Fast speeds welcome NASCAR this week, but heavy hearts were on the minds of the writers.
Speed has been the theme of this new Generation-6 race car. Each week when it comes to a new race track, it seems as though a track record is set to be shattered without hesitation.
But is there such a thing as possibly going too fast?
That could be a serious possibility this weekend as NASCAR makes the trip north to be in the shadow of the auto makers. This two-mile speedway one year ago had fresh asphalt that took one of the fastest tracks on the schedule and made it wicked fast. Now, even with a year of being worn in, this new car truly could go from wicked fast to evil fast.
It has already been a rough week for the racing community, as thoughts of Jason Leffler and his family are still on the minds and hearts of everyone.
There will be many tributes to the young man that was nicknamed "LEFTurn" all over Michigan, and justly deserved.
All the writers themselves are feeling the pain of his loss, but with his memory and bright smile still with them, they pushed forward and made their picks.
Here's who they chose for victory in the Quicken Loans 400:
Misan Akuya: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. needs to win a race where does he go? To Michigan of course. Junior's last two wins have came at Michigan.
After a stellar run at Pocono I see the great 88 heading back to victory lane.
Rob Blount: Jimmie Johnson
Johnson is on a roll right now. He should have won Dover, won Pocono, and now I feel he will win Michigan and finally get roll into one of the only Victory Lanes that has eluded him.
James Broomhead: Matt Kenseth
Kelly Crandall: Kyle Busch
Billy Fellin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He's got another DC Comics hero on his hood this week. That's good enough karma for me.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Christopher Leone: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
For the repeat.
Kara Martin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ryan O'Hara: NO PICK SENT
No pick sent by deadline.
Dustin Parks: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It's a case of deja vu for me. Last year at Pocono, Junior had a great car at Pocono but didn't have the right pit strategy. He went to Michigan, and showed his mojo was back. Fast forward a year, he again had a great car at Pocono but this time finished strong, giving him confidence.
Now, he returns to Michigan, site of his last two wins, with confidence, and enjoying an incredible season. He's got Superman on the car this year, the first time this superhero has been on any stock car since Jeff Gordon in 2007.
Hopefully this time it will mean better results, and a victory.
Patti Rodisch: Jimmie Johnson
I strayed for one week and it cost me. No reason not to think Johnson will not get it done.
Sal Sigala Jr: Matt Kenseth
Rob Tiongson: Carl Edwards
Couldn't hurt to go with former Agent Jack Hill from 24. Let's hope he doesn't wind up with the same fate as his character!
Standings following Pocono:
Patti Rodisch (506) Jeff Gordon finished 12th (0)
Rob Tiongson (493) Jeff Gordon finished 12th (1)
Billy Fellin (469) Jeff Gordon finished 12th (1)
Kelly Crandall (456) Jimmie Johnson WON (1)
Rob Blount (456) Joey Logano finished 10th (1)
Dustin Parks (452) Jeff Gordon finished 12th (0)
Ryan O'Hara (440) Jeff Gordon finished 12th (0)
Kara Martin (419) Denny Hamlin finished 8th (0)
Sal Sigala Jr. (416) Brad Keselowski finished 16th (0)
Michael Hirshbein (412) Kyle Busch finished 6th (2)
James Broomhead (405) Denny Hamlin finished 8th (1)
Misan Akuya (362) Tony Stewart finished 4th (0)
Christopher Leone (339) Denny Hamlin finished 8th (0)
Final Thoughts: Michigan has long been a favorite among drivers because of the multiple lanes they can run to make their cars handle the best. It is also a favorite among fans because it gives many passing opportunities, fanning out the entire width of the track.
In the shadow of Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford manufacturing plants, a win here is not only big for the driver, but the car maker.
Once again, a fast pace is expected, and you can be the crew at TNT will be all over the place. Countdown to Green kicks off coverage at Noon ET, with the race going full speed an hour later.
Summary of Picks:
Dale Earnhardt Jr-5