May 24, 2024

NASCAR Cup drivers to watch at Michigan

The NASCAR Cup Series makes its lone visit to Michigan International Speedway on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network).

Four races remain in the regular season. Kevin Harvick, who won this event last year, could clinch a playoff spot this weekend. He’s also looking for his first win of the year. So is Michigan native Brad Keselowski.

Here’s a look at the drivers to keep an eye on Sunday:

FRONTRUNNERS

Kevin Harvick

Points position: 6th

Best finish this season: 2nd (Darlington)

Past at Michigan: Has won five of the last seven races at Michigan, including last year’s event. Harvick’s six Michigan wins are the most among active drivers. He’s led the most laps in four of the last eight Michigan races. He could clinch a playoff spot even if he doesn’t win Sunday’s race. He has six wins and 22 top 10s in 42 career starts at Michigan.

Chase Elliott

Points position: 20th

Best finish this season: 2nd (Fontana)

Past at Michigan: Has finished top 10 in 10 of his 12 Michigan starts, including three runner-up results there. He has an average finish of 8.0 at Michigan, best all-time in Cup among drivers with three or more starts there. Enters weekend 40 points from the cutline for the final playoff spot.

Kyle Larson

Points position: 8th

Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond I, Martinsville)

Past at Michigan: He is a three-time winner in Cup at this track, his most wins at any Cup track in his career. He’s finished in the top three in six of the last 10 Michigan races.

Denny Hamlin

Points position: 2nd

Best finish this season: 1st (Kansas, Pocono)

Past at Michigan: Has five consecutive finishes of sixth or better, including four top fives at this track. He has two career Cup wins at Michigan. Hamlin placed third in last year’s race. Moved into second place in the points after Richmond.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Ross Chastain

Points position: 7th

Best finish this season: 1st (Nashville)

Past at Michigan: Does not have a top-10 finish in five Cup starts at Michigan. Could use a good finish. Since his win at Nashville in late June, he’s placed no better than 13th. He’s finished outside the top 20 in four of the last five races this season.

Brad Keselowski

Points position: 11th

Best finish this season: 2nd (Atlanta I)

Past at Michigan: The Michigan native is winless in 25 career Cups starts at the track. He has finished runner-up three times there, most recently in 2020. He enters this weekend having scored three top 10s in the last four races.

Tyler Reddick

Points position: 12th

Best finish this season: 1st (Circuit of the Americas)

Past at Michigan: His best finish at this track is 18th in 2020. He has placed 29th in the last two Michigan races. He enters this weekend having finished 16th or worse in six of the last eight races this season.

Michael McDowell

Points position: 16th

Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta II)

Past at Michigan: Has never finished better than 20th in 16 career Cup starts at this track. After this weekend, the series races at the Indy road course, Watkins Glen and Daytona, all tracks McDowell can do well at. That makes this race a pivotal one for him Sunday.

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