Fantasy NASCAR at Kansas 2014: Picks, Top Drivers for Hollywood Casino 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Kansas City, Kansas, this week for the Hollywood Casino 400. The series last raced at Kansas Speedway in a Saturday night race in May.
The three drivers who dominated the last race at Kansas are the same drivers who are running well in the Chase. Kevin Harvick won the pole and led the most laps in the race (sound familiar?). Joey Logano qualified second and led the second-most laps; he finished in fourth place. Jeff Gordon did not have a car that could lead the most laps, but his No. 24 Chevy was fast on the long runs. He chased down Harvick and won the race.
Kansas Speedway was repaved in the summer of 2012. The track has a new smooth surface that provides for fast speeds. This race should come down to a battle between the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers and the two drivers from Penske Racing. The cars from these two teams have proved to be faster than the other cars in the field. Use the drivers from these teams for you fantasy team this week if you can.
Here are my picks for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.
Yahoo Group A Picks
There are many good choices in Group A of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing this week. Although your team may be running out of allocations with Gordon, Harvick and Jimmie Johnson, you should be able to find a good replacement driver this week.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has run well at Kansas in his career. He has never won at the race track, but he has finished both races since the repave in the top 10. Earnhardt will be a good pick for your team this week.
Matt Kenseth has a series-best driver rating and a series-best average finishing position in the last five races at Kansas. He finished No. 11 in this race last year and No. 10 in the race in May. Kenseth should easily finish in the top 10 Sunday.
The sleeper pick this week is Kasey Kahne. In the last race at Kansas, he qualified 17th and finished third. He also led 22 laps in the race. It may be smart to take a chance on Kahne this week in order to catch the leaders in your league.
The driver to avoid this week is Kyle Busch. For some reason, he has horrible luck at Kansas. Busch has not finished inside the top 15 in the last four races at the track. Three of those races resulted in finishes outside the top 30. There are better race tracks to use Busch for your team.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A, with the number of allocations I have left with each driver in parentheses.
Jeff Gordon (1)
Gordon won the last race at Kansas and has a good chance to win again this week. He has been one of the best drivers this season on the intermediate race tracks, finishing seven of the eight races on intermediate race tracks this year in the top 10. Since the race track was repaved, Gordon has finished third and first. If you have any starts left with him, you need to have him on your team this week.
Kevin Harvick (1)
The old saying “the best car does not always win the race” was proved true in the last race at Kansas. Harvick dominated the race but finished second. Gordon’s third- and first-place finishes at Kansas since the race track was repaved are impressive, but they are not as good as Harvick’s stats. Since the track was reconfigured, Harvick has finished second and first with two poles. He is the best pick in the field this week.
Other good choices: Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne
Yahoo Group B Picks
Group B is starting to become a hunt for a diamond in the rough more than it is about predicting the top drivers from this group. It is not hard to figure out that Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano will finish up front Sunday. The problem is there are few teams with allocations left with these two drivers. Finding four drivers without using the Penske Racing drivers will be a challenge the rest of the season.
If you need a sleeper pick this week, Paul Menard is your driver. He has finished in the top 10 in seven races this season on the intermediate tracks. In May, he started No. 16 and finished No. 17. Menard should run better than that this week.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.
Brad Keselowski (1)
My strategy this week is to use Keselowski only for qualifying points. He will run up front in the race and probably finish in the top five, but I need to avoid using my last allocation with arguably the best driver in the series right now. Since Kansas was repaved, he has qualified third and fourth. He will have a good shot at winning the pole for the race Sunday.
Joey Logano (1)
My strategy with Keselowski can also be applied to Logano this week. I would love to use Logano in the race, but I cannot afford to burn my last start with him with six races remaining. He has back-to back fourth-place finishes at Kansas since the race track was repaved. He also qualified for both races in the top five. Do not be surprised to see an all-Penske Racing front row this week.
Carl Edwards (4)
Edwards has not been the best driver in the field, but he has been finishing in the top 15. Fantasy teams are quickly running out of choices in Group B, so a top-15 finish sounds pretty good right now. Kansas is Edwards' home race track, and it is no secret he would love to win a race in front of his home fans. Edwards probably will not win the race, but he also will not hurt your team this week.
Ryan Newman (3)
Newman has finished nine of the last 11 races inside the top 15. That is the kind of consistency you will need from your drivers at this point of the season. Newman has also qualified well lately at the intermediate race tracks, qualifying fourth at Atlanta and second at Chicago. He should start up front and finish near the top 10 Sunday.
Other good choices: Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard
Yahoo Group C Picks
Fantasy teams really need some NASCAR ringers to start making an appearance in the series. Usually this time of year, NASCAR teams begin to run drivers who will make their debut in the series next season. Hopefully this is the week we get to see some of these drivers.
Kyle Larson has been one of the top drivers in the Sprint Cup Series and by far the best driver in Group C. A good strategy is to select him for your team and use him for qualifying points if you have any allocations left.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.
Kyle Larson (1)
Larson has been on my team for five weeks straight, and I have only one allocation left. I cannot afford to use my last start with him. My strategy with Larson is to keep him on the team for qualifying points and use my other selection in the race. Recently, that driver has been Austin Dillon. Larson qualified fifth in his only race at Kansas. I hope he can improve his starting position this week.
Danica Patrick (7)
It is time to start using Patrick on your team. She has been running well lately and has proved that she can consistently finish inside the top 20. Patrick had one of her best races in May at Kansas. She started qualified ninth and finished seventh. If she comes close to those numbers this week, fantasy teams will be happy.
Other Good Choices: Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier
Fantasy Live Picks
The advice for Fantasy Live is to select drivers who start in the back with a chance to move to the front in the race. Since the race is only 267 laps, there will only be 133 bonus available for the race. It will be more important this week to have drivers who finish higher than where they begin the race.
Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Kansas: Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson.
Fox Fantasy Racing
The philosophy for Fantasy Live also applies this week for Fox Fantasy Racing. Your team will be rewarded only one point for leading a lap. It will be more important to take a chance with drivers who start in the back. If any of the Chase drivers start outside the top 15, make sure he is on your team this week.
Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for the race at Kansas.
Captain: Matt Kenseth
Driver 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Driver 3: Tony Stewart
Driver 4: Carl Edwards
Driver 5: Kasey Kahne
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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