Last Sunday was a completely different race track since Pocono got a new coat of asphalt.  But, this weekend will make Pocono seem like child's play.

The Michigan International Speedway has long been a favorite of drivers and fans alike, with multiple grooves, high speeds and many passing zones.  But, as most tracks do, the asphalt ages and the time comes for a new surface.  Michigan fell prey to that and now has a fresh, smooth surface that welcomed NASCAR's finest this weekend.

Already in two days of testing, saying the track is fast is making light of reality.  The track is scary fast.  Drivers that made qualifying runs were saying they were hitting 220 mph entering the first turn, and already on race runs the cars were over 200 mph consistently.

A favorite among many has become the fastest track on the circuit, and has made it a wide open field in choosing a winner.

The changes in the track have made it more difficult to figure out who to choose, especially with the points in the pool so close.  But once again, the time has come for the members to pick a driver.

Here's who everyone decided on for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400:


Misan Akuya:  Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth has had as strong of a season as he has ever had.  After a top-10 at Pocono, Kenseth is now the points leader.

Kenseth has two wins in the Irish Hills at track that has been particularly good to Roush Racing. Kenseth won the Daytona 500 but has yet to win on a on a non-restricter plate track this season. Could change on Sunday.

James Broomhead:  Denny Hamlin

No reason given.

Kelly Crandall:  Mark Martin

No reason given.

Billy Fellin:  Matt Kenseth

While I was going to pick Junior to as it would be incredibly poetic and all (not to mention that awesome Dark Knight Rises paint scheme), I'll go with consistent numbers and take Matt Kenseth. He's the new points leader and has won twice at Michigan.

Michael Hirshbein:  Kyle Busch

No reason given.

Christopher Leone:  Dale Earnhardt Jr.

No, seriously this time. No, come on. Really. Stop laughing. Just because I've made this pick about 46 times.

Kara Martin:  Denny Hamlin

No reason given.

Ryan O'Hara:  Matt Kenseth

No reason given.

Dustin Parks:  Mark Martin

The "ole man" makes no bones about it, Michigan is his favorite race track.  He nearly won here a few days after his father passed away, and has already shown through testing that his No. 55 is extremely fast.

Last week, he fell to the youngest full-time driver on the circuit (since Trevor Bayne only runs a part-time Cup schedule).  This week, I am banking on him getting redemption at a track where he has five wins, 18 top-fives and 31 top-10's.

Everytime he's driven this year the car has been fast.  What better place to return to victory lane than the fastest track on the tour.

Patti Rodisch:  Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The streak has to end at some point, right? This weekend is that weekend. Earnhardt has been the most consistent this season and had one of the best cars at Pocono. I expect that to continue this weekend.

They have been fast already in the test here on Thursday but the site of his last win will be the place of his first of 2012.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Jimmie Johnson

After two pit road penalties last weekend and still being able to finish in the top-10, how can you not pick a driver who in my eyes is a silent but deadly championship contender.

Rob Tiongson:  Kasey Kahne

After a promising top-five finish was derailed with a meeting with the wall last Sunday at Pocono, I look for Kahne and his No. 5 crew to rebound at Michigan with a huge convincing win.


Standings following Pocono:

Kelly Crandall (495) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (2)

Billy Fellin (494) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (2)

James Broomhead (487) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (2)

Sal Sigala Jr. (481) Kyle Busch finished 30th (1)

Christopher Leone (480) Kyle Busch finished 30th (0)

Misan Akuya (476) Tony Stewart finished 3rd (1)

Rob Tiongson (463) Jeff Gordon finished 19th (3)

Kara Martin (461) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (1)

Dustin Parks (457) Brad Keselowski finished 18th (1)

Michael Hirshbein (418) Kyle Busch finished 30th (1)

Patti Rodisch (412) Jeff Gordon finished 19th (1)

Ryan O'Hara (403) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (1)


Final Thoughts:  As you can see, picks are across the board, as if it is a restrictor plate race.  But, despite the fast speeds, there will be no restriction on these 800-horsepower engines this weekend.  It is a full-throttle, go for broke race just outside the home of America's automakers.

Whomever wins this race will help sell their manufacturers cars come Monday morning.

Coverage begins at Noon ET on TNT with "Countdown To Green" and the green flag will wave just over an hour later.


Summary of Picks:

Dale Earnhardt Jr-3

Matt Kenseth-3

Denny Hamlin-2

Mark Martin-2

Kyle Busch-1

Jimmie Johnson-1

Kasey Kahne-1