This is it… The last chance for the 12 drivers competing for the championship to secure a spot in the Round of 8. The 2019 aero package has brought the cars closer together and promoted blocking by the slower cars. This might not be the race to throw a block on a driver competing for the championship. That could be a good way to end up in the wall. I expect a crazy race this week in the Heartland. The Hollywood Casino 400 can be seen Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
* The rules are a bit different for the Fantasy Life Playoff Game. We must select 2 Playoff Drivers and 2 Non-Playoff Drivers. The Garage picks can be a driver who is either in the playoffs or a driver not competing for the championship. If you select a Playoff-Driver for the Garage, you can only use him to replace a Playoff-Driver. If you select a Non-Playoff Driver for the Garage, you can only use him to replace a Non-Playoff Driver.
Fantasy Live Playoff Game Strategy
The 6 playoff drivers sitting above the cut line all looked very fast in practice (Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano). Any of these drivers could easily dominate the race Sunday. Usually I select a Non-Playoff driver for my Garage pick at the 1.5-mile tracks but this week I want as many of these Playoff Drivers as possible to ensure I have the top two dominators in my lineup.
Here are my picks for the race in Kansas….
Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won the last race at Kansas and it was his second trip to Victory Lane in the Heartland. Keselowski posted the fastest speed in the afternnon practice and that is when the race will be run Sunday. Team Penske has a history of running very well at the October races at Kansas Speedway. I would not be surprised to see Keselowski sweep the races at this track in 2019.
Martin Truex Jr.: Truex had a horrible race in May at Kansas but I would not worry too much about it. The No. 78 car has a lot more speed this week. Truex posted the 8th fastest lap in final practice with the 3rd-best 10-lap average speed. Truex just won at Las Vegas and he has finished 4 of his last 5 races at Kansas in the top 5 (including 2 trips to Victory Lane). The No. 78 car is going to be tough to beat Sunday.
Kurt Busch: Busch is the safest pick from the Non-Playoff Drivers. He finished 7th at Kansas in May and the No. 1 team brought another fast racecar to the track. Busch posted the 3rd fastest speed with the 9th fastest 10-lap speed and the 5th fastest 20-lap average speed. There is no reason not to have Busch in your lineup Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson did not post the fastest speed in practice but when you listen to him on the radio you would have heard a very happy driver. Johnson has a history of practicing poorly and racing well. The No. 48 car has finished 5 of their last 6 races on the 1.5-mile tracks in the top 11. Johnson finished 6th at Kansas in May so he should have a good chance to finish in the top 10 again this week.
Kyle Busch: Busch has not been himself for a couple of months. I think this is the week when the real Kyle Busch shows up. He said on NBC Sports’ Motor Mouths this week, “We were not concerned with the previous races because we really had nothing to race for. The last 5 tracks are very good for us so I plan to spend a lot of time leading laps in those races.” Busch posted the fastest speed on the 5-lap, 10-lap, 15-lap, 20-lap, 25-lap and 30-lap average speed charts. His car simply did not fall off like the others. Busch is a good play this week. I will start Busch in the Garage this week.
** Photos from NASCAR Media
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Good luck this week!
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