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Firekeepers Casino 400

Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the Firekeepers Casino 400

In order to move forward, change must take place.  It’s part of life, and part of machines.  Computers and cell phones all become outdated, and will not work properly after a length of time.  It means that something new has come out, and is showing it is just as good, if not better.

For NASCAR, that was part of what occurred twice last season, when the sanctioning body decided to test out a pair of aerodynamic packages to see what it could do for competition.

In a ironic twist, NASCAR visits a track that is seeing it’s fourth different package that has been run.  In the summer, the way these Gen-6 cars were set up were meant to have a high amount of drag.  A large splitter out front was combined with a massively tall spoiler.  The spoiler was so tall, the upper half needed to be clear just so the rearview mirror could be effective, and even had a wicker on the top to catch some of the air passing over the decklid.

The results…not so great.

Now, taking a note from what NASCAR is running this season, this package is including a much smaller spoiler, a whole inch shorter than what is ran on a weekly basis, and the length is reduced by another few inches.  Not as much downforce means a bit of handling trouble, but also means speeds could be massively high.

But then again, that is what Michigan International Speedway is known for, especially since it underwent a repave a few years ago.

It’s now time to hit the Irish Hills, a place every writer loves to see the top stars of Cup competition do battle.  Let’s see who they hope will be victorious in the Firekeepers Casino 400:


Misan Akuya:  Chase Elliott

Who would have thought that 14 races in that Chase Elliott would have five top fives, ten top tens, 83 laps lead, and be seventh in points? I expected him to be in chase contention.  But right now he’s showing the beginning of a great career.  He is going to win soon.  And I don’t see why not here in the Irish Hills.

Rob Blount:  Joey Logano

He’s going to get that win soon, and I’m going to keep picking him until he does.

Mary Jo Buchanan:  Dale Earnhardt Jr.

No reason given.

Stephen Conley:  Carl Edwards

No reason given.

Billy Fellin:  Brad Keselowski

Penske has been strong recently and a Blue Oval winning at Michigan is just right.

Ashley Hobbs:  Chase Elliott

No reason given.

Ashley Hull:  Joey Logano

No reason given.

Kara Martin:  Kyle Busch

No reason given.

Ashley McCubbin:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Klarissa Mitchell:  Matt Kenseth

No reason given.

Dustin Parks:  Matt Kenseth

I had to do a lot of thinking on this one.  I was tempted to go with the home town man in Keselowski, but then I got to thinking about this aero package, and specifically how the teams have performed the last four times a new package was used in a points race.  Last year, we had two tracks that ran the low-downforce package similar to what we have now.  Then in another two races, it was the high-drag design.  All four races were won by a JGR team.  Now, we’re with a new package that has even less downforce than the package used a year ago at Kentucky and Darlington.

So, gonna stick with the JGR group, and go with the guy who won when the spoilers were tall, and included a wicker at the top.  Gimme that 20.

Patti Rodisch:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Rob Tiongson:  Chase Elliott

He’s been on a great five straight race streak in which he’s scored a top-10 finish since Talladega.  It seems like the team is really making a full circle with closing one amazing book in racing with one that’s being written by a young Georgian.
Yep, I’m going with Chase again.  The faster the track, the stronger this driver is, and I expect more of the same for the rookie as he looks to get his first Cup win ever at a place kind to Hendrick and the Elliott clan.


Standings after Pocono:

Ashley McCubbin (467) Jimmie Johnson finished 35th – 2

Sal Sigala Jr. (442) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 2

Dustin Parks (420) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 1

Ashley Hull (412) Kyle Larson finished 11th – 6

Rob Blount (398) Joey Logano finished 5th – 2

Patti Rodisch (398) Martin Truex Jr. finished 19th – 2

Kara Martin (388) Kevin Harvick finished 9th – 1

Mary Jo Buchanan (375) Joey Logano finished 5th – 1

Klarissa Mitchell (352) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd – 1

Rob Tiongson (342) Chase Elliott finished 4th – 2

Misan Akuya (340) Denny Hamlin finished 14th – 2

Billy Fellin (333) Martin Truex Jr. finished 19th – 1

Ashley Hobbs (290) Jimmie Johnson finished 35th – 1

Stephen Conley (269) Jimmie Johnson finished 35th – 0


Summary of Picks:

Chase Elliott-3

Kevin Harvick-3

Matt Kenseth-2

Joey Logano-2

Kyle Busch-1

Dale Earnhardt Jr-1

Carl Edwards-1

Brad Keselowski-1

About Dustin Parks

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