Alright, race fans we are taking the next-gen era to the home of the car manufacturers: Michigan. Typically this track always has been a long green flag run with a whole lot of pit strategy. Or in my opinion a very boring on-track product. So, can the next-gen car put on another exciting show? Or will we be complaining through the Michigan race like we were through that horrific All-Star race in Texas? Or will next week be filled with talks of an exciting on-track product?

Playoff Intensity at Michigan

For a select few drivers, the chances of getting into the playoffs are winding down. We’ve only got four regular season races left. As of today, fourteen different drivers will be racing for a chance at the championship race at Phoenix. With only two spots available it’s probably safe to assume that the intensity of tomorrow’s race might be just a tiny bit higher than usual. Especially with only two playoff spots being left available based on points.

Michigan Racing

Those two spots are locked up currently by Ryan Blaney, and Martin Truex Jr. those being only a few of the top drivers in the sport who haven’t had a trip to victory lane this year. Another name driver is the current wins leader at Michigan: Kevin Harvick. Kevin has won five times at Michigan all coming after the re-pave in 2012. So, over the next few weeks if Harvick is going to claim a victory this could be one of the last tracks where the veteran driver has a chance. However he much like all of us has been on record saying there is one big unknown going into tomorrow’s race. The next-gen car. He is worried about whether or not the notes he and his team have will even be relevant to the race.

“You can have a baseline interpretation, but it seems to have migrated in a number of different directions at different race tracks and different scenarios this year, just because of the different characteristics that come with the car. “Places that we haven’t been, you just don’t really know where it’s going to go. You go to some of these places, I think Darlington is a good example, where California, Darlington—places that have been super rough—have been really difficult to navigate in traffic, and even by yourself sometimes, because of the way that the cars bounce around.”

Kevin Harvick speaking about the next gen car’s impact this season.

One thing is for sure I think personally. Tomorrow’s race will have a high-intensity factor, now whether we see it from the drop of the green flag or on a late restart I’m not sure. These drivers are feeling the pressure to win. Especially with fourteen different drivers winning this season so far.

White Flag

Michigan
Kevin Harvick during practice for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on July 30, 2022, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. | Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If I have to pick a winner for tomorrow, I would say keep an eye on a few guys. A few very select drivers. Kevin Harvick has a good history here, but overall, he’s been coming from behind all year. If he has to do that tomorrow it will be hard sailing for the number four. Especially if and when the field gets spread out. Ryan Blaney won here last year but once again he’s been fighting for speed and good field position most of these races a lot like Harvick. Could either of them pull a rabbit out of the hat? Yes, absolutely but if it isn’t a new winner keep an eye out for Kyle Larson. This is a track in which the reigning champ has a good record. Along with his teammate Chase Elliott.

Tomorrow’s race at Michigan will be on USA Network at 3 P.M. Will this new next-gen car put on an interesting race? Or will Michigan resort back to the same old Michigan? Will we see fuel mileage come into play for the first time this season? I personally as a fan feel like you should go into this race with low expectations and look forward to a good show. The only sure-fire way to find out is to take a seat and watch the race.

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About Author

Chris Prince

What's up, everyone? My name is Chris Prince. I have been a part of Belly Up sports for a little bit now. I am the head of the best department which is the racing department. I have a beautiful wife and I have two awesome sons in whom I am trying to instill the love of motorsports. If you want to know anything else feel free to ask!

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