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Michigan Preview

If qualifying was any indication of the race, the Michigan Firekeepers Casino 400 would be dominated by Toyota. The lowest of the six Toyota teams qualified 11th, including the top three spots. The highest Chevy was Tyler Reddick in sixth, and the highest Ford was Joey Logano in fourth. The man that topped the charts was 23XI driver Bubba Wallace.

I wouldn’t go too far with picking Bubba, despite this being his first career Pole Award. If he was the only Toyota in the top five, I might consider it, but if the speed is there for all of them, I don’t know if he has the complete package of tools yet. I hope he proves me wrong, but he hasn’t shown that yet. So let’s talk about the drivers I think will bring home a win this weekend.

Martin Truex, Jr. should be an easy pick. He has to be in desperation mode, and with the rest of his teammates secured in the Playoffs with a win, I think the group will make an effort to get him to victory lane. A win would lock him into the Playoffs because he sits in the points standings, currently fourth. 

Kyle Larson should also be a heavy favorite. Michigan is his kind of track, with the fastest line against the outside wall. Tyler Reddick is also a driver to watch because he has a similar skill set, but Larson needs to get back into Playoff mode and show some dominance to defend his crown. 

The last pick had to be a Ford. I am picking Ryan Blaney a little lower in the qualifying order. Blaney qualified 24th, so he’s got some work to do, but he’s also in desperation mode like Truex. If Blaney gets a win, he is for sure a lock for the Playoffs as well, sitting second in the standings behind Chase Elliott. After all, Michigan is in their backyard. 

All we can hope for is a competitive race, with some good passes and a late fight for the lead. Throw in a multi-car crash, and it should be an entertaining race. Good luck to the field, and I hope Bubba Wallace can prove me wrong. 

Chris Ausburn