NASCAR Favorites for FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway

by Jonathan Howard

Michigan International Speedway has provided some great moments. The NASCAR favorites are ready for the FireKeepers Casino 400. Last year, Ryan Blaney won this race as the regular season started to wind down. With Blaney still searching for a win this season, is this the weekend he finally does it? The No. 12 team would like to see themselves securely in the playoffs and not thinking “what if?” when the postseason starts.

Once again, as we prepare for another weekend of Cup Series action, it’s Chase Elliott at the top of the Vegas odds. Along with Kyle Busch, Elliott is the favorite at 6-1 opening odds. These two drivers have had very different seasons.

Elliott has come into form and looks almost unstoppable at this point in the season.

Meanwhile, Busch and his team have taken advantage of their good days, and have had their fair share of bad days as well. The No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t been the most consistent, but you can’t count out Rowdy as the postseason inches closer.

The Chase Pack

After those top two NASCAR favorites, there is a group of drivers that have won at least one race on the year. If anyone is going to catch up to Elliott and his playoff points lead before the regular season ends, it’s likely one of these three.

Kyle Larson (7-1), Denny Hamlin (8-1), and Ross Chastain (10-1) are all in a position to have a big weekend. If Hamlin hadn’t had his Pocono win taken and subsequently given to Elliott – we would have a more interesting situation on our hands.

Of course, Larson cannot be counted out no matter how many wins he does or doesn’t have. And, with the way Chastain has been the big surprise of the Cup Series, how can you ignore him as an option as well? I’m not sure that the other Cup drivers will let Chastain get close to that trophy, though. He has a couple more bumps coming his way.

NASCAR Favorites – What About Ryan Blaney?

This season has been a wild one. The Next Gen car has been a revelation, even though it has also been a headache at times. There has been some exciting racing on tracks that haven’t always been that exciting. Then, we have the win-and-you’re-in method of the playoffs. Except, with 14 individual winners on the season that picture gets more complicated by the day.

Elliott leads the points standings with 821 points, four wins, and eight top-five finishes. Blaney sits in second with 696 points – despite not having a single win on the season. However, he does have seven top-five finishes. It’s been a season of almosts for Blaney.

This weekend, he isn’t one of the NASCAR favorites, but Blaney did open up at 12-1 odds. Could we see him finally breakthrough at the end of the season, much like he did in 2021?