The first week of the NASCAR World Cup was not upset-free and there was some distinct disparity between groups.
Groups D and E lived up to our expectations at Michigan. All of the drivers in Group D finished in the top 16 while Group E was even better. Kurt Busch was the slacker in the group and he finished 13th.
Group G was pitiful, however. Thanks to the spin by top seed Denny Hamlin and the struggles of Roush Fenway Racing at Michigan, no one in the group finished higher than 20th. And because of the spin, Hamlin became the biggest upset victim in the first round of group play, losing to Cole Whitt by a single position.
As a quick refresher, each driver is matched up against the other three drivers in his or her group for Michigan, Sonoma and Kentucky. Then, like the World Cup, we'll take the top two from each group starting at Daytona and play a knockout round all the way through Pocono in August where we'll crown a champion. Here are the complete rules.
Below are the results from Michigan. The winners are in italics and all finishes are in parenthesis. The standings are embedded below.
Jimmie Johnson (1) vs. Brian Vickers (42), Aric Almirola (31) vs. Danica Patrick (17)
Kyle Busch (41) vs. Casey Mears (24), Kevin Harvick (2) vs. Jamie McMurray (12)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (7) vs. Martin Truex Jr. (37), Austin Dillon (30) vs. Michael Annett (21)
Matt Kenseth (14) vs. Joey Logano (9), Tony Stewart (11) vs. Justin Allgaier (16)
Brad Keselowski (3) vs. Paul Menard (4) , Clint Bowyer (10) vs. Kurt Busch (13)
Denny Hamlin (29) vs. Cole Whitt (28), Greg Biffle (20) vs. Marcos Ambrose (25)
Carl Edwards (23) vs. Ryan Newman (15), Kasey Kahne (5) vs. David Gilliland (26)
Jeff Gordon (6) vs. A.J. Allmendinger (22), Kyle Larson (8) vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (27)
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