Draft Kings NASCAR: Firekeepers Casino 400
Draft Kings NASCAR: Firekeepers Casino 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Firekeepers Casino 400 

Location: Brooklyn, Mich. 
Course: Michigan International Speedway 
Format: 2.0-mile D-shaped oval 
Laps: 200 

Race Preview

Kyle Busch was the class of the field one week ago at Pocono Raceway, leading the most laps and regaining his advantage over Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski in the standings by earning his fourth win. While it was Joe Gibbs and Penske Racing one-two finish, Hendrick Motorsports had a strong showing with two cars in the top 10 including Chase Elliott who finished fourth. Kyle Larson's bad luck continued despite him winning the opening two stages of the race. He collided with Clint Bowyer and the wall on the final restart of the race, which sent him to the pits and a disappointing finishing position. Despite putting Clint Bowyer into the top five, Stewart-Haas Racing continues to be a top-five team but not much more. The entire organization will be hoping to find the edge they're lacking to get them into Victory Lane. This week's visit to Michigan International Speedway could help them find it, too. Bowyer and Harvick swept the wins at the circuit last season and could use the boost of a win to reduce frustration and gain confidence. 

Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway 

• Number of previous races: 99 
• Winners from pole: 20 
• Winners from top-5 starters: 58 
• Winners from top-10 starters: 74 
• Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7 
• Fastest race: 173.997 mph 

Last 10 Michigan Winners 

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
2014 spring - Jimmie Johnson

Like Pocono, Michigan International Speedway is a wide circuit with plenty of room for cars to race side by side and try multiple grooves. The banking in the turns will help allow for even more close action, and the differing lines through the turns could open the door to more passes for position that we saw last week. While tires haven't been much of a concern yet this season, the failures seen last week could have teams a bit more concerned this week. Michigan's long fast turns could enhance last week's problem, especially as the new rules package is increasing corner speeds. Fords dominated the victories last season, and Stewart-Haas Racing pieced together a 1-2-3 finish in this race last season with Harvick and Kurt Busch following Bowyer to the checkered flag. Pit strategy could also come into play as teams try to earn stage wins, but long-run setup and restarts are likely to be the bigger factors in Sunday's race. Maintaining track position and getting a clean launch on any returns to racing will be the aim for all drivers on Sunday. 

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap) 

DraftKings Tier 1 Values 

Kyle Busch - $11,800 
Brad Keselowski - $11,200 
Kevin Harvick - $10,700 
Chase Elliott - $10,000 

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Joey Logano - $9,700 
Kyle Larson - $9,500 
Ryan Blaney - $9,100 
Clint Bowyer - $8,700 

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Alex Bowman - $8,500 
Erik Jones - $8,300 
Aric Almirola - $8,100 
Daniel Suarez - $7,700 

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,300 
Chris Buescher - $7,200 
Ty Dillon - $6,700 
Daniel Hemric - $6,000 

MY PICKS THIS WEEK 

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $11,200 
Clint Bowyer - $8,700 
Alex Bowman - $8,500 
Ryan Newman - $7,500 
Paul Menard - $7,100 
Austin Dillon - $6,800 

Hometown driver Brad Keselowski and his powerful Penske Racing Ford lead the higher-risk fantasy option at Michigan. He grabbed another runner-up finish last week in Pocono and is one of the strongest Ford drivers right now. He won at Kansas, and with the wide-open throttle racing we expect this week he should be confident of another top result. Clint Bowyer won here last season and picked up his fifth top-five of the season last week. Two of his last four races have been top-five finishes, and the win here last year should give him some extra confidence. He starts fifth on Sunday. Alex Bowman brings Chevrolet's pace to this lineup, and he will be hoping to put last week's 15th-place run behind him after a run of four straight top-10 finishes before that. Ryan Newman has been climbing into playoff contention with consistent finishes in and around the top 15. He won here twice with Penske early in his career. Paul Menard is another Ford driver finding his footing in this middle portion of the season. He has discovered a touch more consistency with Wood Brothers Racing and has been a regular feature in the top 15. Finally, Austin Dillon brings some Richard Childress Racing pace to the roster. The RCR cars have been qualifying really well at times this season and that horsepower should be valuable in this week's full-throttle contest. 

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap) 

Chase Elliott - $10,000 
Kyle Larson - $9,500 
Denny Hamlin - $8,900 
Erik Jones - $8,300 
Chris Buescher - $7,200 
Daniel Hemric - $6,000 

In his short time racing in the Cup series at Michigan, Elliott has earned a very good finishing record. He tops the driver ratings at the track and has yet to finish outside of the top 10 in six visits. His less than stellar qualifying should also give owners choosing him bonus points for positive finish differential. Kyle Larson also has found Michigan success. He won three consecutive races here in 2016 and 2017. He only led one lap and had a best finish of 17th in the two visits last season, though. He won two stages last week and seems to be on the verge of finding what he needs to get his first 2019 win, but will need to overcome a 22nd starting position to do so this week. Denny Hamlin gives this lineup option Joe Gibbs Racing might, and with two career Michigan wins to his credit he could be one to watch Sunday with his second-row start. His sixth-place finish at Pocono last week may have signaled the end of his recent lull. Erik Jones is another, like Elliott, who has impressed in his few short visits to Michigan. He ran well at Kansas earlier this season, which is one track that could be representative of what fantasy owners can expect this week. He finished third at Pocono and could be next in line for a win. Chris Buescher has also been turning heads with his team's JGR partnership. He finished sixth at Michigan in 2017 and shouldn't be passed over. Daniel Hemric caps the selections based on his good run at Pocono. It was similar to what he achieved in Kansas, which could be another top-15 or top-20 result for him this week.  
 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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