Wednesday, May 9, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 4 - Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski
Both with 3 - Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson

By Track
Kevin Harvick - 7
All with 6 - Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano
All with 5 -  Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch  

Recent Pole Winners:  
2017 Ryan Blaney
2016 Martin Truex Jr.

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects: Although Kansas is very different from Dover, remarkably they share many of the same elite drivers. I expect these drivers to run well this week: Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: This weekend Matt Kenseth will make his return to the Monster Energy Cup Series sharing time with Trevor Bayne in the  No. 6 car. I'm not sure what to expect. However this is one of Kenseth's best tracks. My Kansas my no-brainer pick this week is Martin Truex Jr.. My next picks are Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and Ryan Newman. My final picks are Michael McDowell and Chris Buescher.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Daniel Suarez. Last year he finished seventh in this race after starting in 15th. This weekend he'll have something to prove after being hit with a Level 1 penalty after last weekend's race at Dover. Last week's second-look driver Bubba Wallace finished in a disappointing 25th place after starting 26th.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr.,  Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell.

Points to ponder:
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Kansas with six: Jeff Gordon (three: 2001, 2002 and 2014) and Jimmie Johnson (three: 2008, 2011 and 2015).
  • Four manufacturers have won at Kansas Speedway in the MENCS, led by Chevrolet with 11 victories, Ford with six, Toyota has five and Dodge has two.
  • 15 drivers have won Busch Pole Awards at Kansas Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, led by Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne with three each.
  • Nine of the 14 Kansas winners are currently active – Jimmie Johnson (three), Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. (each have two) and Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin (each have one). 
  • Five of the 24 (20.8%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the pole: Joe Nemechek (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2008), Matt Kenseth (spring 2013), Kevin Harvick (Playoffs 2013) and Martin Truex Jr. (Playoffs 2017).  
  • A total of 17 active drivers have finished as runner-up at Kansas Speedway, led by Kevin Harvick with three, followed by Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr and Ryan Newman with two second-place finishes each. 
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. ET on Friday, May 11, and pick your starters by 8 p.m. ET on race day, Saturday, May 12.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

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