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PREVIEW: August 10-11, 2019: NASCAR at Michigan and Mid-Ohio

 PREVIEW: August 10-11, 2019: NASCAR at Michigan and Mid-Ohio

This is a quiet weekend with only three major series races, all NASCAR.

Saturday, Aug. 10

1. NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Corrigan Oil 200, Michigan Intl. Speedway
• TV: FSR at 1:00P
• 2.0 mi; 100 laps = 200 mi; Stages: 20/20/60 laps
• The winner here a year ago was Brett Moffitt. Johnny Sauter was second and John Hunter Nemechek was third.
• The most recent NGOTS race was held on the Eldora dirt half-mile a week ago, Stewart Friesen was the winner; his first win in this series. Sheldon Creed was second and Grant Enfinger was third. Although Creed team was penalized for losing a ballast weight during practice, Creed’s points and playoff eligibility standings were not affected.
• The Michigan race is the final ‘regular season’ race before the end-of-season playoffs begin the following week at Bristol. As of now, there are five drivers with at least one race win: Moffitt, Chastain, Friesen, Austin Hill and Johnny Sauter.
• Click HERE for the NGOTS entry list.

2. NASCAR Xfinity B&L Transport 170, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
• TV: TSN4/5 at 3:00P
• 2.258 mi; 75 laps = 169.35 mi; Stages: 20/20/35 laps
• Last year, Justin Allgaier won this race while Austin Cindric finished in second place and Daniel Hemric was third.
• Austin Cindric raced to the win at Watkins Glen last week. A.J. Almendinger, in a one-off ride, finished second after a hard-fought final few laps. However, Almendinger’s car was deemed to be too low and it was disqualified. Christopher Bell was elevated to a second-place finish and Justin Allgaier to third.
• The season-end playoffs begin with the Richmond race on September 20. Including the Mid-Ohio event, there are six more ‘regular season’ races to be contested. Going into this weekend, according to NASCAR’s reckoning, the top three drivers in the playoff prospects are Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick. Bell has the most race wins with five. Most pundits consider the title race to be between this ‘Big Three’.
• Click HERE for the Xfinity entry list.

Sunday, August 11

3. NASCAR MENCS, Consumers Energy 400, Michigan Intl. Speedway
• TV: TSN4/5 at 3:00P
• 2.0 mi; 200 laps = 400 mi; Stages: 60/60/80 laps
• Kevin Harvick was the winner here last year. Brad Keselowski was second and Kyle Busch finished in third place. In 2018 Harvick’s win here was his seventh win of the season; so far this year he has only won once, at New Hampshire.
• With four more MENCS Cup races (Michigan through Indianapolis) to be run before the playoffs begin at Darlington, the lineup of playoff-eligible drivers may shift a bit as drivers fall off the bottom of the list and are replaced by others. For any driver who has yet to win a race this year, a race win will almost certainly guarantee them a spot in the first round of the playoffs at Las Vegas. However, with 16 drivers making the playoffs, many of these have little or no chance of actually making it through the rounds of eliminations and winning the finale at Homestead. My money is on any of the drivers who have already won at least two Cup races – Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex. Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. If any driver other than one of these six win the title, it wold be an upset – but the NASCAR playoff rules are designed to keep almost everyone in the game with some chance of winning the title. So, given that, winning the title is not that big a deal. For my part, I think that the little-noticed regular season title is more meaningful given that it goes to the driver who has had the best performance consistently over the whole of the regular season. At the moment, Kyle Busch has the most points – 851 to Logano’s 838 – and Busch has the most race wins, four.
• Click HERE for the MENCS entry list.

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