2022 NASCAR Preview: Week 23 – Michigan

Back to ovals, and today…we go FAST!

As the hot summer scorches on, the Playoff picture gets even hotter! Two drivers currently slotted for the postseason are in on Points (not Wins), so the door remains open for a first-time victor. Michigan is a 2.0-mile oval, sister track to Fontana which we saw way back in Week 2. Months and months later, do we see a similar race to that one, or do we get a whole new experience?

Here’s what to look for:

Bubba Wallace earned his first career Pole on Saturday, and he’ll start out front of a hungry field in an important race. He’s one of those drivers who are currently slotted to “watch” the Championship chase and not be an active participant in trophy hunting. With eight attempts at Michigan and just one Top 20, it doesn’t look great for Bubba…but stranger things have already happened this season.

Ryan Blaney was our 2021 winner, bouncing back strongly after a 38th place finish in his previous Michigan race. Over the last ten races, Blaney sports a 13.3 average with plenty of drivers ranked above him. The Fords seems to perform well at this track for whatever reason though; will we get another Blue Oval in Victory Lane today?

Kevin Harvick sure hopes so. And even more than that he hopes that he’s the one behind the wheel. A Cup Series best 5.9 average finish over the last ten races with four Wins, Happy Harvick would be Ecstatic should be cash in on some of that prowess and punch his ticket to the postseason. He’s listed 17th (of 16) right now, and that is not good enough.

Kyle Larson was our winner at California earlier this season, and he’s also a three-time winner at Michigan, a trio of consecutive 1st place finishes from 2016-17. He hasn’t had that level of success here since then, but goodness, did he have it everywhere else last year.

-When looking at the Top 10 driver averages over the last ten at Michigan, one name that really doesn’t jive with the others is Chase Briscoe. That’s not a knock on him, no, but rather a bright spot in the young driver’s career. He finished 11th here last year in his only attempt. Briscoe ran 16th at Michigan in the Spring, and could be looking at a certified Top 10 today. He’s got some work to do though — the #14 rolls off 23rd.

Coverage of today’s race starts on USA at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:01pm.

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