The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will compete at Kansas Speedway this week in the KC Masterpiece 400. This will be the second night race of the season so make sure you tune in Saturday night at 8pm ET on Fox Sports 1. I have been to every race at Kansas since 2008 so I have a good idea who runs well here. I expect my picks to be red hot this week.
The NASCAR MENCS will have two practices Friday, followed by qualifying Friday evening at 6:45 pm ET. There is no track activity scheduled for Saturday before the race Saturday night. Our Driver Group Game picks must be selected by 8 am ET on Friday, May 11th. Do not forget to select your team and enter SUBMIT!!!
The race at Kansas last year was dominated by four drivers: Martin Truex Jr. (led 104 laps and finished 1st), Ryan Blaney (Won the pole, led 83 laps and finished 4th), Kyle Busch (led 59 laps and finished 5th) and Kevin Harvick (led 10 laps and finished 3rd). The story of the race was the wreck on lap 200 between Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick and Joey Logano. Almirola broke bones in his back and missed many races. Truex won the race and many more on the 1.5-mile tracks in the 2017 season.
Race Rewind at Kansas: GOBowling.com 400 (2017)
The best teams in the sport usually dominate the 1.5-mile tracks. This is not the week to try and save allocations. Stewart-Haas Racing has had a lot of speed this season and Furniture Row Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing is not far behind. Team Penske has had success at Kansas in the past so do not ignore their three drivers Saturday night. Make sure most of your drivers come from these teams this week.
Here are my picks for Kansas…
Driver Group Game A Picks
There are three drivers to consider for Group A at Kansas. Kevin Harvick is running too well right now to fade so the decision comes down to Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Busch. Truex absolutely dominates the races at Kansas but he finished 5th, 4th and 37th in his 3 races on the 1.5-mile tracks. Kyle Busch has been good but not nearly as good as Truex at Kansas. Busch has finished 1st, 2nd and 7th at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. So do we go with current momentum or track history? I let qualifying be the tiebreaker for me and that edge goes to Truex. He has won the pole for 2 of the last 4 races at Kansas and he has 3 poles this season.
Kevin Harvick (5) should be the best pick for the race at Kansas. Harvick has two wins at Kansas (2013 and 2016) and 4 wins this season. Stewart-Haas Racing has the cars to beat and Harvick is their best driver. His average finishing position in the last 5 races at the 1.5-mile tracks is 1.8 (Includes wins at Texas, Atlanta and Las Vegas). Harvick is also a good pick for the bonus points for winning the pole. Harvick has 3 poles at Kansas. I plan to keep using Harvick until he cools off.
Martin Truex Jr. (9) is the driver I will pair with Harvick this week. I go to this race each year and when I think of Kansas I think of Truex. I have seen him lead so many laps at this track that I cannot remember any other drivers in the race. Truex won both races at Kansas last year and won the pole too. Kyle Busch has been better than Truex this season, but my gut is screaming Truex so I have to use him Saturday night.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Kyle Busch 3) Martin Truex Jr. 4) Brad Keselowski 5) Kyle Larson 6) Joey Logano 7) Denny Hamlin 8) Jimmie Johnson
Driver Group Game B Picks
Ryan Blaney (6) is the best choice in Group B this week. This is the best track for Blaney. He finished 3rd and 4th in the two races at Kansas Last year. He also won the pole and led 83 laps in this race in 2017. Blaney has been pretty good on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He is coming off back-to-back top-5 finishes at Las Vegas and Texas. I expect Blaney to qualify up front, lead some laps and finish in the top 5 Saturday night.
Kurt Busch (5) has been very good at Kansas in his career. His average finishing position in the last 6 races at Kansas is 8.5, include a 2nd-place finish last October. Busch has also led laps at Kansas in 2 orf his last 3 races at the track. Busch has run very well on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He finished 8th at Atlanta (led 52 laps) and 7th at Texas (led 40 laps). Busch is a great pick for your team this week.
Clint Bowyer (6) has never run this well in his career. It is no secret that winning a race at his home track in Kansas is very high on his to do list. I am sure Tony Stewart will provide Bowyer one of their best cars this week so he can add a win at Kansas to his resume. Bowyer finished 3rd at Atlanta and 9th at Texas. I expect him to run in the top 10 again Saturday night.
Matt Kenseth (9) will be in the No. 6 car for Roush Fenway Racing. I have not heard how many races Kenseth will run this season so I plan to have him on my team just in case he shows up with a lot of speed this week. I trust Kenseth this week because Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been running pretty well in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. I am sure Kenseth should be able to out-perform Stenhouse this week. I would love to be able to use Kenseth this week and save an allocation with one of my top drivers.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Kurt Busch 3) Clint Bowyer 4) Chase Elliott 5) 6) Aric Almirola 7) Matt Kenseth 8) Erik Jones 9) Austin Dillon 10) Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Driver Group Game C Picks
William Byron (7) is the best choice in Group C this week. He has run better at the 1.5-mile tacks in his career than Alex Bowman. Byron ran very well in the last race at a 1.5-mile track. At Texas he started 33rd and made his way to the front and led some laps. Byron finished 10th. I expect a top-15 finish from Byron Saturday night.
Darrell Wallace Jr. (9) also ran very well in the last race at a 1.5-mile track. Wallace qualified 15th and finished 8th. He only has two starts at Kansas on his resume and both came in the Xfinity Series. He crashed in one and finished 11th in the other. Wallace is a quick learner so I will take a chance with him this week.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) William Byron 2) Darrell Wallace Jr. 3) Alex Bowman 4) David Ragan 5) Michael McDowell
Driver Group Game Team
Group A: Kevin Harvick (5), Martin Truex Jr. (9)
Group B: Ryan Blaney (6), Kurt Busch (5), Clint Bowyer (6), Matt Kenseth (9)
Group C: William Byron (7), Darrell Wallace Jr. (9)
I will post my final picks for Driver Group Game after qualifying Friday.
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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