This week, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series sets its sights on Kansas Speedway for the Go Bowling 400. Kansas is a 1.5 mile tri-oval intermediate track known for long green flag runs. There is more passing at Kansas compared to other intermediate tracks, so owners should keep Place Differential prominently in mind when setting lineups.
TOP PRICED PICKS
Brad Keselowski ($10,700) is the most expensive pick this week, but will be worth it at Kansas. In 14 starts at the site, Keselowski has one win, seven Top 10 finishes, and 159 Laps Led, which is eighth of active drivers. In the last two years, Keselowski has the ninth-best Average Running Position of 11.2, the fourth-most Laps in the Top 15 with 954, and the eighth-best Driver Rating of 95.4. Keselowski has finished no worse than sixth at every 1.5 mile intermediate track this season. Keselowski was fifth in final practice and starts 17th.
Kevin Harvick ($10,400) is one of the best picks based on history and speed at Kansas. In 22 starts at the site, Harvick has two wins, 11 Top 10 finishes, and 549 Laps Led, which is third of active drivers. In his last four Kansas starts, Harvick has the second-best Average Finishing Position of 5.3, the best ARP of 4.8, is second in Fastest Laps with 119, and has the best Driver Rating of 122.7. Harvick has finished in the Top 10 in two out of three races at 1.5 mile tracks this season. Harvick starts eighth and had the second-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,100) leads all drivers with three wins at Kansas. In 21 starts at the site, Johnson has 17 Top 10 finishes, the best ARP of 9.3, and 601 Laps Led, which is second of active drivers. In his last four starts at KS, Johnson has the third-best AFP of 6.3, 931 Laps in the Top 15 and a DR of 105.6, both of which are sixth. Johnson starts 29th after failing pre-qualifying inspection and was seventh in final practice. Johnson is a must-start with fast practice speeds and has a great chance to earn a lot of points based on PD.
Since the Cup Series returns to a 1.5-mile intermediate track, Kyle Larson ($9,900) is a great pick owners should consider for a Top 5 finish. In six starts at Kansas, Larson has one Top 10 finish, the seventh-best ARP of 13.7, and the eighth-best DR of 87.8. Larson has finished no worse than second at 1.5-mile tracks this season. Larson was second in final practice and starts ninth.
Martin Truex Jr. ($9,700) is another strong choice owners should consider this week. In 17 starts at Kansas, Truex has five Top 10 finishes, the fourth-best ARP of 12.4, and 518 Laps Led, which is fourth of active drivers. In his last four starts at KS, Truex has finished no worse than 15th and led 267 Laps, the second-most in the Cup Series. Truex also has finished in the Top 10 at all races at 1.5-mile tracks. Truex was the fastest in first practice and was third in final practice. Truex starts third, which gives him a good chance to gain significant fantasy points by leading laps early.
Joey Logano ($9,500) has two wins in 15 starts at Kansas, six Top 10 finishes, and 294 Laps Led, which is fifth of active drivers. In his last four starts at the site, Logano has three Top 5 finishes, the fifth-best ARP of 7.1, and 1,002 Laps in the Top 15, which is the most. Logano was 23rd in final practice and starts second. Logano’s practice speeds indicate that he could drop back and finish with negative place differential, making him an unfavorable pick.
Kyle Busch ($9,400) has statistically been terrific at Kansas in the last few races at the site, but he has not displayed optimum speeds at 1.5-mile tracks this season. Still, Busch has shown through pre-race events that he has the promise to stay in the Top 5. In his last four KS starts, Busch has finished fifth or better, has the second-best ARP of 6.3, and 76 Laps Led, which is the fourth-most. Busch has failed to finish in the Top 10 at all races at 1.5-mile tracks this season. Busch was fastest in second practice and starts fifth.
Could Chase Elliott ($9,100) become the first driver ever to earn his first career win at Kansas Speedway? In only two starts at the site, Elliott is 14th in ARP with 14.9, has one Top 10 finish, and a DR of 83.9, which is 13th of active drivers. Elliott was 15th in final practice and starts 10th. Based on practice speeds, Elliott will likely not move up or fall back in a major way. There are better picks in this price range and he won’t make history.
Clint Bowyer ($8,600) must be strongly considered for Kansas even though his history there has not been favorable. In 17 starts at the site Bowyer has five Top 10 finishes, an ARP of 18.7, which is 18th of active drivers, and a DR of 79.1, which is 15th. Bowyer starts 30th after failing pre-qualifying inspection and was 11th in final practice. The last time Bowyer finished in the Top 10 was 2013, but with better equipment and solid practice speeds, expect him to be a Top 10 finisher and earn a lot of fantasy points based on PD.
Matt Kenseth ($8,400) looks to become the third driver in the Cup series to earn three wins at Kansas. In 22 starts at the site, Kenseth has two wins, 13 Top 10 finishes, and 774 Laps Led, which is the most of all drivers. In his last four starts, Kenseth has an ARP of 6.2, 127 Fastest Laps, and a DR of 116.8, all of which are second-best. Kenseth was in the Top 6 in both practice sessions and starts 14th. Kenseth is a terrific choice that should finish close to the Top 5 based on practice speeds.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,300) has not performed well overall so far in 2017, but he should still be among the better choices this week. In 20 Kansas starts, Earnhardt has nine Top 10 finishes, 146 Laps Led, which is ninth of active drivers, and the eighth-best AFP of 16.0. Earnhardt was ninth in final practice and starts 33rd. Earnhardt’s starting position is very good for earning PD this week and makes him a strong pick.
BARGAIN PICKS OF $8,000 OR LESS
Kansas has become one of Ryan Blaney’s ($8,000) most favorable tracks. In four starts, Blaney has two Top 10 finishes, an AFP of 8.7, which is sixth of active drivers, the eighth best ARP of 10.8, and the ninth-best DR of 90.6. Blaney starts on the pole and was fourth fastest in final practice. Blaney’s practice speeds and his starting position indicate that he may lead a lot of laps early and he has a realistic chance to win.
Erik Jones ($7,700) will make his second start at Kansas this week. In his only start at the site, Jones started 12th and finished 40th. Jones has finished in the Top 15 twice at 1.5-mile intermediate tracks this season. Jones starts 32nd after failing pre-qualifying inspection and was 12th in final practice. Jones is highly likely to earn a quality amount of points based on PD and that factor is more than enough to consider Jones a terrific value pick this week.
Ty Dillon ($6,700) should continue to be a solid Fantasy performer this week at Kansas for the salary. In one start at the site, Dillon started 32nd and finished 26th. Dillon has six Top 20 finishes this season and has finished with a positive place differential in six races. Dillon starts 22nd and was 18th in final practice. Dillon’s practice speeds indicate that he is very likely to finish inside the Top 20 and he will be well worth his value this week.
Landon Cassill ($5,200) will save you some salary and return a decent amount of points based on PD. In 13 starts at Kansas, Cassill has two Top 20 finishes and has finished with positive PD in eight of his 13 races. Cassill starts 36th after failing pre-qualifying inspection and was 27th in final practice.
TOP THREE DRIVERS IN EACH PRICE RANGE FOR GO BOWLING 400 – BASED ON COMBINATION OF PROJECTED PERFORMANCE AND VALUE
1: Jimmie Johnson ($10,100) – Apart from being the lowest priced driver in this range, Johnson also has the biggest potential gains for Fantasy points since he starts 29th.
2: Brad Keselowski ($10,700) – Keselowski starts 17th but based on practice speeds, he has a car that can easily finish inside the Top 5. Keselowski can’t gain as much PD points as Johnson but still is a very good pick.
3: Kevin Harvick ($10,400) – Harvick starts eighth, which is the highest of the three drivers in this range, but has shown well in practice sessions. Look for Harvick to be a contender for the win, but he still is not going to earn as many points as Johnson or Keselowski.
1: Martin Truex Jr. ($9,700) – Truex has been one of the fastest throughout all practice sessions and starts third. Truex will be a dominator and lead a lot of laps early on.
2: Kyle Larson ($9,900) – Larson has been incredible on 1.5-mile Intermediate tracks this season and has outstanding practice speeds and momentum. It’s hard not to think Larson will be a Top 5 finisher.
3: Kyle Busch ($9,400) – Kyle Busch was the fastest in final practice and has finished in the Top 10 the last two races. Look for him to improve on those recent performances based on momentum and practice speeds.
1: Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,300) – Earnhardt starts 33rd and was eighth in final practice. It is a given that he will earn a lot of points based on PD and will be a fantastic pick to finish close to or inside the Top 10.
2: Clint Bowyer ($8,600) – A lot of the same points I outlined for Earnhardt also apply to Bowyer. He starts in 30th and was 11th in final practice, so expect him to provide a nice return this week.
3: Matt Kenseth ($8,400) – Kenseth starts 14th and his practice speeds have shown that he is likely to finish in the Top 5.
$7,000 –Plus Range
1: Erik Jones ($7,700) – Jones has been fast in practice sessions and starts 32nd. He is very likely to earn a lot of points based on PD.
2: Kasey Kahne ($7,800) – Kahne starts 31st and has been decent in practice sessions. He should earn a good amount of Fantasy points through PD but not as much as Jones.
3: Ryan Newman ($7,600) – Newman starts 19th and his practice speeds have indicated that he has a car that will likely finish in the Top 15. His consistency over the past few seasons also makes him a trustworthy pick.
Below $7,000 Range
1: Landon Cassill ($5,200) – Cassill starts 36th and has shown good PD gains in the past at Kansas.
2: Ty Dillon ($6,700) – Dillon starts 22nd and his practice speeds are indicative of a finish just outside the Top 15.
3: Michael McDowell ($5,700) – McDowell starts 35th after not participating in qualifying or second practice. He has finished in the Top 25 twice at 1.5-mile intermediate tracks this season.