We’re down to three races left in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, and we continue the Round of 8 with the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon…hopefully. The mid-week forecast showed some possible showers for Sunday but maybe NASCAR will get lucky and won’t have to deal with any weather delays come race day. That’s definitely something to keep an eye on, though, so make sure you’re paying attention. Kansas is a “low-wear” 1.5-mile track similar to Texas last weekend, so we’re basically targeting a lot of the same drivers.

*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*

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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas

The Safe

Kyle Larson ($12,500) – Yeah, there’s the whole narrative of Kyle Larson maybe not racing as hard this weekend (RotoDoc and I discussed why that’s dumb on the podcast), but the fact of the matter is that this #5 Chevrolet is ridiculously fast on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this season, and if you take away the ridiculous outside maybes and what ifs, Larson is the clear favorite on Sunday. In the five races on similar tracks this season, Larson has led a ridiculous 913 laps and has won three of them. He dominated here at Kansas back in May and should do the same thing here on Sunday.

Denny Hamlin ($12,400) – Just like last weekend, I think this race comes down to Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin. The driver that starts the furthest back between those three is Hamlin, and while he doesn’t offer a ton of place differential upside (he starts 6th), a little bit is better than none. Dennis is a three-time Kansas winner and won this particular race back in 2019 in dominating fashion. He’s also led 57 or more laps in three of his last four starts at this track. This season, Hamlin has the 4th-best average running position (6.9–nice) on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks and ranks 4th in that statistic in the 550hp package races as well.


William Byron ($11,500) – William Byron was on the “Risky” list of picks for the Texas race last week, but he quickly showed why he’s really not that risky of a pick at all. The #24 Chevrolet has been one of the best cars on the intermediate tracks all season long, and there’s no reason to think that will change on Sunday. On the five “low-wear” 1.5-mile track races this year, Byron has the 2nd-best average running position (6.2) and the 6th-best average finish (8.2). He’ll start from 9th here at Kansas on Sunday and should have enough speed to run top 5 all day long. Willy B has finished 9th, 8th, 10th, and 5th in his last four starts at this track.

The Risky

Ryan Blaney ($10,900) – There are two reasons why Ryan Blaney is a somewhat risky pick in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this weekend. First, he starts 2nd, which is risky enough due to the potential for negative place differential points, but also the fact that Kyle Larson is on the pole, so it’s going to be difficult for Blaney to possibly pick up the bonus fantasy points for most laps led. Additionally, YRB has a hard time finishing races here at Kansas. Since moving over to Team Penske, Blaney has zero top 5s and only two top 10s in seven starts. With that being said, he’s finished 4th or better in 9 of the 14 Stage breaks, so it’s not like he hasn’t had a fast car. If nothing wild happens here at Kansas on Sunday, I’m expecting a similar race to Texas for the #12 Ford: top 5 in both Stages and then contend for a top 5 finish at the checkered flag as well.

Alex Bowman ($10,400) – Alex Bowman probably seems like a slam dunk Slingshot play this weekend since he starts back in 25th. And yes, the potential for a huge points day in this game from Bowman is there, but it’s nowhere near guaranteed. Let’s take a look at AB’s finishes on “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this season: 27th in the first Vegas race, 18th in the first Kansas race, 5th at Charlotte, 22nd in the second Vegas race, and 33rd at Texas last week. A lot of bad luck? Absolutely. Could it strike again on Sunday? I don’t see why not. With that being said, Bowman has five finishes of 9th or better in the last eight races here at Kansas Speedway along with two 18th-place finishes and an 11th. It’s hard to bet against a Hendrick car at a 1.5-mile track this season but if I was going to bet against any of the four it would be Bowman…

Tyler Reddick ($9,200) – Last week at Texas, we saw the potential for a top 5 finish out of Tyler Reddick, and then we saw why he often times doesn’t get those good finishes: he ended up driving over his head. Still, Reddick has been very solid on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this season, with only one finish outside of the top 9 over the five races. Here at Kansas, Reddick has a pair of top 10 finishes in his four career Cup Series starts, one of which was his career-best 7th-place finish here back in the May race. This #8 team has been bringing very fast race cars to the track week in and week out over the last month so don’t be surprised if Reddick challenges for a solid finish yet again this weekend.

The Winner

“Race Winner” Pick = Kyle Busch The Algorithm says it’s going to be Kyle Larson again, but I’m going to do what I did last week and roll with my Winner Pick from the Stacking Dennys podcast. This weekend that driver is Kyle Busch. At Texas, Joe Gibbs Racing was off as a whole, but I don’t think that will happen here at Kansas on Sunday. Looking at “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this year, Rowdy has the best average finish (3.6) and the 3rd-best average running position (6.6). He should be a contender and I think he pulls off the Kansas sweep this weekend.

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.