Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan

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Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick are among drivers to watch this weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway.

Elliott, the points leader, is the season’s No. 1 winner with four victories. Larson has a 20-race winless streak but usually is a front runner at Michigan. Harvick remains outside the playoff grid but could move into a transfer position with a victory at MIS, where he has won four of the past six races.

The Michigan race follows Indianapolis, where Tyler Reddick scored his second win of the season last Sunday.

Sunday’s 400-mile race (3 p.m., ET) will be televised by the USA Network. Also on USA will be Saturday’s Xfinity race (3:30 p.m., ET).

FRONT RUNNERS

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 1st
  • Last three races: 16th at Indianapolis; won at Pocono; second at New Hampshire
  • Past at Michigan: Four straight top-10 finishes but no wins

Elliott finished 16th Sunday at Indianapolis, ending a six-race streak in which he finished first or second. Michigan remains on his to-do list. His best finish on the two-mile track is second (three times).

Kevin Harvick

  • Points position: 10th
  • Last three races: 33rd at Indianapolis; 27th at Pocono; fifth at New Hampshire
  • Past at Michigan: Five career wins, including three of the past four races

Harvick could put some fire into a disappointing season with a victory at Michigan, where he has won five times, including three of the past four races and four of the past six. He is the leader in Michigan wins among active drivers.

Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 5th
  • Last three races: 35th at Indianapolis; 5th at Pocono; 14th at New Hampshire
  • Past at Michigan: One win in 2016, two wins in 2017

Larson won 10 races last year but has only one victory this season. He could end a 20-race winless string at Michigan, where he has won three times.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Last three races: 27th at Indianapolis; 32nd at Pocono; 8th at New Hampshire
  • Past at Michigan: Best finish of 26th in four career starts

After six straight finishes of eighth or better, Chastain has faltered the past two weeks with a controversial 27th-place run at Indianapolis after a penalty and a 32nd-place finish at Pocono. He has dropped from second to third in seasonal points and now races at a track that has not been kind to him.

Martin Truex Jr.

  • Points position: 4th
  • Last three races: 21st at Indianapolis; 7th at Pocono; 4th at New Hampshire
  • Past at Michigan: Truex is 0-for-forever at Michigan.

Truex’s woes at Michigan aren’t surprising considering Joe Gibbs Racing’s struggles there. JGR has won only one of the past 19 MIS races and has won 75 times on 22 other tracks since its last win at Michigan. Truex is teetering on the edge of the playoff cutoff line. He is 16th — and last — among current qualifiers.

Kyle Busch

  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 11th at Indianapolis; 36th at Pocono; 12th at New Hampshire
  • Past at Michigan: Nine straight top 10s, won in 2011

Busch’s future remains unsettled, and this season is far from his best. He has failed to finish in the top 10 in the past seven races, the longest stretch of his full-time career. His only win was in April in the dirt race at Bristol.