Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Sprint Cup Series at Kansas

Chad Robb@@MrFantasyNASCARCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2013

Apr 21, 2013; Kansas City, KS, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth (20) crosses the finish line to win the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head back to Kansas this week for the Hollywood Casino 400.

The last race at Kansas in April was dominated by Matt Kenseth. He started on the pole and led 163 of the 267 laps on his way to Victory Lane. Kenseth must be on every team this week.

If you are looking for a sleeper pick for your team this week, look no further than Kansas native Clint Bowyer. He finished fifth at Kansas in the spring race and sixth in this race last year. He desperately needs a win to move up in the Chase standings, and a win at his home race track would be a dream come true.

Kansas is a 1.5-mile tri-oval race track. The drivers who performed well this year on the “cookie-cutter” race tracks (Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Kentucky, Las Vegas and Texas) will perform well this week.

Here are my top 25 picks and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon the driver’s career statistics at the Kansas. If your fantasy team no longer has any allocations with my selections for Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, simply select the next driver on the list for your team this week.

Racing for the Win

1. Matt Kenseth is the hottest driver in the sport right now. He leads the Chase standings, has won four of the seven races on the tri-oval race tracks this year and he won the race at Kansas in April. He should be on every fantasy team this week.

2. Kyle Busch has been just as good as his teammate, Matt Kenseth, on the race tracks similar to Kansas when he avoids bad luck. Busch won the races at Texas and Atlanta, finished fourth at Las Vegas, fifth at Kentucky and second at Chicago. Busch had engine trouble in the last race at Kansas. That will not happen again.

3. Jimmie Johnson is much better at the flat race tracks than he is on the tri-ovals this season. That does not mean he should not be on your team. Johnson has finished in the top 10 in five of the seven races on tri-oval race tracks this season. Coming off a win last week at Dover, Johnson is starting to build momentum for a run at his sixth Sprint Cup Championship.

4. Martin Truex Jr. is a great sleeper pick this week. Kansas is his best race track on the circuit. Truex finished both races at the race track in second place last year and he finished fourth in the April race. This is the week to have Truex in your lineup.

5. Kevin Harvick has the third-best average finish on the tri-oval race tracks this season. He won the race at Charlotte and will contend for the win Sunday. He would be a great selection for your fantasy team if you do not have any starts left with Matt Kenseth or Jimmie Johnson.

6. Clint Bowyer would love to get a win at his home race track. He has finished three of the last four races at Kansas in the top 10. The only race he finished outside the top 10 came last year when he had engine problems. He was running up front in that race as well. Bowyer will easily finish in the top 10 this week. 

7. Kasey Kahne has the third-best average finish on tri-oval race tracks this season, but his races are either feast or famine. He has three second-place finishes and four finishes outside the top 10 on the tri-oval. Expect Kahne to finish in the top 10 Sunday.

8. Brad Keselowski has been one of the best drivers in the series at Kansas. In the last five races at the race track, his worst finish is 11th. Keselowski will easily finish in the top 10 this week.

9. Kurt Busch has been fast everywhere he has raced this season. Sunday will be no different. Busch should qualify up front and finish in the top 10. That is the type of driver he has been on the tri-oval race tracks this season.

10. Jeff Gordon started out the season with horrible results on the tri-oval race tracks. He finished the first four races outside the top 10. In the last three races at tri-oval race tracks, Gordon has finished each race inside the top 10. He will make it four in a row Sunday.

Don’t Overlook

11. Joey Logano could easily surprise people and win the race this week. He came so close to winning at Atlanta and finished three other races on the tri-oval race tracks in the top five. Logano is not on the hot streak he was in the summer. Expect him to just miss a top-10 finish at Kansas.

12. Carl Edwards is usually very good on the tri-oval race tracks, but that is not the case this season. Edwards has two top-five finishes and five finishes outside the top 10 on the cookie-cutter race tracks this season. He needs a good finish to climb the Chase standings, so look for Edwards to run well on Sunday.

13. Jamie McMurray has been running in the top 15 the last month of the season. He would be a great sleeper pick this week in Kansas. Expect another top-15 finish from McMurray this week.

14. Ryan Newman’s average finishing position on the tri-oval race tracks this season is 13.6. He runs well in some races and poorly in others. He will finish near his average Sunday.

15. Marcos Ambrose has a streak of finishing four consecutive races on the tri-oval race tracks in the top 15. He will extend his streak to five straight races in the race this week.

16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has struggled on the tri-oval race tracks this season. His average finishing position is 20.8 and he only finished two of the seven races inside the top 10. Expect a top-20 finish from Earnhardt on Sunday.

17. Greg Biffle has finished one of the seven races on tri-oval race tracks this season inside the top 15. Biffle cannot be that bad again this week, can he? He will finish inside the top 20 at Kansas.

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is starting to improve with each race in his rookie season. His last race at a tri-oval was his best finish of the season. Stenhouse finished eighth at Chicago. He will not be that good this week, but he is a good selection for all fantasy leagues based upon his price.

19. Aric Almirola would be a good driver to choose for your team if you want to take a chance this week. Almirola has five finishes on the tri-oval race tracks inside the top 16. He also has two finishes outside the top 20. Almirola is a good sleeper pick this week.

20. Mark Martin has been a top 20 driver this season, but not much better. His average finishing position on the tri-ovals this season is 18.8. Look for Martin to finish near his average this week.

Trying to Stay on Lead Lap

21. Brian Vickers is better on the short race tracks than he is on the tri-oval race tracks. In his five races on the tri-ovals this season, Vickers has an average finish of 23.6. Expect a top-25 finish from Vickers on Sunday.  

22. Paul Menard started the season with two straight top-10 finishes on the tri-oval race tracks this season. He has finished four of the last five races outside the top 15. Menard will run in the top 25 this week.

23. Jeff Burton has an average finishing position of 20.8 on the tri-oval race tracks this season. Kansas is not one of Burton’s favorite race tracks. There are better places to use him this season.

24. Denny Hamlin is still dealing with his back problems and it is affecting the way he drives the car. Wait until next season to put Hamlin back on your fantasy team.

25. Juan Pablo Montoya is trying to score a win on an oval race track before he leaves the series. It will not happen this week.

Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Picks

Group A: Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson

Group B: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Joey Logano

Group C: A.J. Allmendinger, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fantasy Live Picks

Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, A.J. Allmendinger, Josh Wise

If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR

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