Matts Michigan Handicaps

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Sterling Marlin
Dodge’s marketing slogan is “Different”. Marlin’s results at Michigan since he switched to Dodge are certainly different. After scoring only one top 10 at Michigan in the eight races prior to last year, Marlin finished 3rd in this race last year and won the second Michigan event.

Jimmie Johnson
Johnson finished fourth here in last August’s Busch race. Seems to be comfortable on fast wide tracks, so he should do well.

Jeff Gordon
Gordon has won twice at Michigan including this race last year. Top 5 finishes in seven of the last ten Michigan Cup races.

Mark Martin
Martin is a four time Cup winner at Michigan most recently in 1998. Has eight top 10 finishes in the last ten Michigan events. May be seeking a measure of satisfaction after that suspicious caution flag cost him a win at Pocono last Sunday.

Rusty Wallace
Wallace has won five times at Michigan most recently in 2000. But the track hasn’t been as kind to him as of late. That win in 2000 was one of only two top 10 finishes in the last ten Michigan events. Don’t bet the rent money on the 2 car.

Tony Stewart
Stewart finished in the top 10 in his first three Winston Cup starts at Michigan including his win in his third stab at the joint. Since then he’s finished 25th or worse the last three times here. Tony, you’re going the wrong way!

Matt Kenseth
Kenseth has two top 10 finishes in five Cup starts at Michigan with a best of fourth in the August race last year. Trivia buffs may recall Kenseth made his first Winston Cup start here in 1999 and finished 14th.

Ricky Rudd
Rudd has finished 2nd here in two of the last three Cup races. Robert Yates knows a thing or two about building strong cars at Michigan. And while no one can ever say Lady Luck owes them one, Ricky Rudd could make a pretty strong case after the last three races.

Jeff Burton
Burton’s fortunes at Michigan have been erratic. He’s finished inside the top 10 six of the last ten races here.

Kurt Busch
Kurt has two Cup starts at Michigan. In one race he lost an engine. In the other he crashed. He finished 43rd both times. It’d be a trick to do any worse than that this weekend.

Bill Elliott
Elliott leads all active drivers with seven Cup wins at Michigan. While the last time he won here was in 1989, Elliott once won three straight Michigan races and four out of five in the same stretch. Even during the lean years of his career this track was usually pretty good to Bill, at least comparatively speaking. Eighth and third here in 2001. A good dark horse pick especially since the race is only 400 miles and his engine lasted that long last week.

Dale Jarrett
DJ scored his first ever Winston Cup win back here in 1991 beating Davey Allison to the line is a side by side battle that is one of the best Michigan race finishes of the modern era. He’s won here twice since. Last year Jarrett finished 18th and 37th here, ending a streak of seven top 5 finishes. But I think he’ll be back on his game this weekend. A solid pick.

Ricky Craven
Craven finished second here in last August’s rain-shortened event after starting on the pole. Prior to that Craven never had much to brag on at Michigan.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Junior’s two best finishes here are a 12th and a 13th. Over than those his other three Michigan starts have had lackluster finishes.

Ryan Newman
Newman finished fifth here last year in only the second Winston Cup start of his career. The driver is capable. Will the car last?

Terry Labonte
Labonte has never won here but did finish second twice. As of late he hasn’t been a player at Michigan. The last time Labonte cracked the top 20 here was 1998.

Dave Blaney
Blaney had a pair of top 10 finishes at Michigan last year, and the 77 team almost stole a win here a couple years back. A good dark horse pick coming off a top 10 finish at Pocono.

Kyle Petty
In the last ten Cup races at Michigan Petty failed to qualify once and didn’t do better than 23rd in any of the other nine races.

Bobby Labonte
Labonte has three wins at Michigan including the season sweep in 1995. Normally he runs well here with eight top 10 finishes in the last ten Cup races held in Michigan.

Others to Watch
Johnny Benson
This Michigan native has two fifth place results and a 12th place finish in the last three Michigan Cup races.

Jimmy Spencer
Spencer’s last three finishes at Michigan have been 7th-11th and 11th. And you know what you get when you put Jimmy Spencer together with a 7-11. A very happy Pakistani.

Steve Park
Finished 9th place here last August.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2002

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