Column by: SHANE CARLSON / RPW – BROOKLYN, MI – After a visit to Pocono Raceway last week, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is racing on the wide, multi-grooved Michigan International Speedway this weekend.
Elliott Sadler remains the points leader but also winless. Sadler fans need not worry, for he has been far and wide the most consistent driver so far this season, with nine top-fives in 12 starts. It shows the speed his No. 1 JR Motorsports team brings to the racetrack every week but there’s no doubt he would love to start off the summer swing by getting into Victory Lane.
Alex Bowman will be driving the No. 23 GMS Racing entry in place of the suspended Spencer Gallagher and splitting time behind the wheel with Chase Elliott, who recorded a runner-up finish to Kyle Busch in Pocono.
The last three spring Michigan races have been won by a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and so the Ford and Chevrolet teams are working hard to bring home a trophy in their own backyard, a race in which manufacturer pride is second to none.
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Race: LTi Printing 250
Date: Saturday, June 9
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Length: 125 laps, 250 miles
Radio: Motor Racing Network
My pick to win is…
No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford Fusion
Roush Fenway Racing
For the second-straight week, the Xfinity Series will employ a restrictor plate package at Michigan. Ryan Reed has two career wins, both coming on the restrictor plate track of Daytona. He is in a long winless drought and Michigan should feel like a scaled-down version of Daytona or Talladega on Saturday, or at least that’s the hope. Roush could use a win as an organization to back off the doubters and Ford as well as Chevrolet put a big emphasis on winning at Michigan, so expect the 16 to run strong.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Power Rankings
- Elliott Sadler: Nine top-fives in 12 starts. No one else is even close.
- Christopher Bell: Coming off a 36th–place finish last week, Bell continued his inconsistent season. He’ll look to bounce back in Michigan, where he is making his first Xfinity Series start.
- Justin Allgaier: Pocono was unkind to Allgaier as he was relegated to a 37th-place finish but remains sixth in the standings with one win. Allgaier has three top-10s at Michigan, with one top-five which came in 2010.
- Daniel Hemric: Daniel Hemric hasn’t quite shown he is capable of winning yet, but he’s getting close. If he keeps putting himself in position to score top-fives and top-10s, the win will come.
- Tyler Reddick: Eight top-10s and a win has Reddick in the top-five in the standings. A ninth-place finish in Pocono wasn’t much to write home about, but he was able to take advantage of a few drivers ahead of him in the standings who had trouble.