With NASCAR racing at Michigan for the first time with the NextGen car this weekend, and on a tire combination that hasn’t been used before, there is (understandably) some hesitancy from bettors on how to approach the upcoming Firekeepers Casino 400–at least until we see the cars on track during practice and qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

RotoDoc and I discussed this on the Stacking Dennys podcast this week as well, how there definitely seems to be some value out on the betting board early in the week, but it’s hard to be fully confident in anything with a few of the unknown variables.

With that being said, there is an early bet that I like quite a bit for qualifying on Saturday, and I actually talked myself into it during this week’s Stacking Dennys episode.

The Bet: Austin Cindric To Win Michigan Pole +2500

As mentioned before, NASCAR hasn’t raced at Michigan yet this year, and with a brand new tire combination being used, it’s hard to pull data from comparable tracks and consider it significant for Michigan this week. However, that’s all we have to work with, so let’s take a look at similar track data and how Austin Cindric qualified in those races.

  • Auto Club: Cindric qualified on the pole (Auto Club is the sister track to Michigan but with higher tire wear)
  • Las Vegas: Cindric qualified 3rd (highest-qualifying Ford)
  • Kansas: Cindric qualified 4th (highest-qualifying Ford)
  • Charlotte: Cindric qualified 6th (highest-qualifying Ford)

So, to quickly recap here, on the four tracks that you can consider similar to Michigan, Austin Cindric has been the highest-qualifying Ford each time and was on the pole earlier this year at the other 2-mile race track.

Michigan International Speedway has been dominated by Ford as of late, both in terms of victory lane as well as the pole sitter. In 7 of the last 8 Michigan races, a Ford has gone on to win the race itself, and in 6 of the last 9 races here a Ford has won the pole in qualifying. Please note: I’m excluding the 2020 pole sitters in the pole winner numbers because those starting lineups weren’t set on speed, but both of those pole “winners” were Fords as well.

And one last note that probably doesn’t mean much but is still worth adding in: Cindric won the pole here at Michigan in the Xfinity Series last season.

At 25-to-1, I’ll take the highest-qualifying Ford all season at a Ford-dominated track any day of the week.

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.