Wager Alarm Best Bets: FireKeepers Casino 400
Matt Selz studies the track, the drivers, the odds, and everything else to bring you the best bets for NASCAR's FireKeepers Casino 400.
We’ve got ourselves a 400-mile race on a 2-mile track on Sunday. Michigan International Speedway is host for the FireKeepers Casino 400 and it’s one of the fastest tracks on the schedule, even with the reduced horsepower package in place. Over the history of Michigan, there have been a lot of cars to win from starting up front, 52 of 99 winners have started in the top-four starting spots, however there have also been 10% of the winners to come from 20th or worse so pit strategy and ability to pass will play a big role on Sunday. With this being the seventh race using this package we can start to take more seriously the results from previous races that employed it, including the race at Auto Club earlier this year which is a nearly identical track.
Kyle Busch – 5/2
Busch won the race at Auto Club in this package earlier this year and is coming off a win last week at Pocono. He has once again shown to have a top-five car in terms of speed before he qualified P15 for the race. Busch will have work to do on Sunday afternoon but in the last four races at Michigan he has the best average finish in the field at 6.0.
Kevin Harvick – 4/1
Harvick won here last time there was a race, last August, and has seven top-fives in the last 10 races at Michigan. He has shown very good speed the last few weeks as he was able to run in Kyle Busch’s tire tracks much of the race a week ago before having an issue. Harvick qualified P3 for the race and showed top-five long-run speed in practice with the 4-car making this a weekend he could break through for his first win of the 2019 season.
Joey Logano – 6/1
Logano is on the pole for the race on Sunday and has been the most consistent driver at this particular race the last five years. In that span he has five top-10s and overall at this track, Logano has also won twice with both wins coming from starting on the pole. The 22-car showed top-five speed for much of practice and with his history at this track and the best average finish of any driver in this package this year, the 6-1 odds are a pretty nice return this weekend.
Chase Elliott – 19/2
Elliott is coming to his best track this weekend as he has never finished worse than ninth in his six Cup races here. He also has three runners-up finishes in that span and the best average finish of anyone in the last six races at the track. He will start 17th on Sunday and has some work to do but he has also nailed down five-straight top-five finishes coming into the race and showed top-10 speed in practice.
Kurt Busch – 22/1
Busch won this race in 2016 and has three top-10s in the last five runnings of this race. The 1-car has been consistently fast in this package with an average finish inside the top-10 in the six prior races that used it in 2019. Now he’s starting 7th on Sunday and had a top-six car in practice meaning he should be able to hang near the front all day and if he catches a break, could wind up in victory lane for the first time this year.
Erik Jones – 22/1
Jones is coming to his home track this weekend and one that he’s done well at before with a top-10 and average finish of 11th in his four Cup races here. He also comes in relatively hot with two top-fives and three top-10s in the last four races in this package as well. He will start 14th on Sunday but showed top-five speed in practice and has won at this track in lower levels before as well. Going at these odds he’s worth a few bucks to see if he can’t become the first Michigan-born driver to win at the track in its history.
Paul Menard – 100/1
Menard has been a great performer here with two top-fives and three top-10s in the last five June races and three top-fives and four top-10s in the last 10 races overall here. That might not sound like a lot but for a single-car, slightly underfunded team that’s a good showing. The Wood Brothers, the team he drives for, have won several times at this track and their car always seems to run well at the larger tracks. Going back to Auto Club he was able to move up several spots throughout that race which bodes well for his ability to stay in the top-10 this week, which is where he starts. Clearly, the odds are long, but if he catches breaks that means a nice payday for you on Sunday.