NASCAR: Reigning Michigan winner given surprising odds

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Kevin Harvick has won five of the last seven NASCAR Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway. Can he keep up this success in his final season?

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick is set to make his final NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan International Speedway in this Sunday afternoon’s FireKeepers Casino 400.

Harvick is the reigning winner of this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.0-mile (3.219-kilometer) Brooklyn, Michigan oval, and he has won five of the last seven races at the track dating back to August 2018.

The driver of the No. 4 Ford entered last year’s race having not won a Cup Series race in nearly two years, yet he still managed to find victory lane for the first time in the Next Gen era.

With all things considered, it is a bit surprising that Kevin Harvick is not the favorite to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is offering fans $100 just for signing up and betting $5, lists Harvick at +700 to win Sunday’s race, tying him with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin behind Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson (+600).

Odds and availability are subject to change, so lock in your $100 now!

Keep in mind that +700 odds imply a 1/8 chance of winning (slightly less actually, when you consider the fact that the sportsbooks will always give themselves an edge).

After five wins in the seven most recent races, you simply cannot logically make an argument that the six-time Michigan winner only has a 1/8 chance of winning on Sunday. His two most recent wins at the track have come from 16th and 20th place in the starting lineup, so he is capable of racing his way to the front from anywhere.

Additionally, even when he hasn’t won, he has been a contender. He actually has more career runner-up finishes (seven) at the track than he does wins.

Yes, Harvick is winless this season, but he was winless at this point last season as well. It’s not like he has had a terrible year. He sits in sixth place in the point standings, highest among all non-winners — and even more notably, higher than eight drivers who have found victory lane this year.

Following a race at Richmond Raceway which saw the entire Stewart-Haas Racing team finish in the top 12, a rare occurrence in a season during which Harvick finds himself as the team’s only representative in the top 22 in the standings and the provisional playoff picture, momentum is on their side heading into one of the 2014 champion’s best tracks.

It is also worth mentioning that Ford’s win streak at the track currently sits at eight races and dates all the way back to June 2018. It has been six years since Chevrolet won there and eight since Toyota found victory lane.

The other three winners during Ford’s win streak include Clint Bowyer, who is now retired, and Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano, who are also reasonably priced at +1200 and +1400, respectively.

At a track where Ford have dominated in recent years, it is strange to see just three Ford drivers listed in the top 16. RFK Racing’s recent resurgence makes Brad Keselowski (+3000) and Chris Buescher (+5000) good value picks, but we have yet to see if this team has what it takes to become a front-running organization at a non-short track.

So if Ford’s dominance is to continue, look no further than Harvick to get the job done once more in what should be his final start at a track where he has been dominant for the last half decade.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

Sunday afternoon’s FireKeepers Casino 400 is set to be broadcast live on USA Network from Michigan International Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. If you have not yet begun a free trial of FuboTV, do so today!