Just four races remain for drivers to make – or miss – the upcoming NASCAR Cup playoffs.
This weekend, the series returns to Michigan International Speedway, which is the fastest track on the circuit. It’s a place where 200 mph-plus is the norm, not the exception.
This will be the 97th NASCAR Cup race to be held at the two-mile oval.
Kyle Larson has won the last two races there: last August and this June.
Drivers like Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch are among the hottest drivers going right now.
But other drivers are in big trouble, particularly Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. If they hope to make the playoffs, they’ll have to do so with a win only.
So without further adieu, here’s the hottest of the hot and, well, the not so hot:
WHO IS HOT?
Martin Truex Jr.
Won at Watkins Glen, his series leading fourth of 2017
Finished in the top-10 15 times this season, the most
Won 14 stages this season, the most
34 Playoff Points this season, 18 more than anyone else
Wins at Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky and WG
Led a series high 1315 laps in 2017, led the most laps in seven races
Best Michigan finish is second, twice
Finished sixth in June at Michigan after leading 62 laps, victim of the outside line on restarts
Finished 5th at Watkins Glen, top 10 in five of the last seven races this season
Finished runner up three times in 2017
10 top-10s in 2017, had only three in all of 2016
Only one top five finish at Michigan in 23 starts
Best finish at Michigan in the last four races is 23rd, finished top 10 in his nine previous races there
Finished 7th at Watkins Glen after multiple issues
Won from the pole at Pocono, first win of 2017 and at Pocono
Had four wins at this point in 2016
Won the pole for the last three races
One Michigan win, this race in 2011 (last on the old pavement), only two top 10s there since (six finishes of 31st or worse)
4th at Watkins Glen, top 4 finishes in six of the last eight races including a win at NH
Two-time winner at Michigan but last came in 2011
Finished top 10 in three of the last four Michigan races including fourth in June
Finished 17th at WG, heavy damage on pit road
Finished top-10 in 12 of the last 16 races of 2017
One Michigan win, this race in 2010
Finished top 5, including five runner ups, in seven of the last nine races at Michigan
23rd at WG, third straight finish of 23rd or worse
Finished second in seven races this year
Two wins this season, ACS and Michigan
Won the last three races on 2.0 mile tracks including the last two races at Michigan
Finished third at WG, best career finish
Top 10 finishes in the last four races
Won the Open at Charlotte
First career NXS win came at Michigan last year
Finished 24th at Michigan in June, only Cup start there
WHO IS NOT?
24th at WG, ninth finish outside the top 20 in the last 13 races
Won at Richmond but was encumbered
Now 95 points outside the bubble, he must win to make the playoffs
Top 10 finishes in the last nine races at Michigan including two wins
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
37th at WG, ninth finish of 30th or worse this season
Only two top-10s in the last 10 races
Two-time Michigan winner
Top 10 finishes in five of his last six starts at Michigan including ninth in June
Finished 16th at WG, his three best finishes in the last 11 races have come in the last three races
Won at Indianapolis ending a 102 race winless streak, took a super lucky timed caution and turned it into a win
One Michigan win, 2006
Finished 13th or worse in the last six races at Michigan
Will not return to Hendrick Motorsports next season, likely to be replaced by William Byron.
29th at WG, ran out of fuel late
DNF accident in three of his last five races in 2017
One top-10 in his last seven races (10th at New Hampshire)
Three top 5 finishes this season, all wins
One Michigan win, June 2014
Only one top-five at Michigan in the last 10 races, his win in 2014
Sixth at Watkins Glen, his best finish in the last eight races
Three DNFs in the last six races of 2017
Just 10 top 10 finishes this season, had 16 after 22 races in 2016
Has not had back-to-back top 10 finishes since Richmond and Talladega
Three wins at Michigan, all came with different manufacturers
Finished 12th at Michigan in June
26th at WG, only one top 15 finish in the last eight races
Won on fuel mileage at Charlotte
Only two top 10 finishes this season, had nine at this point last year
Only two top 10 finishes in 10 Michigan starts but they both came in the last four races there
Five top-10s in 2017 three were in the last six races (ninth at Watkins Glen)
Best Michigan finish is 11th, twice