The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels to Kansas City, Kansas this week for the Go Bowling 400. The race can be seen Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in the Fantasy Live game on nascar.com.
After two races on the short tracks and a trip to Talladega, it will be nice to get back to intermediate track racing. The races on the 1.5-mile tracks are more predictable and one wreck does not take out half of the field.
The strategy this week will be much different than what we saw last week at Talladega. Track position will be important Saturday night and picking the dominator drivers (drivers who lead the most laps and score the fastest laps) will be very important this week.
Kansas Speedway was repaved in 2012 and the track still does not have the surface that wears out tires like it did before the new asphalt was laid down. Passing for the lead at Kansas has become rare since it was repaved. The progressive banking was supposed to improve the racing but one driver has led at least 95 laps in every race since the track was repaved. It will be important to follow practice Friday and find the two drivers with the best chance to lead this race.
Position differential points will not be as important this week. Fantasy teams should select drivers who start inside the top 25 (unless a big name driver’s start at the back) with a good chance to lead laps and score Stage points Saturday night.
The drivers who have run well in the four intermediate track races (Atlanta, Las Vegas, California and Texas) should run well this week. Be sure to check out my Fantasy Live Driver Points for the intermediate tracks.
Brad Keselowski ($28.00) has been a great pick at the intermediate tracks this season. He won the race at Atlanta, finished fifth at Las Vegas, second at Auto Club Speedway and sixth at Texas. The Blue Deuce has led at least 36 laps in each of these races. Keselowski is off to a hot start this season and there are no signs of him slowing down any time soon.
Joey Logano ($27.75) has been the most consistent driver this season. He has finished eight of the 10 races in the top six. Logano still needs a win to secure his spot in the playoffs because of his “encumbered” win at Richmond. Logano has finished six of the last seven races at Kansas in the top five. He should be up front again Saturday night.
Martin Truex Jr. ($27.50) has scored the most points on intermediate tracks in the Fantasy Live game this season. Truex has won four races on the 1.5-mile tracks (Las Vegas, Chicago, Darlington and Charlotte) since the last spring race at Kansas. We will know on Friday what to expect from Truex Saturday night. When this team leads the practice sessions and qualifies up front, Truex usually dominates the race as well.
Kyle Larson ($27.50) cannot be counted out at any track this season. He has scored the second-most points in the Fantasy Live game on the intermediate tracks. Larson finished second at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas and won the race at Auto Club Speedway. The No. 42 car is the safest pick in the field this week. Larson should easily finish in the top five at Kansas.
Kevin Harvick ($27.50) has been the class of the field at Kansas. Harvick has finished the last three spring races at the track in second place. He won at Kansas last October. Harvick has a series-best 122.7 driver rating and the second-best average finishing position (5.25) in the last four races at Kansas. The No. 4 team is still looking for their first win this season. They should get the job done under the lights Saturday night.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($15.50) will have momentum following his win at Talladega. That race was not a fluke. The No. 17 car has been fast all year. Stenhouse has five finishes in the top 10 and three finishes in the top five this season. His average finishing position in the last five races is 7.6. If you want to play the hot hand, Stenhouse is your driver Saturday night.
Aric Almirola ($13.75) has been one of the biggest surprises this season in the Fantasy Live game. Almirola has scored the 18th-most points in the Fantasy Live game and the 14th-most points on the intermediate tracks. The No. 43 team will most likely be without crew chief Drew Blinkensderfer this week because they failed post-race inspection at Talladega. Almirola should still be able to finish in the top 20 Saturday night.
Ty Dillon ($13.75) has been a good driver for the price on intermediate tracks. Dillon finished 15th at Atlanta, 21st at Last Vegas, 18th at California and 17th at Texas. He has scored the 15th-most points in Fantasy Live on the 1.5-mile tracks. Fantasy teams should expect Dillon finish inside the top 20 Saturday night. That is good value for a driver at his price.
Cole Whitt ($5.25) will continue to be my go-to-driver when I select the final spot for my team. He is still one of the cheapest drivers in the game but he has finished half of the races this season in the top 21. That is incredible value for your team and it allows you to spend up for the dominator drivers. Whitt has not been as good on the intermediate tracks as he has been on the short tracks and the Superspeedways, but he is still the best cheap driver for your team.
Here are my pre-qualifying picks for the Go Bowling 400:
Driver 1: Kyle Larson $27.50
Driver 2: Kevin Harvick $27.50
Driver 3: Martin Truex Jr. $27.50
Driver 4: Chris Buescher $9.75
Driver 5: Landon Cassill $7.50
Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick
I will have my picks updated on my website (Fantasy Racing Tips) **Saturday morning.**