The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend for the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday afternoon. Michigan International Speedway is a huge 2-mile track that produces some very high speeds heading into the corners, but there’s really not a lot of action going on on the track outside of the restarts, so it can be a little boring (and usually has just one car dominating most of the day). Still, this is another race to play DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports, so of course us degenerates are going to be interested and watching closely on Sunday.

Kyle Larson is on the pole for this weekend’s race with his teammate, Chase Elliott, slated to start 2nd. Before we get into this DraftKings article, make sure you check out my FanDuel write-up for Michigan as well (click here) because there’s a lot of crossover between these two sites. Now without further ado, let’s goooo!!!!

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Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages

Kyle Busch leading the Pocono pack 2021
Photo Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images

I got three data tables ready to analyze this weekend for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan. First up is data from the 550hp package this year. This includes eight races thus far: Homestead, Las Vegas, Kansas, Charlotte, both Atlanta races, and both Pocono races. The second table is data from the three races on 2-mile race tracks last season (one race at Auto Club and two races here at Michigan). And then the third table is the last four races of data from here at Michigan specifically. Included in these tables are the following statistics:

  • Starts
  • Finish
  • ARP = average running position
  • DR = driver rating
  • FL = fastest laps (total)
  • LL = laps led (total)
  • T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
  • Total Laps = laps completed (total)

2021 Driver Averages At Intermediate Tracks w/ 550hp Package

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Busch803.407.2113.615817218272056
Kyle Larson807.004.6122.734985119082056
William Byron808.107.0107.916518318422055
Denny Hamlin808.608.5103.0669817272056
Kevin Harvick808.812.391.656014072055
Alex Bowman809.309.798.1653916582054
Brad Keselowski810.410.7100.211318315622052
Martin Truex Jr810.609.995.0756217442047
Ryan Blaney810.610.997.1902816042055
Austin Dillon811.512.683.841115492056
Tyler Reddick811.514.684.7511312542053
Chris Buescher813.914.878.263769482056
Chase Elliott814.811.390.1826115561950
Joey Logano814.913.183.9383714452052
Matt DiBenedetto817.015.174.112211192051
Michael McDowell817.319.565.216213842048
Bubba Wallace817.418.471.71958642049
Kurt Busch818.312.788.311515712211582
Daniel Suarez818.520.665.517145732034
Christopher Bell819.616.074.93869982044
Chase Briscoe820.622.957.2201652050
Ryan Newman821.020.363.73006622013
Ricky Stenhouse Jr821.517.368.215239621936
Ryan Preece821.923.655.31812032040
Erik Jones822.422.057.62803052044
Ross Chastain823.121.864.116104802011
Cole Custer823.821.153.5012571932
Aric Almirola824.321.460.9483041955
Anthony Alfredo826.125.946.424932039
Justin Haley728.429.340.990281890
Corey LaJoie828.625.847.1290431843
Cody Ware830.931.936.400202004
BJ McLeod831.132.235.50092002
James Davison532.032.534.600181032
Garrett Smithley732.132.733.60091673
Quin Houff833.633.530.80011986
Josh Bilicki835.336.027.30001936

2020 Driver Averages At 2-Mile Tracks

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kevin Harvick303.705.7126.665182512517
Kyle Busch303.707.1111.3248497517
Denny Hamlin304.707.8107.83616471517
Martin Truex Jr306.713.995.1113330517
Chase Elliott306.708.399.5109508517
Kurt Busch307.709.099.7130461517
Joey Logano308.310.993.11018431517
Aric Almirola310.013.585.2119322517
Matt DiBenedetto311.712.884.700300517
William Byron313.713.878.651309517
Brad Keselowski315.310.1100.4276440456
Erik Jones316.010.189.8110458517
Ross Chastain117.019.466.00042200
Tyler Reddick317.718.070.740175517
Chris Buescher318.720.761.51028517
Bubba Wallace319.020.664.910118515
Alex Bowman319.309.897.670110378510
Ryan Blaney320.308.4100.25385411455
Ryan Newman220.522.958.91045317
Austin Dillon321.018.767.180144516
Kyle Larson121.023.366.41032199
Christopher Bell322.717.373.1170187397
Ricky Stenhouse Jr323.718.365.136150516
Ryan Preece323.726.049.91020514
Corey LaJoie324.326.448.5100514
Cole Custer325.720.062.410118503
Daniel Suarez326.028.144.4202515
Michael McDowell326.325.150.01010516
Quin Houff331.333.833.1000506
Josh Bilicki133.035.630.0000152
Garrett Smithley334.335.530.0200486
James Davison237.538.125.8100250

2019-2020 Driver Averages At Michigan

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kevin Harvick402.505.8133.8109219665720
Martin Truex Jr403.311.1105.03243535720
Kyle Busch405.009.8101.23011606720
Denny Hamlin405.307.9107.67827591720
Joey Logano407.807.0112.938233623720
Kyle Larson208.512.391.4140271403
Chase Elliott411.310.490.92010640720
Kurt Busch411.308.896.8165651720
William Byron413.012.880.682485720
Daniel Suarez414.820.365.5101250720
Christopher Bell215.013.589.790186317
Ryan Newman415.320.364.930169720
Matt DiBenedetto415.819.168.010208720
Brad Keselowski416.509.8103.04872586659
Chris Buescher417.519.363.670164720
Aric Almirola418.015.776.32310368713
Ryan Preece418.322.357.91082720
Ryan Blaney418.810.492.13535561659
Alex Bowman419.311.984.1170524713
Austin Dillon419.517.668.1127315719
Tyler Reddick221.020.366.04050317
Bubba Wallace421.320.561.100133717
Erik Jones421.811.086.2110553716
Corey LaJoie422.026.247.81012720
Ricky Stenhouse Jr424.520.360.710167719
Michael McDowell426.526.447.4102719
Ross Chastain129.029.340.3101198
Cole Custer229.519.562.210114304
Quin Houff430.533.233.3202708
Josh Bilicki233.034.528.9001349
Garrett Smithley433.534.728.7401685

DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Michigan

It’s not uncommon for Michigan to be a one dominator race. We might get two, but with Kyle Larson on the pole this weekend, it could very well be a one-dominator build. If that happens, you’re looking to fill out the rest of your lineup mainly with place differential plays, and maybe one or two high finishing plays.

  • Michigan is a 2-mile race track. The only other 2-mile track that used to be on the schedule is Auto Club Speedway. We haven’t raced at Auto Club since March of 2020, and we haven’t raced here at Michigan since August of last year. A lot has changed since then, so take those statistics with a grain of salt, but the data from the last two years at these two tracks is very relevant.
  • NASCAR is running the 550hp package this weekend. There have been eight intermediate races with this package that we can analyze from this season: Homestead, Las Vegas, Kansas, both Atlanta races, both Pocono races, and Charlotte.
  • When it comes to the tire combination this weekend, Goodyear is bringing the same left side tires that the Cup Series ran here at Michigan last year. On the right side, they’re bringing the same tires that were used in the Kansas and Las Vegas races this year.
  • There are 200 laps scheduled for the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, which means we’re looking at 50 DraftKings FPTS up for grabs for laps led. Michigan is usually a pretty green race, so we’ll likely see about 160 green flag laps, which would equal 72 possible DraftKings FPTS for fastest laps.

Dominators

These are the potential dominators for Sunday’s race at Michigan, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:

  • Kyle Larson
  • Kyle Busch
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Chase Elliott
  • Martin Truex, Jr.
  • Denny Hamlin

Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Sunday include: Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and William Byron.

Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video

Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.

Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

The optimal DraftKings lineup for Michigan according to my Projections is:

  • Kyle Larson
  • Alex Bowman
  • Christopher Bell
  • Austin Dillon
  • Daniel Suarez
  • Anthony Alfredo

Confidence Rating = 7.6/10. This is a very safe cash lineup to use, in my opinion. You have the most likely dominator in Larson and then the all three major chalk high finish and place differential plays in Bell/A. Dillon/Suarez as well with Alex Bowman rounding it out. Since my brain works more in tournament mode, though, I actually like the 2nd-best lineup (according to my projections) a little more, and that one is: Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, and Anthony Alfredo. You could also go Ryan Blaney instead of Chase Elliott in that second lineup spot.

GPP / Tournament Picks

Burnout Chase Elliott Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Chase Elliott ($9,200) – My projections really like Chase Elliott this weekend, and even though it’s pretty uncomfortable to put together a DraftKings lineup with both front row starters on it, that strategy could definitely work out this weekend at Michigan. Obviously Larson is the favorite to dominate Sunday’s race, but Chase Elliott has shown flashes of similar speed in this 550 hp package this season. Throw in the fact that Chase has the best average finish (7.7) among active drivers at this track and you really have to like rolling the dice on last year’s Cup Champion. Elliott is a legitimate top 5 threat on Sunday and if he can just pick up a handful of dominator points along the way, he’s going to be worth taking the risk on in DraftKings at just $9,200 salary.

Ryan Blaney ($9,000) – If Chase Elliott is a little too risky for you, then go one position further back on the starting grid and consider Ryan Blaney. This #12 Ford has finished 6th or better in six of the eight 550hp package races this season and has the 5th-most fastest laps here at Michigan over the last two years. Blaney only having three career top 5 finishes at this track is probably going to scare some people away, but trust me: that number could easily be double, he just has trouble finishing sometime. It’s the same story with Blaney as it is with Chase Elliott this weekend: pick up some dominator points and a top 5 finish and the moderate DraftKings salary would be worth it. I probably wouldn’t pair these two together in one lineup, though, unless you’re not including Larson in it.

Tyler Reddick ($7,400) – Honestly, I probably like Tyler Reddick a little too much this weekend at Michigan, as this is my favorite tournament play on the slate for sure. Reddick will start from back in 14th for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400, but has legitimate top 10 finishing potential (and will be pushing a little harder with the Playoffs on the line these next two races). Looking at the 550hp package races this year, Reddick five finishes of 9th or better in the eight races and only two results worse than 11th (he was 22nd at Las Vegas and 26th in the first Atlanta race). As mentioned in my DFS YouTube video this week, Reddick is a great pivot or combination driver with the chalk place differential plays priced a little higher.

BONUS TOURNAMENT PLAY: Bubba Wallace ($6,400) – If you’re looking to get off the low-dollar chalk, or want to save some cap from one of the mid-$7,000 drivers, Bubba Wallace is a tournament play to consider. This #23 Toyota is starting to run consistently better than early on in the year, and at Pocono last month (another high horsepower track), Bubba had the 12th-fastest Green Flag Speed. He also ranked 11th-fastest in that category in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. If this race at Michigan on Sunday gets crazy at the end, Bubba Wallace could sneak into the optimal lineup with a surprise finish.

Cash Core Drivers

Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon racing at Michigan International Speedway 2020
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($11,500) – It’s always risky to roll with a high-priced pole sitter in DraftKings cash lineups, but this is Kyle Larson we’re talking about. At Michigan, it is incredibly difficult to pass the leader, so it’s hard to imagine Larson not dominating at least the first half of the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday afternoon. Is it possible? Absolutely, but not likely. Larson is a three-time winner at Michigan and Hendrick Motorsports has had the strongest cars all season. The #5 Chevrolet is going to be a threat to win on Sunday and Larson should pick up the most dominator points along the way yet again.

Austin Dillon ($8,000) – If the obvious chalk plays in this price range this weekend, I think Austin Dillon is the safest, so that’s why I’m writing him up. AD has a career average finish of 16.4 here at Michigan International Speedway and has finished 16th or better in eight of the last eleven races at this track. In the 550hp package this year, he’s got an average finish of 11.5 and an average running position of 12.6. As long as he doesn’t wreck, Austin Dillon is a very strong DraftKings option this weekend at Michigan.

Anthony Alfredo ($5,800) – Nobody really likes this but DraftKings is really not giving us much of a choice when it comes to lineup builds this weekend; Anthony Alfredo is the no-brainer chalk play in this price range. He starts back in 35th and even on a bad day should be fast enough to get a top 28 finish. On a good day, Alfredo will post a top 25. At $5,800 in DraftKings, and with a starting position of 35th, it’s just a no-brainer. Eat the chalk with Pasta this weekend, especially in cash games.

FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan DraftKings Driver Projections

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnershipStarting PositionCeiling Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Kyle Larson$11,50079.6338.80%1117.2503.0$144
Kyle Busch$10,80060.5219.13%778.6003.2$178
Brad Keselowski$9,80049.9028.10%2072.7009.3$196
Denny Hamlin$10,40049.7312.32%963.0004.8$209
Martin Truex Jr$9,40048.3320.56%565.0504.3$194
Joey Logano$9,60047.5529.84%1964.7009.2$202
Chase Elliott$9,20045.5822.04%275.7005.3$202
Ryan Blaney$9,00044.9522.62%375.8507.5$200
Kevin Harvick$10,00044.9018.22%864.7505.7$223
William Byron$10,20044.5820.59%1866.4009.7$229
Christopher Bell$8,10044.3030.35%2858.2514.5$183
Alex Bowman$8,80043.8026.11%1070.8509.2$201
Austin Dillon$8,00042.6733.52%2652.0013.8$188
Daniel Suarez$7,80037.2334.40%3053.7019.3$209
Tyler Reddick$7,40033.6822.95%1448.0513.0$220
Aric Almirola$8,30030.3315.98%2345.8018.2$274
Kurt Busch$8,50030.1810.63%641.1510.2$282
Ross Chastain$7,70028.5020.25%2242.1518.5$270
Cole Custer$7,00026.1714.45%2742.9022.5$268
Ryan Preece$7,50025.3316.36%3235.9025.2$296
Bubba Wallace$6,40022.2314.73%1540.3519.0$288
Anthony Alfredo$5,80021.6737.01%3529.0028.2$268
Chase Briscoe$6,70020.838.25%2126.4521.8$322
Matt DiBenedetto$7,30019.178.08%432.2513.8$381
Michael McDowell$6,00017.8326.41%2530.9024.7$336
Chris Buescher$6,50017.236.26%1127.3518.3$377
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,90016.837.84%1232.8019.3$410
Ryan Newman$7,10013.958.07%1630.3522.0$509
Josh Berry$5,60013.8310.07%2424.4526.7$405
Cody Ware$5,40010.002.25%3714.0034.2$540
BJ McLeod$5,20010.001.56%3613.0033.3$520
Erik Jones$6,20008.127.43%1320.9023.2$764
Quin Houff$4,50005.170.92%3110.0033.5$871
Garrett Smithley$4,80003.671.93%3308.0035.2$1,309
Josh Bilicki$4,60000.670.44%2904.0034.7$6,900
Justin Haley$5,10000.331.53%1707.0029.3$15,300
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.