The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series blows into Kansas Speedway for the 31st race of the season, the Hollywood Casino 400. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, October 18; 2:31 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly sunny with a high around 71; wind out of the SE at 15 mph. There is a zero chance of precipitation on race day.
The Track: KansasSpeedway
Kansasis a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It has 15 degree banking in the corners and 10 degree banking in the tri-oval and five degree banking on the straight-aways.
Key to Race: KANSAS NOT JUST ANOTHER PRETTY 1.5 MILER
Kansas is the ninth 1.5 mile oval we have seen so far this season. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won the previous eight races on 1.5 mile layouts. Logano and Harvick will be fast again this weekend. But we expect Matt Kenseth or Kyle Busch to take the checkers.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth dominated the spring 2013 race at Kansas and he has had one of the top cars at Kansas in the last 12 races. After last weekend’s 42nd place finish he almost needs a win this weekend or next weekend to advance to the next round of the chase.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished second at Kansas this spring and has been terrific on 1.5 mile ovals this season. He should finish inside the top two.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch’s best career finish at Kansas is third. He could improve on that finish this weekend.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano won at Kansas last fall and won last week at Charlotte. He will be a serious threat to win on Sunday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has been the top driver at Kansas since it opened. He has 15 top 10 finishes in 18 career starts at the track. He won this spring’s SpongeBob 400 and will be fast again.
6 to 10
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin usually brings a decent car to Kansas. He could notch his second career victory at the track this weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won at Kansas in the spring of 2011 and is great on 1.5 mile ovals. He is a terrific option.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch finished eighth at Kansas earlier this year. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards loves Kansas and his results prove it. He has top 10 finishes in 10 of the last 15 races at his home-track. He is a great pick.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior usually doesn’t do much at Kansas, but he finished third earlier this year. He is a top 10 choice.
11 to 20
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. led 95 laps at Kansas earlier this year. He is a great second or third driver.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon added his third career win at Kansas last spring. He is a smart use in deep leagues.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson finished second at Kansas last fall and 15th earlier this year. He will just miss the top 10.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been very good the past month of this season. He is a nice third driver in most leagues.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has finished in the top eight in five of the last eight races at Kansas. He is an interesting pick this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer usually brings fast cars to his home-track. He is a nice pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won the 2007 and 2010 races at Kansas. In addition, he has finished 15th or better in 13 of the last 16 races at the track. We like his chances.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman’s past trips to Kansas define hit-or-miss. He has seven top 11 finishes and 12 finishes of 15th or worse at the track. We think he will be back inside the top 15 this visit.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has driven very well at Kansas during his career. Use the No. 43 this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has had one of the top cars at Kansas the past nine years. That normally would be good enough to crack our top 10, but with the struggles he has had this season we bump him out of our top 15.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has 10 consecutive top 20 finishes at Kansas. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon finished an impressive eighth place at Kansas last fall. This is a good weekend to use him as a fourth driver.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky has finished inside the top 24 the past three trips to Kansas. He should bring a similar setup this trip and another decent finish is expected.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Dinger's has averaged a 23rd place finish at Kansas during his career. He should finish around his average this weekend.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne best finish at Kansas is 21st. He will be a tad worse this trip.
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has driven okay the past month of the season. He still isn’t anything but a fourth driver.
No. 10 Danica Patrick : Danica had one the best races of her Cup career at Kansas last May. We recommend using her to round-out your roster.
No. 55 David Ragan: Ragan has cracked the top 20 in six of his 13 career starts at Kansas. He is worth using this weekend as a fifth driver in deep leagues.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged just a 29th place finish at Kansas the past 10 races. He isn’t much of an option.
No. 21 Ryan Blaney: Bayne has averaged a 26th place finish at Kansas in his brief career.
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 83 Matt DiBendetto
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 33 Brian Scott
No. 62 Timmy Hill
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 98 Reed Sorenon
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 23 Jeb Burton
No. 26 J.J. Yeley
No. 32 Will Kimmel III
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Matt Kenseth
B. Kurt Busch