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After becoming another multi-race winner a week ago, Martin Truex Jr. leads the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series into Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Truex is one of two drivers with multiple checkered flags this year, though it’s a misleading stat—Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have combined for nine. 

So no, parity hasn’t exactly been the main topic of the season so far as the summer kicks into gear. This event at Michigan International Speedway produced something of an unexpected result one year ago, though, so the second race of June could have something special in store for fans as the drivers take on the 400 miles. 

Here’s everything to know about the event. 

       

Viewing Details

Where: Michigan International Speedway

When: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports GO

Tickets: StubHub

                 

FireKeepers Casino 400

1. Kurt Busch (41)

2. Brad Keselowski (2)

3. Kyle Busch (18)

4. Kevin Harvick (4)

5. Joey Logano (22)

6. Aric Almirola (10)

7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17)

8. Erik Jones (20)

9. Ryan Blaney (12)

10. Denny Hamlin (11)

Full starting lineup can be viewed on NASCAR’s official website.

                

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Standings

1. Kevin Harvick 537
2. Kyle Busch 624
3. Martin Truex Jr. 487
4. Joey Logano 534
5. Clint Bowyer 453
6. Austin Dillon 269
7. Brad Keselowski 474
8. Kurt Busch 447
9. Denny Hamlin 437
10. Kyle Larson 425
11. Ryan Blaney 413
12. Aric Almirola 406
13. Jimmie Johnson 360
14. Chase Elliott 334
15. Erik Jones 322
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 319
ESPN.com.

           

Drivers to Watch

Kyle Larson

Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

Kyle Larson was the unexpected winner one year ago, leading 96 laps before heading to Victory Lane. Funnily enough, he turned around and won the year’s second event at MIS as well, leading only two laps before getting another win. 

That happens to make him a huge contender this weekend. 

“What our team has been able to do at Michigan the last few races is pretty special, and I hope we can keep it up this weekend with another win,” Larson said, according to David Goricki of the Detroit News. “We have had good cars there just about every year I’ve raced, and I think we’ve hit on some things recently that will have us taking another fast Chevy to Michigan this time around too.”

The good news doesn’t really stop for Larson. While he hasn’t won a race yet this year, he’s riding five consecutive top-10 finishes into MIS and happened to place second at Pocono one week ago despite starting 13th. 

Coming off a surprise year, it would only be fitting if Larson started winning again this year by taking down another Michigan event. Based on his recent rise, fans might expect him to have the No. 42 Chevrolet in the running late. 

       

Kevin Harvick

Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

How can anybody avoid talking about Harvick? 

He has an incredible five wins on the season already and isn’t exactly showing signs of slowing down. He won three in a row at the start of May (including a cool $1 million prize at the All-Star race) before landing 40th thanks to a gaffe in Charlotte. 

No problem—Harvick turned around and finished fourth at Pocono, leading a race-high 89 laps. Even there, Harvick had a chance to reel in a checkered flag before some oddities on the pit road seemed to derail his chances late. 

“We had a good car all day, just came down to really losing control of the race on the last pit stop,” Harvick said, according to NASCAR.com. “Really not pitting or pitting didn’t really seem to matter. We lost control to the 18 and wound up losing a couple more spots on the restart starting on the inside, and that was the end of the day. Car was fast and everybody did a great job, it just didn’t work out.”

While Harvick didn’t have his best showings at Michigan a year ago (only sitting with a pair of top-15 finishes), few in history have had a season like the one he’s putting up. Little seems to be stopping him now, so he’s once again a favorite heading into the heat of a summer race. 

      

Martin Truex Jr.

Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

If one of the usual suspects was going to get another win this year, it seemed like Truex was due. 

He cashed in on this idea at Pocono, leading 31 laps en route to Victory Lane out of the fourth starting spot. It was his third top-two performance over his last four outings and easily the best stretch of his season to date, besides the win in California back in March. 

To say Truex and his crew are confident going into the weekend is an understatement: 

And why not? 

Truex was the best driver in the sport one year ago, and while he hasn’t been as hot as two guys with nine combined wins, he’s moving along at a steady pace and never alarmingly falling off the course. 

A year ago, Truex posted a pair of top-six performances at MIS, and the events leading up to those were encouraging. If he’s able to translate the steady momentum gained lately, he could be looking at creating a winning streak of his own. 

       



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