The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular-season is getting close to being over as there are only four races left before the playoffs. That means there are only four more opportunities for drivers not locked into the playoffs with a win to pick up a much-needed checkered flag. But a quick glance that the favored drivers to win the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) show some familiar faces at the top starting Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.


This will be the second trip to MIS this year and oddsmakers seem to think Kyle Busch’s overall performance over the season to date equals the domination that Kevin Harvick has shown at Michigan over the course of his Cup Series career. Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Ford for Stewart – Haas Racing (SHR) has scored two checkered flags at MIS while Busch has only won once at the track. Here’s how the top-five favored to win the Consumers Energy 400 at MIS outright break down according to Intertops


Kyle Busch+500
Martin Truex Jr+550
Kevin Harvick+550
Brad Keselowski+750
Joey Logano+750


The win ratio between Harvick and Busch does not seem like a lot, but Harvick’s overall numbers at the track show a clearer picture. Over the last ten races, Harvick has won nine out of ten times in the combined stats category compiled by NASCAR.  Meaning, when you add everything up, he’s led more laps, finished more complete races, had better qualifying positions, and more. The only person to get past him, with combined stats, over ten races was fellow Ford driver Joey Logano who won the race last year. 

Past Winners at Michigan Show Ford Power


2019Joey LoganoFord
2018Kevin HarvickFord
2018Clint BowyerFord
2017Kyle LarsonChevrolet
2017Kyle LarsonChevrolet
2016Kyle LarsonChevrolet
2016Joey LoganoFord
2015Matt KensethToyota
2015Kurt BuschChevrolet
2014Jeff GordonChevrolet


Ford comes out of the gates hard at Michigan every time the Cup Series hits the MIS roughed up surface. Blue Oval drivers have won the last three races while Chevrolet won three in a row prior as that Kyle Larson pulled off the three-peat when he won the fall 2016 race and both trips to the track in 2017. Since then it’s been a diver for Team Penske, Joey Logano, and Harvick with Clint Bowyer for SHR. 

Predicting the Consumers Energy 400

Nine drivers are already locked into their spot in the postseason due to wins this season. That leaves seven positions in the playoffs still open. There are a bunch of bubble drivers hoping that Michigan can be their key to the playoffs instead of relying on combined points. One such driver is Jimmie Johnson who was showing more improvement last week at Watkins Glen before getting involved with Ryan Blaney. The poor finish following a great run pushed him back down the ladder. And, Michigan is not a track where Johnson has shown that he can pick those points back up.

Johnson has one win at the track which came back in 2014 when he was a force on the track every weekend. But according to the combined stats mentioned above, he’s had a rough time at MIS over the last ten races. In fact, out of the top-ten drivers in combined stats at the track, Johnson never makes an appearance.

Kyle Larson is on the verge of going two consecutive seasons without a win and Michigan is a track where that stat could be wiped away. Larson won three times straight at MIS only three races ago. That shows a familiarity with a track that seems to baffle many drivers.  But, after those wins, he’s struggled to stay upfront and has only managed a 14th place run. With three finishes in the top-five over six races a strong car at Michigan could lock Larson into the playoffs.

Martin Truex Jr. has never grabbed the checkered flag at MIS, but he’s shown that he can run the track successfully. He’s averaging an 8.6 finish over his Cup Series career, fourth among active drivers, at the track with several top-five and top ten runs. One of those came in June when he was a contender before finishing in the third spot. Over the last five races at MIS, he’s led 144 laps. Truex already has four wins on the season and is running fifth in points. A slight improvement of his third-place run last season could put him in victory lane. 

Joey Logano owned Michigan back in June of this season. He led 163 laps out of 200 while starting from the Pole. And that pole position may be a key factor when it comes to Logano. The Team Penske driver has won three times at MIS which ties him with Larson for the most Michigan wins among active drivers. The notable stat here is that all three of his wins came after he also captured the pole position! Logano enters Michigan with two wins, nine top 5 and 14 top 10 finishes in 2019 making him the current Cup Series leader.

Kevin Harvick seems to finally have his season on track with what he’s done over the past several years. He enters the Michigan race weekend third in points while having one win. His key to success this year has been consistent runs, gathering points and notching top five and top ten finishes. The only thing that may snatch defeat away from a victory for Harvick at MIS would be a blown pit stop or getting caught up in another driver’s wreck. Harvick could lead a pack of Ford drivers to the front. 

Consumers Energy 400 Odds


Kyle Busch+500
Martin Truex Jr+550
Kevin Harvick+550
Brad Keselowski+750
Joey Logano+750
Kyle Larson+1500
Chase Elliott+1500
Denny Hamlin+1500
Erik Jones+1750
Kurt Busch+2200
Ryan Blaney+2200
Clint Bowyer+2200
Alex Bowman+3300
William Byron+3300
Daniel Suarez+4000
Aric Almirola+5500
Jimmie Johnson+5500
Austin Dillon+10000
Paul Menard+10000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr+10000
Ryan Newman+10000
Chris Buescher+30000
Matt Dibenedetto+50000
Daniel Hemric+50000
Michael McDowell+75000
Ty Dillon+75000
Ryan Preece+75000
David Ragan+75000
Darrell Wallace Jr.+75000
Matt Tifft+75000
Corey Lajoie+75000



About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.

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