Busch helped his cause in the Race to the Chase by finishing third.
Jimmie Johnson's two-race winning streak may have come to an end after finishing sixth at Pocono, but he has been opened as a 13/2 favorite to make his way back to the Winner’s Circle this Sunday at Michigan. The No. 48 car’s recent success has the team sitting in fourth-place in the Sprint Cup standings with 475 points and it is just one of four teams with multiple point-race victories this season. Johnson’s last three runs at this track in a point race drains some value form these lofty odds and he is still looking for his first Sprint Cup victory at Michigan. His average finishing position here is an uninspired 16.8.
The second-favorite to win this week’s race is Kevin Harvick at 7/1. The No. 4 car is all the way back in 12th place in the current standings with 403 points on the year, but it remains in excellent shape for this year’s Chase with two previous victories at Phoenix and Darlington. This team has failed to crack the top-10 in its last two point races, but that followed back-to-back second-place finishes at Kansas and Charlotte so current form still remains strong. Harvick’s current form at this track is also a plus to his odds to win with two second-place finishes in last year’s races at Michigan.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be NASCAR’s most popular driver, and he remains one of its hottest this year. Last Sunday’s victory was his second of the 2014 season after winning at Daytona. The No. 88 car has posted seven top-five finishes in its first 14 point races this season and the team is holding down third-place in the standings with 476 points. Another boost to the value in his 8/1 odds to win is that Dale Jr. has to be very fond of this track after ending an extended losing streak in Sprint Cup racing with a victory in this race in 2012.
Top Value Pick
There are a number of solid choices as this week’s top value pick, but anytime I can get longer odds on Kyle Busch to win, I am going to jump at the chance no matter where he is racing. He is the type of driver that always has a shot to win as long as he stays on the lead lap. The No. 18 car took the checkered flag at Fontana early in the season, but one the main reasons for the 12/1 odds to win this week is current form. Busch has failed to place better than ninth in his last five point races, but he did finish fourth in this race last season. His lone career victory at Michigan in a Sprint Cup race was in the second race here in 2011.