By Walker Polivka
The NASCAR Cup Series continues today with the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the race, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Driver to Fade: Todd Gilliland- Coming off of a career best 4th place finish last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Gilliland has had little success in 2022, with last week being both his first top 10 and top 5 finish of the season, and earning just 8 top 20 finishes along the way. Michigan is not looking to be a particularly good track for Gilliland, as he was one of the slowest throughout Practice and Qualified in the 37th and final spot for today’s race. Gilliland is a lock to finish outside the top 20 this afternoon.
Dark Horse: Ty Gibbs- Making his 3rd career Cup Series start today, Ty Gibbs has done well so far, finishing in the top 20 in both previous starts. Gibbs is having a strong season in the Xfinity Series, with 5 wins, 9 top 5’s, and 13 top 10’s in 21 starts. Winner of the Xfinity Series race at Michigan yesterday, Gibbs has shown he has a fast car for today’s race, running in the top 10 during Practice yesterday and Qualifying in 11th place. A win would be unheralded, but a top 12 finish is certainly realistic today for Gibbs.
Top 10: Kyle Busch- Busch has had a mixed year, with 1 win, 6 top 5’s, and 11 top 10’s, but has been on a cold streak of late, with 7 straight finishes outside the top 10, including 4 finishes outside the top 20. Michigan has been a track that has produced mixed results for Busch throughout the years, with 1 win, 9 top 5’s, and 15 top 10’s in 33 career starts. The Toyotas were fast in Practice and Qualifying yesterday and Busch is certainly primed for a great run this afternoon, as he was the fastest in Practice and was 3rd in Qualifying. Busch has had 9 straight top 10 finishes at Michigan and we predict that he will extend that streak to 10 straight today.
Winner: Bubba Wallace- Ranked 20th in the points standings, Wallace has had a quiet season, with 3 top 5’s and 5 top 10’s. However, Wallace has come alive of late, with 2 top 5’s in his last 3 starts, 3 straight top 10 finishes, and 5 top 15’s in his last 6 starts. Fresh off of a 5th place finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Wallace has had minimal success at Michigan in the Cup Series, with just 1 top 10 and 4 top 20’s in 8 career starts. Wallace has done well at Michigan in another series though, winning here in the Truck Series in 2017. Wallace has had a fast car all weekend, finishing 2nd in Practice and Qualifying on the Pole for today’s race. Wallace has improved greatly of late and we predict that he will shake up the Playoffs by winning today at Michigan!