DraftKings NASCAR: FireKeepers Casino 400

DraftKings NASCAR: FireKeepers Casino 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

FireKeepers Casino 400

Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Course: Michigan International Speedway
Format: 2.0-mile D-shaped oval
Laps: 200

Race Preview

Kurt Busch picked up his first victory of 2016 last week in Pocono, and now he leads the field to Michigan where he's the defending winner of last year's rain-shortened race. While Jimmie Johnson won earlier this season on Michigan's sister track, Auto Club Speedway, a repeat isn't necessarily a given. The two circuits, while similar, differ in terms of the steepness of the banking on the surface. Michigan's extra banking seems to create much more frantic racing, and often produces some of the fastest and exciting racing we see all season. All that should be true again this week, as the Chevrolet and Ford powered teams work to etch away at the early-season dominance from Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. Horsepower and handling will be on display this week as teams work to join the Chase for the Sprint Cup by adding a victory to their 2016 accomplishments.

Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway

Number of previous races: 93
Winners from pole: 19
Winners from top-5 starters: 55
Winners from top-10 starters: 70
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
Fastest race: 173.997 mph

Last 10 Michigan Winners

2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Jeff Gordon
2014 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2013 fall - Joey Logano
2013 spring - Greg Biffle
2012 fall - Greg Biffle
2012 spring - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2011 fall - Kyle Busch
2011 spring - Denny Hamlin

Wide turns offer drivers room to move up and down the track through Michigan's long turns as they search to find the fastest line around the circuit. Teams will work hard to find the setup that allows their drivers to carry as much speed through the middle of the turns as possible, while jumping back onto the throttle as early as possible to rocket down the long straights. Engine power is an important factor at this fast circuit, but the ability to carry speed through and off the corners can make passing into the next turn an easier proposition. Drivers will battle changes in handling in their machines, which produces many opportunities to move forward or fall back in the running. While the race distance can sometimes create fuel-mileage dictated finishes, the prevailing strategy this week will be focused on raw speed. Michigan has become one of the more exciting circuits on the calendar, and its mix of high speed and close racing should produce another thriller this week.

(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,300
Jimmie Johnson - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Matt Kenseth - $9,900
Joey Logano - $9,800
Kurt Busch - $9,700
Brad Keselowski - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kyle Larson - $8,900
Denny Hamlin - $8,700
Austin Dillon - $8,200
Kasey Kahne - $8,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Greg Biffle - $6,900
Paul Menard - $6,300
Casey Mears - $5,900


Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Matt Kenseth - $9,900
Joey Logano - $9,800
Ryan Newman - $7,100
Paul Menard - $6,300
Casey Mears - $5,900

It's logical to take the runner up in five of the last six Michigan races as the first choice in the lower-risk lineup this week. Supporting him would be Kenseth, who was strong in Pocono and led 31 laps. He has three Michigan wins, including the last races at the track where he led 146 of 200 circuits. Logano finished fifth last week, and is on a six-race string of top-10 Michigan finishes heading into this week's race. Things are starting to appear a bit brighter for Newman, and he finished eighth in the fall race last season. Results so far in 2016 have been lacking for Menard, but this race is a good opportunity for him to do well. He scored three top-fives and four top-10s in the five most recent Michigan races. Looking at the last 21 Michigan races shows that Mears offers one of the best price-per-point values in the current field for the DraftKings' scoring formula, which is a good value to add to the lower-risk lineup this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Carl Edwards - $9,500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,400
Denny Hamlin - $8,700
Austin Dillon - $8,200
Tony Stewart - $7,300
Greg Biffle - $6,900

Michigan has been a good track for Edwards throughout his career, and it's time for him to begin matching past achievements there with Joe Gibbs Racing. He finished sixth in the fall race and led 46 laps at the track in the two races in 2015. Earnhardt's runner-up finish in Pocono may have surprised him slightly, but the momentum that it gives the team to succeed in Michigan will be valuable. Earnhardt has two wins at the track and is on a string of four consecutive Michigan top-10s heading into this week. Hamlin is also a two-time Michigan winner with two top-10s in his last three outings here. After a strong run of drives in the first part of this season Dillon has hit a slump. Michigan could offer him a way back to the front of the pack, and his fourth-place finish there last fall should give him optimism for the weekend. While an unfortunate incident knocked Stewart out of the race last week he's still proving he can be competitive in the series. He has finished inside the top 10 at the track in more than 60 percent of his 32 career starts at the oval. Biffle is another driver who has a pedigree to suggest Michigan success, but will need to outperform the current trend he has been on this season.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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