The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will remain in the Midwest this week for the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Many fantasy teams took a hit last week when favorites Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer finished in the middle of the pack Saturday night. They will look to rebound this week in Kansas.
The pre-race stats pointed to Stewart dominating the race in Texas. Stewart won the first two races at intermediate racetracks in 2012 and won six of the last eight going into the race Saturday night. After a horrible practice, Stewart went to a backup car and his week was over.
I started Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Trevor Bayne in the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game. The lineup was good enough for 286 points (2,036 total points for the season) and kept my team in the top 1 percent of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing players (Ranked No. 1,594 overall out of 205,000).
For the Fantasy Live game, I started Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer and Trevor Bayne.
I had my first bad week of the season in the Fantasy Live game. My team only scored 171 points. My team has 1,688 points for the season, which dropped me to No. 1,608 overall in the Fantasy Live game.
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing teams must be selected by Saturday morning. This will give fantasy players an opportunity to watch two practices before making the final decisions for their team.
If you are unable to watch practice, simply head over to my Fantasy NASCAR Tips page on Facebook for all of the updated information. You can also see 11 other experts’ picks for the race.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been racing at Kansas Speedway for 11 years now. That is good news for NASCAR drivers. Racetracks take time for the surface to wear out and create some groves to race on. This week the drivers should have plenty of places to run on the track, which should make for a competitive race.
Here are my selections for the Yahoo Group A.
Tony Stewart had a horrible trip to Texas last week. I noticed that other fantasy experts have already jumped off the Stewart bandwagon. Every driver has a bad week. I am looking at the race in Texas as a bad week for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Dating back to the start of the Chase last season, Stewart is still the king of intermediate racetrack racing. Stewart has won six of the last nine races on intermediate racetracks.
In this race last season, Stewart was leading the race with 10 laps to go. He was low on fuel and had to pit, surrendering the lead to the race winner Brad Keselowski.
Stewart’s stats at Kansas Speedway are good. He has two wins, five top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes. His average running position of 8.7 is the fourth-best. Stewart also has 137 fastest laps run in the races at Kansas, which is the third-most of any driver in the field.
I plan to stick with Stewart this week because one bad race at Texas does not overshadow the hot streak he is on at intermediate racetracks.
I am starting to get the feeling Jimmie Johnson did not like finishing the 2011 season without the Championship trophy. Usually, Johnson waits until the Chase to get hot, but the No. 48 team is off to a blistering start to the 2012 season.
Johnson has run well at every intermediate race this season. Johnson has an average finish of 4.6 on intermediate racetracks this year, which is second to Greg Biffle. Although Johnson has not won a race in 2012, he has finished second at two intermediate racetracks (Las Vegas and Texas).
Johnson won the last race at Kansas Speedway. He is the best option in Group A even if he does not qualify well. Last year, Johnson started the race No. 19 and drove his car to victory.
Other good picks: Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick.
There are many good drivers to select from in Group B this week. Picking the right combination from this group will be the key to having a good week in fantasy racing. After the two practices on Friday, it will be very easy to select the best four for your team. (Do not forget to check out my picks Friday night on my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page.)
Here are my selections for Yahoo Group B.
It is hard to use Greg Biffle on my team every week, but when a driver is as hot as Biffle, fantasy players must ride out the hot streak.
Biffle has a series high 3.3 average finish on intermediate racetracks in 2012. He has led 92-laps and has momentum to coming off his win last week in Texas.
Biffle is the only the driver that must be on every fantasy team this week. He is the hottest driver in the sport right now, and his chances of going to victory lane Sunday are better than any driver in the field.
Martin Truex Jr.
Did anyone notice the hot streak that Martin Truex Jr. in on?
Truex has finished five of the first seven races in the top 10. In the last 10 races, Truex has scored 355 points. The only driver to score more points than Truex is Tony Stewart.
Truex has a streak of four races finishing inside the top 10. His average finish of 10.3 on intermediate racetracks in 2012 is seventh best. He has led 69 laps and won one pole at the intermediate racetrack races this season.
Truex has a good chance of finishing up front on Sunday.
Coming into the 2012 season, I was not sure how the No. 55 team would perform. I was worried that switching drivers in the car would ruin the momentum of the team. That has not been the case this year.
No matter who drivers the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing car, the team performs well. This week Mark Martin will pilot the Aaron’s Dream Machine.
Martin’s stats at Kansas Speedway are as good as any driver in the field. Martin has one win, two top-five finishes, five top-10 finishes and one pole at Kansas Speedway. His average running position of 12.9 is seventh-best.
Martin is running a limited schedule in 2012, so I plan to use him while he is available.
Kasey Kahne got off to a horrible start this season. His seventh-place finish at Texas last week tells me he is starting to turn his season around.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has raced at three intermediate racetracks in 2012 (Las Vegas, Fontana and Fort Worth). Kahne has had one of the best cars at the racetrack in each of those races. His luck has to turn around sometime. I would not be surprised to see the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports car in victory lane on Sunday.
Other good picks: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch
There are some interesting choices in Group C this week. Sam Hornish Jr. will be making his 2012 debut in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge. Hornish has not driven in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2010, but the Penske power should be enough to make him an interesting pick for Sunday’s race.
Here are my selections for Group C.
Aric Almirola is the obvious choice for Group C. Picking a driver from Group C is all about weighing the risk and rewards of each driver. Almirola has the least amount of risk as any driver in the Group.
Almirola only been average on the intermediate racetracks in 2012, but he still has outperformed all other drivers in Group C. Almirola has an average finish of No. 23 on intermediate racetracks.
Since fantasy players can only use a driver nine times in the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game, I am going to use my allocations with Almirola wisely. Since Brian Vickers and Trevor Bayne are not in the field this week, Almirola is the next best pick.
I was debating on using Hornish or Casey Mears with my other Group C selection. I decided to go with Mears because he is quietly building momentum in the No. 13 Bob Germain Ford.
Mears has finished the last five races near the No. 25 position. A top-25 finish is about all a fantasy NASCAR team can expect out of their Group C driver.
Mears has performed his best on intermediate racetracks in his career. I am going to take a chance with him as my backup driver in Group C. Maybe it will pay off.
Other good picks: David Ragan, Bobby Labante and Sam Hornish Jr.
This week, my strategy will be to select a lineup of drivers who will race up front most of the race and drivers who will come from the back to finish up front.
Since the Fantasy Live game rewards drivers who improve upon their starting position in the race, it will be important to have at least two drivers who start in the middle of the pack or further back and make their way to the front.
Unlike the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game, Fantasy Live allows players to change their drivers up to the start of the race. I will give my selections for my team now, but I suggest looking at where each driver qualifies in the race before setting your team. My updated selections will be on my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook Sunday morning.
Here are my picks for NASCAR Fantasy Live.
Jimmie Johnson $26.75
Fantasy teams have to have Jimmie Johnson on their team this week. He won the last race at this racetrack and has a series best 3.3 average finish in the last three races at Kansas Speedway.
Johnson has two wins, four top-five finishes, nine top-10 finishes and three poles at the racetrack. His average running position of 7.7 is second-best. Johnson also has series high 316 fastest laps run. The Fantasy Live awards half of a point for each fastest lap run in the race.
Johnson is almost guaranteed to be one of the highest-scoring drivers in the Fantasy Live game this week.
Greg Biffle $27.00
I have no plans to sell Greg Biffle anytime soon. He is the best driver in the sport right now, and he happens to be racing at one of his best racetracks.
Biffle has two wins, six top-five finishes, eight top-10 finishes and one pole at Kansas Speedway. His average running position of 6.6 is a series-best. He also has a series-high 1,957 laps run in the top-15.
If Johnson is not running the fastest laps in the race, there is a good chance Biffle will be. Biffle has 190 fastest laps run in the race which is second-best to Johnson.
If you have Biffle on your Fantasy Live team, do not sell him. If you do not have him, I suggest you purchase Biffle before the race on Sunday.
Carl Edwards $24.00
Carl Edwards considers Kansas Speedway his home racetrack. The Columbia, Missouri native always steps up his performances at the races in Kansas. I would not be surprised to see Edwards return to victory lane this week.
Edwards has never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway, but he has four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes. His 113 fastest-laps run are the fourth best.
Edwards has finished every race at intermediate racetracks in 2012 in the top-10. He will finish in the top 10 again this week.
Kasey Kahne $18
For $18 Kasey Kahne is almost a must-have on your Fantasy Live team. He got off to a bad start in 2012, but this may be the week he starts to score multiple top-10 finishes. When he does the $18 price will quickly increase. I want to own Kahne when it does.
Kahne has one top-five finish, three top-10 finishes and won three poles at Kansas Speedway. His 66 fastest laps run in the race are the eighth-best.
All four of the Hendrick Motorsports cars finished the race in Texas in the top 10. I would not be surprised to see it happen again this week.
Sam Hornish Jr. $3
I sold Trevor Bayne and purchased Sam Hornish Jr. For only $3 he is by far the best deal in the game.
Hornish will be driving the No. 12 car for Penske Racing. Last year, Penske Racing dominated this race. Kurt Busch led the most laps in the race and Brad Keselowski won the race. I am taking a gamble that Hornish will have a good car and be able to finish inside the top 20.
Total budget: $98.75
Good luck this week!
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @HuskerMagic.
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