NASCAR Picks for Kansas
Length: 1.500 miles
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
After last weekend's trip to Talladega Superspeedway, the Cup Series will get back to its bread and butter with a trip to Kansas Speedway. Saturday night's 5-hour Energy 400 will be the third race of the year at a 1.5-mile oval, but considering the layout is the most common on the schedule, it certainly won't be the last. Of course, Kansas is one of the newer tracks on the schedule, and Saturday's race will be just the 17th Cup event that Kansas has hosted and just the fourth since the track was repaved.
As is the case with several of the 1.5-mile tracks, many of the household names tend to run well at Kansas, which makes building a fantasy lineup a little bit easier. That being said, no lineup is complete without some sleeper picks, and while past results at Kansas are certainly important to consider, I also like to look back at the first couple of races at 1.5-mile tracks from this season and look for drivers that ran well or exceeded their typical results. Big scores tend to be the norm at an intermediate oval like Kansas, but by finding a couple of strong sleeper options, you can take a good fantasy roster and make it a great one.
Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
His 7.5 average finish at Kansas is the best in the series; and in 15 starts, he has 13 top-10 finishes, including 10 straight. Overall, he only has one finish outside the top 15 at the track, and that came way back in 2004. Johnson also has six top-three finishes in his last 10 starts at Kansas, including a pair of wins.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Kenseth is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and he actually has two wins in his last three starts at the track. The victories are a part of what has been a great stretch for Kenseth at Kansas, and in his last seven starts at the track, he has a 4.9 average finish. Over that span, he has six finishes of seventh or better, including four top-four finishes in the last five races at Kansas.
Kevin Harvick, #4 Budweiser/Jimmy Johns, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Harvick got his first win at Kansas last fall, putting an exclamation point on his best-ever stretch at the track. He is riding a streak of seven straight top-12 finishes at the 1.5-mile oval, compiling a 7.1 average finish in the span and recording four finishes of sixth or better.
Jeff Gordon, #24 Drive to End Hunger/Axalta, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
His overall numbers at Kansas are among the best in the track's history. Gordon is a two-time winner, and in 16 starts, he has nine top-five finishes. Overall, he has a solid 10.6 average finish at Kansas and has 13 finishes of 13th or better, including three straight.
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite, Team Penske [Yahoo Class B]
He has never really has a bad run at Kansas, and his 10.3 average finish at the track is tied for the second best in the series. Keselowski is also a former winner at the 1.5-mile oval, and in eight starts, he has six top-15 finishes. More importantly, he has five finishes of 11th or better in his last six starts at the track.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske [Yahoo Class B]
His 23.7 average finish at Kansas isn't exactly comforting, but he did finish a career-best fourth last fall in his second start at the track for Team Penske. Meanwhile, he has been excellent at the 1.5-mile tracks in 2014, finishing fourth at Las Vegas and winning at Texas. Logano is a new man this year so I wouldn't worry much about his previous results at Kansas.
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
In typical Edwards fashion, he has been a reliable option at Kansas. His 10.8 average finish at the track ranks fifth in the series, and in 13 starts, he has 10 top-15 finishes. Edwards has been at his best at the track recently, logging seven top-10s in his last nine starts at Kansas.
Tony Stewart, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Stewart was sidelined for the race at Kansas last fall, but he has enjoyed a lot of success at the track throughout his career. In 15 starts, he has logged six top-five finishes, including a pair of wins. Overall, he has a 12.3 average finish at Kansas and has just three finishes outside the top 15.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
He was pretty average at Kansas early in his career, but Junior has been dialed in at the track the past couple of years. He has a 9.4 average finish in his last five starts at the track, and during the stretch, he hasn't finished worse than 16th. Throw in his strong performance so far in 2014, and a top-10 finish seems likely this weekend.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Kahne hasn't been having a great year, but it's hard to overlook his career numbers at Kansas. He has six straight top-15 finishes at the track, and during the streak, he has a 7.3 average finish and has finished second on two separate occasions. Kahne could bust out of his slump in a big way this weekend.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His last three starts at Kansas have been a little disappointing, but Biffle's overall numbers at the track are still solid. He is a two-time winner at Kansas, and his 10.3 average finish is tied for the second best in the series. Overall, Biffle has 11 top-12 finishes in 15 starts at Kansas, including six finishes of third or better. There is no denying his upside.
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Bowyer has never won at his home-state track, but he has been pretty consistent at Kansas. In 11 starts at the 1.5-mile oval, he has eight top-15 finishes, including three straight. Bowyer also has a respectable 13.2 average finish at Kansas to go along with five top-10 finishes, including two top-six finishes in his last three starts.