Driver Group Game Picks Kansas

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The Cup Series will join the Truck Series at Kansas Speedway this week. This will be the third race for the Cup Series on a 1.5-mile intermediate track for both series (Las Vegas and Texas were the other races). The race at Las Vegas was pretty good, while the race at Texas turned into a wreck-fest. What will we get this weekend in the Heartland? The playoff race at Kansas Speedway had an overtime finish last year. The race Sunday should be just as fun. The Advent Health 400 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FS1.

 

STRATEGY FOR KANSAS

Do not be afraid to use your studs this week. The races on the intermediate tracks have been dominated by Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. That trend should continue this week; but do not count out the drivers from 23X1 Racing. They have won three of the four races at Kansas in the Gen-7 car (Kurt Busch in 2022, Bubba Wallace 2022 and Tyler Reddick 2023). Your picks from Group A and Group B should have many of the drivers from Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing. Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher can be considered for Group B, if you want to be a bit contrarian with your picks this week.

We finally got a driver from Group C to step up and become the leader in this group. Noah Gragson had a terrific race at Dover and the No. 10 team seems to be getting better every race. Gragson should be a lock for Group C, but finding out who to pair him with is tricky. Chase Briscoe is the safest pick, but we are quickly running out of allocations with the No. 14 car. Carson Hocevar should be a good choice too and John H. Nemechek could be a sleeper pick that could run well Sunday.

Here are the picks for the Advent Health 400

 

GROUP A DRIVERS

KYLE LARSON (6): The race last week was a battle between Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin and the race last year at Kansas was a battle between the No. 5 and No. 11 cars. I expect the same this week. The most similar track to Kansas Speedway is Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Larson smoked the field in Sin City. He led 181 laps and went to Victory Lane. He also finished 4th, 2nd, 8th, 2nd and 1st in his last five races at Kansas. Larson has averaged 68 laps led and 8 Stage Points in those races. “Yung Money” is almost a lock to run in the top-five at Kansas.

DENNY HAMLIN (8): Is this Hamlin’s year? He typically starts off slow and then heats up during the summer. Hamlin has won three of the first 11 races and I do not expect the No. 11 team to slow down anytime soon. Hamlin finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in his last five races at Kansas. The only downside from playing Hamlin this week is that his average starting position in the Gen-7 car at Kansas is 16th. He qualified 8th at Las Vegas and 6th last week at Dover, so it looks like the No. 11 team is putting a stronger emphasis on their starting position this year.

(OTHER PICK) CHASE ELLIOTT (9): Everyone in your league is going to use Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin this week. Elliott should be your driver if you want to be a bit different. Elliott is on a hot streak right now. He finished 5th at Richmond, 3rd at Martinsville, won the race at Texas and 5th last week at Dover. Elliott also finished 6th and 7th in the two races at Kansas last year (he was in a slump entering those races). Elliott has a great chance to finish up front at Kansas.

GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Kyle Larson 2) Denny Hamlin 3) Chase Elliott 4) Martin Truex Jr. 5) William Byron 6) Ryan Blaney 7) Christopher Bell 8) Kyle Busch

 

GROUP B DRIVERS

TYLER REDDICK (6): You have to play the 23X1 Racing cars this week. Kansas has been their playground ever since the Gen-7 car was introduced to the Cup Series. Reddick finished 9th in this race last year and then he came back to Kansas in September and won the race. Reddick also finished 2nd at Las Vegas and 4th at Texas this year (no driver has a better average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this year). You need to have Reddick in your lineup no matter how many allocations you have left with the No. 45 car.

BUBBA WALLACE (8): I will pair Tyler Reddick with his teammate this week. Wallace won at Kansas in 2022 and he finished 4th in this race last year. He is kind of a “boom or bust” driver on the 1.5-mile tracks, but I have to play him because of the upside he has at this track. His average starting position in his last five races on the 1.5-mile intermediate tracks is 5th, so Wallace has the upside to score qualifying points too Saturday. The safer play is TY GIBBS, but I will take a chance with Wallace this week.

ROSS CHASTAIN (7): Chastain is at his best on the 1.5-mile tracks. He finished 4th earlier this year at Las Vegas and he finished 13th, 5th, 7th and 7th in his four races at Kansas in the Gen-7 car. His average qualifying position in the Gen-7 car at Kansas is 4th, so Chastain will have a good chance to score bonus points for his starting position this week. It is a good idea to use your allocations with Chastain at the intermediate tracks this year.

ALEX BOWMAN (7): I had a tough time deciding between Ty Gibbs and Alex Bowman for this race. Gibbs has slightly better stats on the intermediate tracks, but Bowman has a lot more momentum. Bowman really impressed me last week at Dover, so I will take a chance with the No. 48 car Sunday. Bowman has only competed in three races at Kansas in the Gen-7 car because he was injured for this race last year. Bowman finished 10th, 4th  and 9th in those races. I doubt Bowman will win Sunday, but he has a good chance to finish in the top-10, with the upside to finish in the top-five.

(OTHER PICK) TY GIBBS (7): You can substitute Gibbs for Bubba Wallace or Alex Bowman and I would be fine with it. The only reason I faded Gibbs this week is because he has only had one finish in the top-10 in his last six races (that was a 10th-place finish last week). Gibbs finished 5th at Las Vegas earlier this season and he finished 14th in the last race at Kansas. The Joe Gibbs Racing cars will be fast this week, so Gibbs has some upside. I just think the drivers I have in my lineup have more upside to finish in the top-five at Kansas.

GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Tyler Reddick 2) Ross Chastain 3) Bubba Wallace 4) Alex Bowman 5) Ty Gibbs 6) Joey Logano 7) Brad Keselowski 8) Chris Buescher

 

GROUP C DRIVERS

NOAH GRAGSON (8): The reason why the Driver Group Game picks are not as hot this year is because I am late to the “Noah Gragson Party.” I have been using Chase Briscoe because I thought he was the top driver at Stewart-Haas Racing. That may not be the case. Gragson has been running well and we need to start using him in our lineups. Gragson finished 6th last week at Dover and 6th earlier this year at Las Vegas. He is just running to well right now to fade, so I will have the No. 10 car in my lineup this weekend.

CHASE BRISCOE (5): I am down to five allocations with Briscoe, so I really do not want to use another one this week. I have Briscoe on my team for qualifying points and as an emergency back-up plan, just in case Gragson does something stupid (Gragson does seem to be more mature this year though). Briscoe qualified 6th at Las Vegas, 5th at Texas and 7th last week at Dover. He should have a decent chance to score bonus points for qualifying this week.

(OTHER CHOICE) CARSON HOCEVAR (9): Hocevar should be a safe pick this week if you want to fade Chase Briscoe. He finished 15th at Las Vegas and 10th at Texas earlier this year. I do not think Hocevar has the upside to score bonus points for qualifying like Briscoe has, but the two drivers should finish near each other in the race (likely between 15th – 19th place). I will take a chance with two drivers from Stewart-Haas Racing, but I understand if you want to play a Chevy, instead of two Fords in Group C this weekend.

GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Noah Gragson 2) Chase Briscoe 3) Carson Hocevar 4) John H. Nemechek 5) Ryan Preece

* Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my starting lineup.

 

 

TRUCK SERIES PICKS

 

 

Good Luck This Weekend!

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