Aug 3, 2014; Long Pond, PA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (42) leans on his car prior to the start of the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings Michigan - Pure Michigan 400

This week’s Power Rankings – Pure Michigan 400 is the last trip the left turners will make this season in the motor capital of the world, Michigan.

Jimmie Johnson took the checkers in the first Michigan race this year and looks to rebound from a sub par average finish of 33rd the past five races. I know this is unheard of for the #48 crew, and my personal opinion is to avoid Mr. Johnson until the Chase starts. This happened to Johnson late in last year’s regular season and it’s carrying over to this year. Then he goes on a Chase binge and wins the Chase. He’s turning into a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get. His average start the past five years is 9.4. He ranks third among all active drivers at Michigan,  but his average finish is 16.4 the past five years.

This will be a welcomed track for Matt Kenseth, as he looks to get that elusive first win of the season to propel his team into the Chase. Kenseth ranks second among all active drivers with career stats of two wins, 12 top fives and 18 top 10s with the third best average finish of 9.8 among all active drivers the past five years. He finished 14th the first time out, but I look for a better finish this time around.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. should be a solid pick for the Pure Michigan 400. He started third in the first Michigan race and finished seventh.  He ranks fifth among all active drivers in ratings at Michigan with two poles, two wins, six top 10s and an average finish of  16.2 the past five years. Don’t let that average finish discourage you, he’s been coming on strong the past two years at Michigan.

Kevin Harvick doesn’t even rank in driver ratings for Michigan, but he should be given a good look.  He took the pole and finished second in June. He ranks sixth with one pole, one win, four top fives and five top 10s the past five years. He’s been improving with an average finish of 9.8.

Joey Logano won this race last year and should figure in for a good finish. He has one pole, one win, and one top five for his career at Michigan. It’s still early in Joey’s career but he’s figured something out with a ninth place finish at the first Michigan race. His price should be right.

Kyle Larson really surprised last week at The Glen by finishing fourth. This kid I call “Bulls-Eye” is on target as he tops the list for Michigan with one top 10 and an average finish of 8.0. I know he only has one Michigan race under his belt but he has 10 top 10 finishes this year, to date. How many Cup drivers can brag about that this year? Pencil him in; his price on most leagues should still be attractive.

Lets review the results from the first Michigan race June 15, 2014:

1st #48 Jimmie Johnson – Winner

2nd #4 Kevin Harvick

3rd #2 Brad Keselowski

4th #27 Paul Menard

5th #5 Kasey Kahne

6th #24 Jeff Gordon

7th #Dale Earnhardt Jr

8th #42 Kyle Larson

9th #22 Joey Logano

10th #15 Clint Bowyer

 

Track position is crucial at Michigan, its notorious for long runs and drivers getting lapped.

Here are my power rankings for the last five years at Michigan:

 

10 Kasey Kahne- 3 top 5s and 5 top 10s, average finish 15.2.

9 Ryan Newman- 1 top 5 and 3 top 10s, average finish 15.0.

8 Brad Keselowski- 3 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 14.6.

7 Carl Edwards- 2 top 5s and 5 top 10s, average finish 12.7.

6 Kevin Harvick- 1 win, 4 top 5s and 5 top 10s, average finish 9.8.

Clint Bowyer- 1 top 5 and 7 top 10s, average finish 9.7.

4 Tony Stewart- 3 top 5s and 6 top 10s, average finish 9.6.

3 Matt Kenseth- 3 top 5s and 5 top 10s, average finish 9.6.

2 Greg Biffle- 2 wins, 4 top 5s and 6 top 10s, average finish 9.2.

1 Kyle Larson- 1 top 10, average finish 8.0.

 

The top 10 Power Rankings for Michigan are based on the past five year’s stats. Check out my “Ice Picks” after qualifying and compare our picks for Sunday’s race. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thanks for stopping in.

@JoeIcemanNieves

Tags: Kyle Larson Michigan International Speedway NASCAR Power Rankings

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