So close, but yet so far… I thought the race at Texas was going to be the turning point for my bad luck in the Driver Group Game. Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch were all running in the top 10 and Cole Custer was running 11th when Denny Hamlin got loose and set Custer into the wall. That sucked! I am not giving up though. The drivers have speed, but they keep getting caught up in other driver’s mistakes. Kansas is my home track so lady luck has to be better to me Thursday night, right?
Kansas is a 1.5-mile track but it is different from Kentucky and Texas. The track is a tri-oval track like Kentucky but the surface usually is not a one groove track like we saw in the last two races. The drivers should have more room to search for grip and this typically allows the fast drivers to get the front. There are only four races left on the 1.5-mile tracks (Kansas, Las Vegas, Kansas and Texas) and it is a good idea to use your top drivers at these tracks.
Race Rewind at Kansas: Hollywood Casino 400 (2019)
Here are my picks for the Super Start Batteries 400 …
Driver Group Game A Picks
(Start) Chase Elliott: Chase Elliott was one of the best drivers on the 1.5-mile tracks early in the season, but he has slowed down a bit over the last month. I expect the No. 9 team to bring some speed to the track Thursday. Kansas ranks as the best 1.5-mile track for Elliott. He won at Kansas in 2018 and finished second last year. Elliott had a series-best 115.1 Driver Rating and a series-high 3.0 average finishing position at Kansas last year. The No. 9 car has more speed in 2020, so I expect a good race from Elliott.
(Start) Joey Logano: Joey Logano does not have the best stats at Kansas but that is not because he has had slow cars. Logano had one of the fastest cars at Kansas last November but he got spun out on the last lap of the race. Logano has had speed at all of the 1.5-mile tracks this year. When he stays out of trouble, the No. 22 car usually finishes in the top three. Logano starts on the front
* I wish I had more allocations left with Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 car starts on the front row is a lock to dominate this race. I need to save him for New Hampshire and Phoenix so I will take my chances with Chase Elliott. If you have four or more starts left with Harvick, use him Thursday night.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Chase Elliott 3) Joey Logano 4) Brad Keselowski 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Denny Hamlin 7) Kyle Busch
Driver Group Game B Picks
(Start) Ryan Blaney: I am down to four allocations with Ryan Blaney and there are four races left on the 1.5-mile tracks. He has been nearly untouchable at these tracks so I plan to use him in these races. Blaney has a 5.3 average finishing position on tracks similar to Kansas and he has led 261 laps and scored the most Stage points. There is no reason to fade Blaney at Kansas.
(Start) Kurt Busch: Kurt Busch has been consistent on the 1.5-mile tracks this season and he has consistently finished in the top 10 at Kansas. Busch has an 8th place average finishing position in the last six races on intermediate tracks. He also has an 8th place average finishing position in his last five races at Kansas. The No. 1 car should finish in the top 10 Thursday.
(Bench) Matt DiBenedetto: I have been really impressed with Matt DiBenedetto this year. He finished second at Las Vegas and third at Kentucky. Those are the two tracks that are the most similar to Kansas. I would not be surprised if DiBenedetto finished in the top five again Thursday night.
(Start if you can) Aric Almirola: I am out of allocations with Aric Almirola. If you have any starts left with the No. 10 car, you need to pair Almirola with Ryan Blaney. Almirola has never been this hot before. He has seven consecutive finishes in the top 10. The only driver who has been better is Blaney. Having both drivers as your Group B picks gives you a strong 1-2 punch for the rest of your league.
(Allocation Special) Clint Bowyer: It is no secret that winning at race at Kansas is very high on Clint Bowyer’s bucket list. The Kansas native ran really well at his home track last year. He finished fifth in the spring and eighth in the fall. Bowyer has been decent on the 1.5-mile tracks this season so this should be a good race to take a chance with him if you already burned through your allocations with the top drivers.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Aric Almirola 3) Kurt Busch 4) Matt DiBenedetto 5) Erik Jones 6) Alex Bowman 7) Clint Bowyer 8) Austin Dillon 9) Jimmie Johnson 10) William Byron
Driver Group Game C Picks
(Start) Tyler Reddick: I was really rooting for Tyler Reddick to win last week. How cool would it have been to see two rookies in Victory Lane this year? Reddick has something this week that the other rookies do not have… experience in a Cup Series car at Kansas. Reddick started 21st and finished 9th at Kansas last year. He should be the best pick in Group C this week.
(Bench) Cole Custer: Cole Custer was considered the weak link for Stewart-Haas Racing before the season started. I am not so sure that is true anymore. Custer has been faster than Clint Bowyer, but people keep running into him. Stewart-Haas Racing has been fast in the 1.5-mile tacks this season and I doubt it will change Thursday night. Custer should be a good alternative to Tyler Reddick if you are out of allocations with the No. 8 car.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Tyler Reddick 2) Cole Custer 3) Matt Kenseth 4) Christopher Bell 5) Bubba Wallace
Driver Group Game Team
Good luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Pro
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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