The second night race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway. This will be the first race at a 1.5 Mile Intermediate track since the Cup Series went to Texas at the beginning of April.
RACE PREVIEW FOR KC MASTERPIECE 400
Kevin Harvick ($11,700 on DraftKings, $13,500 on FanDuel) is the favorite to win this week’s race. He has won two of the last three races on this type of track and has led the most laps at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks in 2018 with 482. Harvick has the best Average Running Position (5.0), Laps in the Top 15 (1,475), and Driver Rating (120.7) at Kansas since 2015. Harvick starts first, had the sixth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and was first in practice. Harvick has been very fast on Intermediate tracks this season, and with his performances in pre-race events looking better than most yet again, he will dominate this week’s race and lead the most laps. You need to have him in your lineup if you want to cash in this week, as the statistics, speed, and the overall performance make him the essential pick.
Kyle Busch ($11,200 on DraftKings, $12,200 on FanDuel) has been one of the best drivers for DFS every week, and my stance on “Rowdy” will not change for Kansas. He has finished in the Top 10 in his last six starts at the site, which include 5 Top 5 finishes. Kyle Busch has eight Top 10 finishes in 11 races this season and he ranks second in ARP (5.3), third in laps led (240), and DR (117.9) since 2015. Kyle Busch was third in practice, had the second-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and starts third. Kyle Busch will not win, but will finish in the Top 3 based on practice speeds and his history at Kansas points to another strong run.
Kyle Larson ($10,600 on DraftKings, $10,700 on FanDuel) has two Top 10 finishes in eight starts at Kansas, but I expect him to score his third Top 10 this week. Larson has finished in the Top 10 in three of the last four races this season and he has placed in the Top 10 in two of the last three races at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks. Larson was second in practice, had the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and starts 22nd. Larson looked better than most in practice and his starting position makes him one of the best picks to score Place Differential points.
Kansas is Clint Bowyer’s ($9,000 on DraftKings, $10,200 on FanDuel) hometown track. He has never won at the site and only has one Top 10 finish in his last eight starts there, but I expect him to be a top play despite the history. Statistically, Bowyer is enjoying his best season since 2012 and he has led more laps in 2018 than his last four seasons combined. He was the runner-up at Dover last week, and he has five Top 10 finishes in the last six races this season. Bowyer was fifth in practice, had the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and starts 33rd after failing to set a qualifying lap. Bowyer’s practice speeds indicate a finish in the Top 5, but because of his starting position, there is no better inclusion than Bowyer for the high amount of PD points he will score.
MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS
Ryan Blaney ($8,800 on DraftKings, $11,500 on FanDuel) is one of the best picks for Kansas. He is more consistent at Kansas compared to other tracks, as it is the only site in the Cup Series where Blaney has multiple Top 5 finishes, which include three of his last four starts. Since 2015, Blaney has the third highest percentage of Laps in the Top 15 at 88.8% and he has the second-highest PD in the last four Kansas races (39). Blaney was ninth in practice, had the fifth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and starts second. Blaney is in better equipment compared to previous seasons, his history is fantastic at Kansas, and he has looked good in practice.
Aric Almirola ($8,600 on DraftKings, $9,400 on FanDuel) has three Top 10 finishes in 12 starts at Kansas. I expect him to be one of the better options this week as he is in much better equipment than before and he is having his best season to date. He has nine Top 15 finishes in 2018. Almirola was seventh in practice, had the third-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and starts fourth. Expect Almirola to finish around his starting position based on his practice speed.
Erik Jones’ ($8,100 on DraftKings, $9,700 on FanDuel) best finish at Kansas is 22nd in three starts. He has finished 11th or better in all races at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks this season. Jones was fourth in practice, had the ninth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average, and starts 12th. I think Jones will score a new personal best finish this week at Kansas, especially since he is in better equipment in comparison to last season, and he is more consistent at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks this year. He will compete for a Top 10 finish based on practice speeds.
Paul Menard ($7,000 on DraftKings, $7,900 on FanDuel) finished 12th in his last Kansas start. He has five Top 10 finishes in 18 starts at the site. Menard has two Top 10 finishes this season, with his most recent Top 10 at Las Vegas, another 1.5 Mile Intermediate track. Menard was 15th in practice and starts 11th. His equipment at Wood Brothers Racing this season is better compared to Richard Childress Racing the last couple of years, so I expect Menard to finish in the Top 15 based on his practice speed.
Daniel Suarez ($6,800 on DraftKings, $9,500 on FanDuel) will be the best performing bargain value. He finished seventh in this event last year and the experience he has at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks has increased since his last start. He currently is on a streak of three consecutive Top 10 finishes in 2018 and matched his career best finishing position last week at Dover. He was sixth in practice and starts 14th. Based on his practice speed, Suarez will compete for a Top 10 finish.
William Byron ($6,600 on DraftKings, $8,600 on FanDuel) is making his first start at Kansas. Despite the inexperience, Byron is improving on 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks as the season progresses, as he scored his first Top 10 at the most recent race on this track type at Texas. He was 14th in practice and starts 14th. Byron will likely finish around his starting position based on his practice speed, but he can place in the Top 10 based on how good his equipment is.
Kansas is one of Chris Buescher’s ($5,800 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel) better tracks. His third-highest Average Finishing Position is at Kansas (17.2), and he finished sixth in his last start at the site. Buescher starts 10th and was eighth in practice. Buescher has finished in the Top 15 in his last two starts at 1.5 Mile Intermediate tracks this season and will continue to place in that range. He does have a good chance of finishing in the Top 10 based on his practice speed.