Bowyer a man at Michigan
Michigan International Speedway is a long, wide track that allows the action to spread out rather easily. This produces long green-flag runs and some tough decisions to make in the late stages of the race. If there are a limited number of pit stops, the track position earned in qualifying may play an important role in the outcome.
Auto Club Speedway, which held its lone race of the season in late March, is the only other 2.0-mile track on the schedule but is a little flatter than MIS.
Practice sessions: Friday, June 13 at 11 a.m. EDT; Saturday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m. EDT, 12:30 p.m. EDT.
Qualifying: Friday, June 13 at 3:40 p.m. EDT
Race: Sunday, June 15 at 1 p.m. EDT
Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Shape: D-shaped oval
Length: 2.0 miles
Turns: 18 degrees
Front stretch: 12 degrees
Back stretch: 5 degrees
Tony Stewart | No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet | Stewart-Haas Racing
Stewart lost a late lead last week at Pocono Raceway speeding on pit road but has been extremely dependable at MIS with 20 top-10s in 29 career starts. In the June races, he's recorded seven consecutive finishes of seventh or better with five top-fives. More recently, Smoke was the runner-up in the 2012 edition and fifth a year ago.
Clint Bowyer | No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing
Bowyer has placed eighth or better in six consecutive Michigan races with a single top-five. He's recorded an average running position of 12th or better in each of the last three races of the season. Last week at Pocono, Bowyer spent a season-high 90.3 percent of the laps running in the top 15.
Paul Menard | No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet | Richard Childress Racing
Menard has recorded an average running position of 16th or better in four straight MIS races. Last August, he matched a career-best finish of fourth. Menard has been quietly consistent as of late with a top-10 finish in three of the last five this season.
Marcos Ambrose | No. 9 DeWalt Ford | Richard Petty Motorsports
There's nothing about Ambrose's current production that suggests he's viable right now, but his recent MIS success is impressive. Ambrose has recorded an average running position of 15th or better in four of the last five with top-10s in three of the last four. If Ambrose stands out in practice, he could provide some major value on race day.
Jimmie Johnson | No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports
Among the five active Cup places where Johnson hasn't won, his number of Michigan starts nearly doubles the next track. Even though Johnson's career average running position of 11.5 at the site ranks fourth, he's only managed nine top-10s in 24 career starts. Johnson has finished outside of the top 25 in four of the last six with two engine failures.
Denny Hamlin | No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing
Hamlin won two Michigan races in three chances during 2010 and 2011. That streak capped a run of five consecutive top-10s with four podium results. However, Hamlin has only finished better than 20th once in the five starts since with struggling average running position figures to match.
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
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