The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competes at Kansas Speedway Sunday. This will be the third race at a 1.5-mile track in the playoffs. The drivers at the top of the playoff standings have run well at these tracks and I expect them to run well Sunday. Do not be afraid to pick your best drivers this week.
Here are my picks for Kansas…
Most of the “Fantasy NASCAR Experts” said, “You must use Kyle Busch with Martin Truex Jr. this week in order to score maximum points for qualifying.” I went against the grain and suggested Kevin Harvick instead of Busch. The No. 4 car will start 2nd and the combo of Truex and Harvick scored 15 bonus points for qualifying.
Kevin Harvick (6): My plan was to go with Martin Truex in this spot but I will save my last two allocations with him for Texas and Homestead. Harvick qualified 2nd and was fast in practice. He dominated the last race at Charlotte (led 149 laps) and he ran well at Chicago (led 52 laps and finished 3rd). I expect the No. 4 car to be up front the entire race Sunday. Harvick has not finished worse than 3rd in his last three races at Kansas. I will take my chances with the No. 4 car Sunday and save Truex for the last two 1.5-mile tracks.
Group A Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, 3) Martin Truex Jr., 4) Matt Kenseth, 5) Jimmie Johnson, 6) Denny Hamlin, 7) Brad Keselowski, 8) Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray (1): The No. 1 team is in a “must win” situation this week. I expect the team to do whatever it takes to get to the front. While other teams may stay out to get Stage points at the end of Stage two, I would expect the No. 1 team to short pit to gain track position so they can take the lead heading into the last Stage Sunday. This race has been won by teams who have gambled many times before. Maybe McMurray can win his first race at his home track Sunday. McMurray will start 8th Sunday at his home track.
Austin Dillon (5): Is my last pick for Group B because I do not want to burn an allocation with Elliott Sunday and Kahne is not an option. I was planning to use the No. 24 car if he qualified up front and he had speed in practice. Elliott did not look good enough in practice so I will use Dillon. The No. 3 car has been good at Kansas. Dillon finished in the top 6 in 2 of his last three races at the track. I need a top-15 finish from Dillon and I think I can get it. Especially if his experience in the Xfinity Series race helps him in the MENCS race Sunday.
Group B Rankings: 1) Kyle Larson, 2) Ryan Blaney, 3) Jamie McMurray, 4) Clint Bowyer, 5) Kurt Busch, 6) Chase Elliott, 7) Austin Dillon, 8) Kasey Kahne, 9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr.), 10) Chris Buescher
Daniel Suarez (1): I am using my last allocations with Saurez this week. He has been the best driver in Group C since the playoffs began and I want to use him before he cools off. Suarez qualified 15th and finished 7th in his first start at Kansas. He also ran well at Chicago (finished 12th) and Charlotte (finished 6th). Suarez starts 6th Sunday and I expect a top-10 finish from the No. 19 car.
Group C Rankings: 1) Daniel Suarez, 2) Erik Jones, 3) Michael McDowell, 4) Ty Dillon, 5) David Ragan, 6) Landon Cassill
Good luck this week!
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