Joey Logano will start from the Busch Pole in Monday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (5 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Does the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion merit a spot in your Fantasy Live lineup? We’ve dissected the numbers to offer a suggested lineup worthy of your Fantasy Live consideration.
RJ Kraft’s Fantasy Live lineup for race day at Michigan:
1. Joey Logano
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Kurt Busch
5. Paul Menard
Garage: Erik Jones
Analysis: Logano and Harvick are my cornerstones — based on past Michigan history and their overall solid performances in 2019. With the two of them in my lineup, I don’t want to overload on some of the higher scoring drivers in 2019 for fear that if things go wrong or drivers underform, I can only get one of them out. This is something to consider as we move deeper in the regular season. That means Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski take a seat. I wanted to use Chase Elliott here with his strong Michigan numbers, but the speed just doesn’t seem to be there this weekend. Martin Truex Jr. was another consideration for me, but I like a number of other summer tracks for him.
Bowyer is the defending race winner and has had strong speed all weekend long. He’s also been pretty steady for the past two-plus months. Busch has been strong on the 10-lap board this weekend, had the second-best 20-lap average (h/t@MikeJoy500) and has been solid at this 2-mile track before. Menard qualified well — sixth — and posted the fifth-best 10-lap average in opening practice. He finished fifth in this race last year and his overall Michigan numbers show its among his better tracks. I also have yet to use him, so I like the idea of him as a driver who can help me save a use elsewhere. Jones gets the garage spot on the strength of his top-three spot in both practices on the 10-lap board. I gave some extra consideration to Aric Almirola and Ryan Blaney for this spot, but I just have a gut feeling on the Joe Gibbs Racing driver performing well at home.
For bonus picks, I’ve got Logano winning Stage 1 and then Harvick the rest of the way and Ford for the manufacturer pick.
Each week in this space, we’ll also highlight two Props Challenge items for players.
1. O/U 28.5 stage points for Team Penske. I’m taking the over. I expect Logano to nab top-three finishes in each stage meaning that Keselowski and Blaney need to score 5-7 stage points apiece to make this work. That’s something both drivers have done plenty of times in the past and something that they are more than capable of doing in the Irish Hills.
2. Which Hendrick Motorsports driver will finish higher: William Byron or Jimmie Johnson? Johnson had the better 10-lap averages in both practices and qualified slightly better. This duo has finished higher than the other seven times apiece, so this is pretty even and a close call. I like the second-year driver Byron to finish just higher than the seven-time champion on Monday.