Brian Brown

NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

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The Pure Michigan 400

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway's two mile tri-oval for the 23rd race of the 2011 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 21, 2011; 1:16 p.m./et.

Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 79; wind out of the WSW at 9 mph. There is a 20 percent chance of precipitation.

The Track: Michigan International Speedway

MIS is a 2.0 mile tri-oval. It has 18 degree banking in the turns and 12 degree banking in the tri-oval.


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.

Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2011 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined during qualifying on Saturday, August 19 at 3:40 pm/et.

Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has finished worse than 14th just once in 11 career starts at MIS. He won the past two June races at the track and is our top pick this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in 12 of his 14 career starts at MIS, including two wins. He is a great option.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has had just two finishes worse than 17th in 22 careers starts at the track. He will be a fast-shoe this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has 10 top 10 finishes in 17 career starts at MIS. He will have a top car once again.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the summer race at MIS last year and has averaged a 13th place finish the past nine visits to Brooklyn. He is a must use this weekend.

6 to 10

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has led 441 laps in the past nine races at MIS. He had the top car on the track in 2009 and could finally get his first win at MIS on Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has 18 top five finishes in 37 career starts at MIS. We feel he will finish just outside the top five this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy wasn't a huge fan of Michigan International Speedway until the June race this year. He will be satisfied with a top 10 run.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished inside the top 10 in 14 of the last 18 MIS races. He will have the No. 14 car back inside the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 22 Kurt Busch: Kurt has been in the lead in over six percent of the laps he has run at MIS during his career. We like his chances to lead a few more laps this visit to Brooklyn.

11 to 20

No. 5 Mark Martin: Martin won a fuel mileage race at MIS in 2009. 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 strong at MIS so far in his young career. We expect he will be fast again on Sunday.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been excellent at MIS. We like him to have the No. 83 flying this visit to Michigan.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won the June race at MIS in 2008 and has led at least a lap in eight of the last 12 races at the track. This will be another solid finish for the No. 88 team.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has averaged just a 18th place finish at MIS during the past nine trips to the track. He is a bit of a risky choice this weekend.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been hit-or-miss at MIS the past seven races. He isn't worth using as anything more than a third driver on most fantasy teams.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. cracked the top 20 in the past three races at MIS. He is one of our sleeper picks.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. finished second at MIS in both 2007 races and was eighth last August. He should crack the top 20 again this weekend.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann has brought fast cars to three of the last five MIS races. We expect he will use a similar setup and another top 20 finish should result.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has finished in the top 15 in eight of his last 17 starts at MIS. He should qualify well, but we doubt he will have quite enough speed during the race for another top 15 finish.

21 to 30

No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray had a couple of his better finishes of the 2008 season at MIS. For those of you in deep leagues, this is a good weekend to sneak the No. 1 car into your lineup.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski, a Michigan native, is going to be fast this weekend. He is worth taking a chance on.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has been fast in two of the last five races at MIS. There are less risky drivers to have on your roster this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has struggled a bit the past month. His sleeper rating is losing a little validity.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been very average at the MIS during his career. There are much better weeks to use him.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Even with his fourth place finish at MIS this June Menard is just a fifth driver in all leagues.
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 last year's August race. "Mr. Watkins Glen" won't match that finish this visit to Brooklyn.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged a top 30 finish at MIS during his career. He is an option for those of you that are desperate for a bargain pick.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears continues to have an up-and-down season. He is only worth using in the very deepest of leagues.

Field Fillers

No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 37 Tony Raines
No. 46 Erik Darnell
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 81 Scott Riggs
No. 50 T.J. Bell
No. 66 Todd Bodine

Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Carl Edwards
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Greg Biffle


1. Trevor Bayne
2. Landon Cassill

Bust of the Week:

Jeff Burton

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