FireKeepers Casino 400: Drivers To Keep An Eye On Sunday

Written By Drew Ellis on August 20, 2021 - Last Updated on December 8, 2023
NASCAR Michigan Race August 2021

It’s nearly NASCAR Cup Series race time at Michigan International Speedway.

The green flag for the FireKeepers Casino 400 will wave at 3 p.m. ET Sunday.

Earlier, we took a look at some of the storylines heading into the racing weekend. Now, it’s time to look at the drivers you should keep an eye on to come away with the checkered flag.

The FireKeepers Casino 400 Rundown

Unlike most seasons, where the NASCAR Cup Series runs twice at MIS, the 2021 campaign features just one race at the track.

  • Date: Sunday, Aug. 22
  • Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn
  • Race Length: 400 miles
  • Laps: 200 (2 miles per lap)
  • Surface: Asphalt
  • TV/streaming: NBC Sports Network/Peacock
  • Defending champion: Kevin Harvick

Larson remains strong favorite

As Sunday approaches, Kyle Larson remains the favorite to win the race at MIS.

Larson will start from the pole position, and oddsmakers like him to emerge as the winner.

DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook both list him up top.

Here’s the top five odds from both books as of Friday morning.

  • Kyle Larson: +260 DK; +300 MGM
  • Kyle Busch: +700 DK; +650 MGM
  • Kevin Harvick: +700 DK; +800 MGM
  • Martin Truex Jr.: +750 DK; +750 MGM
  • Chase Elliott: +800 DK; +700 MGM

Kevin Harvick dominant at MIS

Although Larson is the clear favorite — and for good reason — Kevin Harvick is a driver to keep an eye on.

Harvick has won four of the past five races at MIS, including a weekend sweep of each NASCAR Michigan race in 2020.

Over the past six races at the track, Harvick has an impressive average finish of 2.17 and a driver rating of 137.4.

Harvick also comes into the weekend in need of a victory. He is winless for the 2021 season and is currently in 15th place in the standings with two races before the playoffs. Should two also-winless drivers take these final two races, Harvick would find himself out of the postseason chase.

Harvick will start from the eighth position Sunday.

Past MIS winners with long odds

A lot of multiple past winners at MIS are featured in this weekend’s race.

Harvick comes in with the most (five), while Larson has three.

Here are other drivers that have fared well at MIS and where their odds sit for Sunday, according to PointsBet Sportsbook.

  • Joey Logano: 3-time winner, average finish of 11.7 over 24 races (+1400)
  • Kurt Busch: 3-time winner, average finish of 17.9 over 40 races (+2800)
  • Denny Hamlin: 2-time winner, average finish of 13.17 over 30 races (+1000)
  • Ryan Newman: 2-time winner, average finish of 16.26 over 39 races (+20000)

Big names seek first Michigan win

MIS has been a pretty good track to some drivers, even though they haven’t been able to come through with a victory.

Brad Keselowski is the most notable, as MIS is the Rochester Hills native’s home track, and he is winless through 23 attempts.

Here are other drivers who have strong MIS stats, but haven’t been able to get that elusive victory.

  • Chase Elliott: 7.7 average finish over 10 races (+850)
  • Brad Keselowski: 12.7 average finish over 23 races (+1500)
  • Martin Truex Jr.: 13.83 average finish over 30 races (+850)
  • Austin Dillon: 16.41 average finish over 17 races (+6000)
Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR/AP Pool
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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