Michigan International Speedway is a big 2-mile race track that was recently repaved. Those two variables mean that we’re going to see some very high speeds all weekend. This is one of the fastest tracks on the circuit so we should see some exciting racing here in the Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday. Roush-Fenway Racing used to own this race track but that’s not the case any more. The teams that have been strong all season long should end up near the front this weekend as well, but there are a few sleepers to consider when making your fantasy picks.
Fantasy Sleepers for Michigan
Greg Biffle – I know I’ve been hard on the Roush-Fenway Fords this season, but I have my reasons. With that being said, there’s been plenty of talk that Roush (and the #16 team specifically) have made some major gains as of late. Well, this is the weekend that we’re going to find out how legitimate those claims are. Michigan International Speedway used to be the track that the RFR cars were all locks for top 10 finishes. Most of the teams have fallen off quite a bit, but Biffle and the #16 crew have still maintained some success with four top 10s in the last five races here. The Biff ended up 10th here at Michigan in the fall race last season so we’ll see if he can replicate that in this year’s Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday. I’m not overly confident, and with only 3 handicap points in The Showcase this weekend, I probably won’t even consider the #16 Ford on my fantasy team this week. Biffle’s 7.5 average finish over the last six Michigan races really brought his handicap points down this week.
Paul Menard – The #27 team will be looking for a big rebound race after their tire problems at Pocono last weekend…and Michigan is the perfect place for that to happen. I would be surprised if any fantasy expert didn’t at least have Menard on his/her sleeper radar this weekend, and the reason is simple: Paul hasn’t finished worse than 4th in any of the last three races here at MIS. He also hasn’t finished any better than 4th. Over the last five events, Menard has ended up inside the top 10 in four of them with a worst finish of 14th. It’s clear that he has definitely figured something out here at Michigan as of late, and until Menard gives you a reason not to pick him, you might as well ride the momentum. In The Showcase, Menard will receive 4 handicap points on Sunday, which isn’t that great of a value. However, in other leagues, I would definitely consider the #27 Chevrolet this weekend. It’s worth noting that Menard finished 4th at Fontana earlier this season, which is another 2-mile intermediate track like Michigan.
Danica Patrick – NASCAR’s favorite female driver actually hasn’t been too bad here at Michigan, and she could prove to be a very valuable pick in some fantasy leagues this weekend. Danica’s main strength is that she can stay on the lead lap (or get a well-timed caution and get back on the lead lap). If there are a few wrecks and/or mechanical issues, the #10 Chevrolet then winds up inside the top 15. Occasionally, Patrick has a good enough car and strategy to legitimately run top 10, but those are few and far between. Anyway, looking at Michigan, Danica has made four career Sprint Cup starts here and has averaged a finish of 17.8. Believe it or not, this is statistically her best track in the series. She ran 17th and 18th in the two races at Michigan in 2014 and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Danica end up around there once again on Sunday. She ran 19th at Fontana earlier this year, which is another 2-mile track. In The Showcase, Danica will net fantasy owners 11 handicap points at Michigan on Sunday, which could make her a very nice “off-sequence” pick if she can end up inside the top 15.