Kansas Speedway is the site of this week’s Thursday night NASCAR Cup Series race, and for those of you getting sick of 1.5-mile races, I have some good news for you: we have seven scheduled races in August and zero of them are at 1.5-mile tracks. As far as Kansas goes, it compares to your typical low wear tracks. We’ve raced at Las Vegas, Charlotte, Kentucky, and Texas this year. Goodyear is bringing the same left side tire that was used to Charlotte and the same right sides as Texas, Kentucky, and Las Vegas. The one difference we have at Kansas is that the high groove should come into play. Still, like we’ve seen the last couple of weeks, a good DraftKings day is going to come down to nailing the dominators and hoping the rest of your lineup has good track position at the end.
This is something new I’m trying this week. Let me know if you like it. If you throw my Projections for Kansas into an optimizer and let it make 100 lineups, these are the core drivers that it uses most of the time:
- Kevin Harvick
- Ryan Blaney
- Kurt Busch
- Aric Almirola
I don’t hate that as a cash core. Of course, taking the pole sitter and the guys starting 3rd and 4th is risky, especially when we have Harvick on the pole, who could absolutely dominate this race. So in addition to that core I don’t mind switching Almirola to Reddick just to play it a little bit on the safer side. With that being said, Almirola has put up 29.75 and 50 DraftKings dominator points over the last two races, both at 1.5-mile tracks.
As always, I would recommend checking out my DraftKings Projections article for Kansas in conjunction with this one. Click here to get to the Projections article for Kanas.
Driver-by-Driver Breakdown for the Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas
- Kevin Harvick ($11,500) – 81.8 projected FPTS
– It’s not a question of if Kevin Harvick is going to dominate, it’s how much. Harv is averaging 22.6 dominator points per race on 1.5-mile tracks this season, and that’s with zero poles. At Kansas specifically, he’s average 41.3 fastest laps per race over the last four and he’s led 76+ laps in three of those events. Harvick has also finished 1st or 2nd in eight of the last ten Stages here. You can go underweight on him as a contrarian play but it’s more than likely Harvick scores the most DraftKings FPTS on Thursday night.
- Joey Logano ($9,300) – 47.4 projected FPTS
– There’s definitely some dominator potential here for Logano if he can get around Harvick and stay ahead of Almirola and Blaney, but with him starting 2nd, he’s going to need those dominator points to make it into the optimal lineup. What I don’t like is how Logano is only averaging 8.4 fastest laps per race on low wear 1.5-mile tracks. His average finish on them is a solid 7.8 but, once again, starting 2nd doesn’t help him in DraftKings. I’ll be undweight.
- Aric Almirola ($8,700) – 49.5 projected FPTS
– Over the last two weeks, Almirola has scored 79.75 DraftKings FPTS and 136.75 total FPTS. As I mentioned in the opening, my projections are still putting Aric around 50 FPTS scored on Thursday night, which is impressive considering his 3rd-place starting spot. He’s definitely a good play in tournaments but cash lineups I’d probably take the safer route with Reddick. Here at Kansas, Almirola has four finishes of 12th or better in the last four races, and now he’s running better than ever.
- Ryan Blaney ($9,900) – 70.5 projected FPTS
– Blaney continues being the fastest guy on 1.5-mile tracks, especially the low wear venues. He has five finishes of 7th or better in ten starts here at Kansas, and that’s even more impressive when you realize four of them were when he was driving the Wood Brothers Ford. YRB is a great pick on Thursday night but will also be highly owned. My contrarian brain likes being underweight on Blaney in large entry contests.
- Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,600) – 56.9 projected FPTS
– Nobody has a better average finish (5.7) over the last six races at Kansas than Martin Truex, Jr., and a big part of that was his two wins here during the 2017 season. On the low wear 1.5-mile tracks this season, he’s average 20.2 dominator FPTS per race but surprisingly only has one top 5 finish. I like being overweight on Truex Thursday night as a pivot off of Harvick or Blaney.
- Alex Bowman ($8,500) – 30.7 projected FPTS
– Bowman is an interesting play this week. He just fades in every single race, but you never know when he’s going to dominate. I’m really starting to question whether Greg Ives knows how to keep up with adjustments. As far as dominating potential, Bowman put up a combined 93.75 dominator FPTS in those two races, but ended up finishing 19th and 31st. I’ll have some Bowman exposure on Thursday night but I’m limiting it to under 10%.
- Brad Keselowski ($9,500) – 45.0 projected FPTS
– BK won the first race at Kansas last year but only led 12 laps. Additionally, he’s never had a driver rating better than 108 here since the 2015 season, and only two of the last eight Kansas races saw Kez get a driver rating in the triple digits. Still, Brad is averaging a finish of 6.6 on the low wear 1.5-mile tracks, and his off-sequence pit strategies could get the #2 Ford out front for a while. Kez is worth having 15-20% exposure.
- Kyle Busch ($9,700) – 52.3 projected FPTS
– For the last eight races, Rowdy has been alternating good finish with bad finish, and if that continues here on Thursday night, fantasy owners are going to be disappointed. However, I like that we have these three 1.5-mile races in a row since “Kyle can’t win without practice.” He has top 5 potential at Kansas.
- Kurt Busch ($8,000) – 45.3 projected FPTS
– Probably one of my favorite non-dominator plays of this slate. Kurt is just solid this season and has finished 8th or better in all of the low wear 1.5-mile races since the break. Additionally, Busch is usually good for about 10 fastest laps per race. Here at Kansas, he’s finished 8th or better in four of the last five events. At his DraftKings price, I love the play. I’ll be overweight for sure.
- Denny Hamlin ($10,200) – 44.5 projected FPTS
– Denny probably isn’t going to dominate on Thursday night, but he could finish top 5 so he deserves some exposure. What I really don’t like is how he’s not putting up any fastest laps on low wear 1.5-mile tracks this season, and he also only has one good finish in five races (2nd at Charlotte). Denny won the last time we were here at Kansas, though, so you can’t discount that… I’ll still likely be underweight.
- Chase Elliott ($11,000) – 53.8 projected FPTS
– I think Elliott is a great driver to be overweight on on Thursday night simply because it’s really hard to fit both Harvick and him into a lineup. In other words, I like pivoting off of Harvick to Elliott for some lineups. Chase has finished 4th or better in four of the last five Kansas races and that includes his win here in 2018. My biggest concern is how this #9 Chevrolet has lost some speed recently, but to be fair, the last five or so tracks haven’t been Elliott’s best…
- Matt DiBenedetto ($7,700) – 34.3 projected FPTS
– Another guy I like being overweight on. DiBenedetto has an average finish of 11th on the low wear 1.5-mile tracks this year and. he had a great race going at Texas on Sunday until Quin Houff pulled a Quin Houff. Additionally, this #21 Wood Brothers Ford has a 6th-place finish here at Kansas with Paul Menard in 2018, while Ryan Blaney piloted it to four top 10s five races here from 2015 through 2017.
- Chris Buescher ($5,900) – 24.3 projected FPTS
– Buescher caught my eye last week at Texas–I think he had legitimate top 10 speed–and even though he’s starting way too high at Kansas for me too be too heavy on him, I do like being overweight here. Buescher has also finished 13th, 10th, 16th, 34th, and 6th in his last five starts at this track. An 11th-place finish like he pulled at Charlotte this year would probably but Buescher in the optimal lineup Thursday night.
- Matt Kenseth ($6,900) – 15.1 projected FPTS
– There’s no doubt that Matt Kenseth is getting faster as the season goes on, but his 18th-place finish at Texas is still his best result on a low wear 1.5-mile track this season. The last two races have seen the $6,900 driver in victory lane but I doubt that happens at Kansas. Kenseth will be super low owned for me.
- William Byron ($7,800) – 27.2 projected FPTS
– The projections aren’t great for Byron this race, mainly because he hasn’t finished better than 11th at a low wear 1.5-mile track, but I don’t mind throwing him in a few lineups if you want to avoid the Reddick chalk or something. Byron has shown plenty of speed on 1.5-milers this year, he just needs to finish. Maybe the substitute crew chief will bring some good luck to this team? Byron finished 5th here at Kansas last fall. He’s worth having up to 20% exposure in my opinion.
- Austin Dillon ($7,200) – 35.8 projected FPTS
– Last week’s winner is a safe option this week at Kansas, although it’s worth noting he has just one finish better than 14th in the last six races at this track. Still, Austin has an average finish of 8.2 on the 1.5-mile low wear tracks this season, plus he has that #1 pit stall, which is a little advantage. Dillon won’t be one of my highest-owned drivers like he was at Texas, but I’ll probably have about 30% exposure.
- Bubba Wallace ($6,300) – 16.2 projected FPTS
Bubba’s low price this week makes him an option but his starting spot is obviously higher than we want. We did see the #43 Chevrolet finish 14th at Texas on Sunday, though, so if Bubba can pull that off again he’ll be worth it. Unfortunately his races here at Kansas have ended with him in 35th, 29th, 26th, and 23rd. I’ll probably be around 5-10% exposure.
- Ryan Newman ($6,600) – 16.8 projected FPTS
– I actually don’t hate Newman this week even though his projected FPTS are low. Over the last three low wear 1.5-mile races he’s finished between 13th and 17th each time, and that’s good enough to take a risk on at a $6,600 salary. With that being said, Newman has issues here quite frequently at Kansas, with five of the last six races ending with him outside of the top 20. I’m looking at like 15% for The Rocketman on Thursday night.
- Clint Bowyer ($7,500) – 36.8 projected FPTS
– Clint Bowyer still doesn’t have a top 10 finish on a 1.5-mile track this year but he came close at Texas on Sunday with an 11th. Here at Kansas (his home track) Bowyer has back-to-back top 10s and five top 15s in the last six races. He’s definitely worth having at least 20% exposure at that low salary.
- Jimmie Johnson ($8,900) – 38.8 projected FPTS
– What sucks about Jimmie Johnson is that he probably had one of the fastest cars at Texas on Sunday before the wreck. If the #48 team brings a hot rod like that here on Thursday night, we could see another top 5 out of him, like at Las Vegas and Charlotte this year. I’m all on board with being overweight on Johnson this race.
- Erik Jones ($9,000) – 42.1 projected FPTS
– Jones will be a great pick this week as long as he doesn’t put the #20 Toyota into the fence. The last four Kansas races have all ended with Erik in 7th or better, and he’s coming off of that 6th-place finish at Texas on Sunday. If you don’t want to be overweight on Johnson, Jones is a great option as well.
- Christopher Bell ($8,100) – 34.6 projected FPTS
– A safe play in cash games for sure. We’ve seen Bell challenge for top 10s on 1.5-mile tracks this season. He’s an obvious pivot off of Reddick.
- Tyler Reddick ($8,300) – 45.1 projected FPTS
– Speaking of which, Tyler Reddick now has an average finish of 10.6 on low wear 1.5-mile tracks. He also finished 9th here at Kansas last year driving the #31 Chevrolet. He’s likely to have a good chunk of ownership on Thursday night but Reddick has legitimate top 10 potential.
- Cole Custer ($7,300) – 28.9 projected FPTS
– Cole Custer should be good for a top 20 finish on Thursday night but could sneak in to the high teens. At $7,300, he’s kind of in that weird price range where he doesn’t fit great in to lineups. I’ll likely be underweight on Custer because of that.
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,000) – 33.5 projected FPTS
– Stenhouse has been Jekyll and Hyde on 1.5-mile tracks this season, with top 5s at Las Vegas and Charlotte-2 and then finishes of 25th or worse in the other three. He’s ran well here at Kansas in the last, with three 11th-place finishes in the last six races, so I don’t mind having about 20% Stenhouse on Thursday night.
- Garrett Smithley ($4,600) – 05.6 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Michael McDowell ($6,200) – 26.6 projected FPTS
– McDowell isn’t getting enough credit for having the year he is. Did you know his average finish in 2020 is 19.4? He’s also finished 18th or better in nine of the last 14 Cup Series races since the return from the COVID break. I’ll be overweight on McDowell like I usually am…
- JJ Yeley ($5,300) – 11.6 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Brennan Poole ($5,200) – 10.2 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- John Hunter Nemechek ($6,800) – 23.0 projected FPTS
– DraftKings priced Nemechek way too high this week, but with finished of 17th and 13th at Charlotte, you have to have some exposure here. I’ll probably be at about 10%.
- Corey LaJoie ($5,700) – 23.8 projected FPTS
– I love being overweight on LaJoie this week. Looking at low wear 1.5-mile tracks, he’s finished 19th or better in three of the five races with the others being a 24th at Charlotte and a 28th at Kentucky (after issues). I could see LaJoie earning 30+ FPTS on Thursday night, which is obviously a great value at his salary.
- Quin Houff ($4,500) – 10.0 projected FPTS
– DraftKings dropped Houff’s salary down to the lowest on the slate and you have to wonder if it’s because of that absolutely ridiculous, idiotic move he pulled at Texas. I’d like to think so, that’d be funny. But anyway, Houff is a full fade.
- Josh Bilicki ($4,700) – 12.2 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Joey Gase ($4,800) – 08.4 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Ryan Preece ($5,800) – 19.8 projected FPTS
– Preece is likely a top 25 car on Thursday night so with him starting 35th he’s obviously a safe cash option. I still like being underweight on him in tournaments, though, especially considering he’s finished 37th or worse in three of the five low wear 1.5-mile races. My projections have him at 19.8 FPTS but in all honesty he’s probably going to be closer to 25.
- Ty Dillon ($6,500) – 26.4 projected FPTS
– I also like being underweight on Ty Dillon, but not a ton. This #13 Chevrolet isn’t running as well this season, and Ty has an average Green Flag Speed ranking of 27th on the low wear 1.5-mile tracks. With that being said, Dillon’s average finish on them is 22.8, which is obviously solid for a guy starting 36th.
- Daniel Suarez ($6,100) – 26.6 projected FPTS
– I actually don’t entirely hate Suarez at this price point this week. He’s finished 26th and 23rd in the last two races, and he’s got a very low floor thanks to the 37th-place starting spot. I’ll likely have 10-15% exposure.
- Timmy Hill ($4,900) – 08.4 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Reed Sorenson ($5,500) – 19.0 projected FPTS
– I don’t hate having like 5% Sorenson exposure Thursday night. This #7 car has finished 28th and 25th in its last two starts (Texas and Indianapolis). If you’re trying. to load up two high-dollar guys, Sorenson can save you some cap.
- BJ McLeod ($5,000) – 10.8 projected FPTS
– Full fade.