The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the Heartland this week for the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.
This will be the second week in a row that the series will race on a 1.5-mile racetrack. Drivers who had success at Las Vegas and Texas will be the drivers to select for your fantasy team this week. Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. all finished in the top 10 in both races.
Now that Kansas Speedway has been repaved and progressive banking added, the racetrack will produce better racing. The new Gen-6 car should provide the fastest speeds ever seen at Kansas Speedway. Last week Kyle Busch set a new track record at Texas. Do not be surprised if a new record is set this week at Kansas Speedway.
The strategy for the Fantasy Live game should be to select a combination of drivers who will start in the back of the field that will have a good opportunity to move to the front and drivers who start up front who could lead many laps. Your team will score bonus points for passing cars, finishing differential, laps led and fastest laps.
Unlike the Fantasy Live game, where fantasy players have until the drop of the green flag to select their team, people playing the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing game must have their lineups selected early on Friday morning. The first practice and qualifying will begin after your team has been selected, so players will not have any data to use when selecting their team. Have no fear, I can help.
Here are my picks for the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing game…
Selecting a good driver from Group A will not be difficult this week. Most of the drivers in this group have had success at Kansas Speedway.
Since so many drivers from Group A are worth selecting, this is a good week to take a break from Jimmie Johnson. Johnson has two wins, five top-five finishes, 11 top-10 finishes and three poles in his 13 career races at Kansas Speedway. He is a great choice, but if you need to save him, there are other drivers worth selecting this week.
My sleeper pick for Group A is Clint Bowyer. The Kansas native would love to score a victory at his home racetrack. He finished sixth in the last race at Kansas Speedway.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon the driver’s career stats at Kansas….
Matt Kenseth won the race at Las Vegas and should be very good this week at Kansas Speedway. The two racetracks are very similar now that progressive banking has been added.
Kenseth has one win, five top-five finishes, eight top-10 finishes and one pole in his 14 career races at Kansas Speedway. In the last four races at the racetrack Kenseth has a series-best average finish of 3.75, the second-best driver rating of 119.4 and led the fourth-most laps in the races.
Kenseth has a great chance to pick up win No. 2 this week.
Kasey Kahne is another driver who has had success at the 1.5-mile racetracks this season and has a history of success at Kansas Speedway. Kahne finished second at Las Vegas and No. 11 last week at Texas.
Kahne has two top-five finishes, five top-10 finishes and three poles in his 11 career races at Kansas Speedway. In the last four races at the racetrack Kahne has the fourth-best average finish of No. 7, the fourth-best driver rating of 105.5 and the series-best average starting position of No. 8.
Kahne performs well on fast racetracks, and he is my pick to win the pole for Sunday’s race.
Other good choices: Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer
There are many good selections for Group B this week. Roush Fenway Racing recently tested at Kansas Speedway and may have an advantage over the competition. The drivers from Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have been very good on the 1.5-mile racetracks this season. Any drivers from these organizations are worth selecting.
If you want to use a driver that other teams in your league may not have this week, use Paul Menard. He has run well at the 1.5-mile racetracks this season and finished third in the last race at Kansas Speedway.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon their career stats at Kansas….
Kyle Busch has been too good to keep of your team. He has nine top-five finishes in the last 11 races dating back to last season. Busch also has a streak of five races finishing inside the top five.
Busch’s stats at Kansas Speedway are not very good. He only has two top-10 finishes in his 11 career races at the Kansas Speedway. Busch is driving too good to have his past results at Kansas Speedway be the reason he is left off your team.
Carl Edwards took a car that looked like it was headed to the junkyard and drove it to a third-place finish at Texas. Edwards needed some luck, and he may have found it last week.
Edwards has finished both of the races at the 1.5-mile racetracks this season in the top five. He also has had a lot of success at Kansas Speedway.
Edwards has four top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in his 11 career races at Kansas Speedway. In the last four races at the racetrack Edwards has the sixth-best average finish of 8.25, the 10th-best driver rating of 95.5 and led the ninth-most laps led in the races.
There is a good chance that Edwards will visit Victory Lane on Sunday for the second time in the 2013 season.
Greg Biffle had a horrible qualifying session last week and was able to drive his car to a fourth-place finish. Biffle has been good on the 1.5-mile racetracks this season and is one of the best drivers at Kansas Speedway.
Biffle has two wins, seven top-five finishes, nine top-10 finishes and one pole in his 13 career races at Kansas Speedway. In the last four races at the racetrack, Biffle has the 10th-best average finish of 12.25, the sixth-best driver rating of 98.5 and the 10th-best average starting position.
Biffle loves fast racetracks, and the STP 400 will suit him well.
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. had the race won last week at Texas until a late caution allowed Kyle Busch to pass him in the pits. Truex should have won this race last season at Kansas Speedway as well. Truex led 173 of the 267 laps before Denny Hamlin passed him for the victory. Truex finished second in both races at Kansas Speedway in 2012.
This is one of Truex’s best racetracks. He should be on every team this week.
Other good choices: Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Paul Menard
The race at Texas was horrible for Group C drivers, unless you had Trevor Bayne. This week will be much better since three drivers who do not regularly race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have entered the race.
This week Sam Hornish will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford, Elliott Sadler will drive the No. 81 J.D. Gibbs Toyota and Regan Smith will be in the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevy. All three drivers will be a good option for your team in the STP 400.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C…
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the victim of bad luck last week. His front tire went flat, causing him to run into Austin Dillon. The rest of his night was spent in and out of the garage area.
Stenhouse has been the most reliable driver in Group C this season. His team recently finished testing at Kansas Speedway, so I look for him to bounce back this week.
Stenhouse has never raced in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway, but he does have one win, two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes in his three career Nationwide Series races.
Stenhouse is the best option in Group C this week.
The last choice for Group C came down to Casey Mears, Sam Hornish and Regan Smith. I decided to go with Smith because the No. 51 team has been together all season and Smith has had success at Kansas Speedway in the past. In the last race at the racetrack, Smith finished seventh.
Smith will be good for a top-20 finish on Sunday.
Other good choices: Casey Mears, Sam Hornish, Elliott Sadler
2012 April Race at Kansas Pole-Sitter: A.J. Allmendinger 195.993 MPH
2012 April Race at Kansas Winner: Denny Hamlin, Started No. 4
2012 October Race at Kansas Pole Sitter: Kasey Kahne, 191.360 MPH
2012 October Race at Kansas Winner: Matt Kenseth, Started No. 12
Most Wins at Kansas, Active Drivers: (2) Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson
Most Poles at Kansas, Active Drivers: Jimmie Johnson (3), Kasey Kahne (3)
Most Top 10s at Kansas, Active Drivers: Jimmie Johnson (11), Jeff Gordon (10)
Most Top Fives at Kansas, Active Drivers: Jeff Gordon (8), Greg Biffle (7)
Worst Starting Spot to Win: Brad Keselowski 2011, started No. 25
Races Won from the Pole: 2 of 14
Races Won from Top Five: 6 of 14
Races Won from Top 10: 8 of 14
Victories by manufacturer: Chevrolet (7), Ford (4), Dodge (2), Toyota (1)
Victories by (active) owner: Jack Roush (4), Rick Hendrick (4), Joe Gibbs (2), Penske (2), Stewart Haas (1)
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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