NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Kansas closer

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kyle Busch - 5
Joey Logano - 4
All with 3 - Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney

By Track
Kyle Busch - 8
Both with 7 - Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano
Martin Truex Jr. - 6
All with 5 - Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski
All with 4 - Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and Aric Almirola

Recent Pole Winners:  
2018 Joey Logano
2017 Martin Truex Jr.

Last Year's Race Winner:  Chase Elliott

The Likely Suspects: A Kansas Speedway win has eluded many drivers, most notably Kansas native Clint Bowyer. But these drivers run really well here: Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Chase Elliott.

My 2 Cents: Like every race weekend, at the conclusion of Sunday's race there will be one winner and some losers. However, as a playoff elimination race we can expect the results to be much more dramatic with more than a few hurt feelings. My no-brainer pick this week is Martin Truex Jr. My next choices are Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola. If you have any Denny Hamlin starts left, pull Paul Menard and play Denny. I will complete my team with Matt DiBenedetto and Michael McDowell.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, and Michael McDowell.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Chase Elliott. Chase comes into this elimination race needing to score big as he sits in 10th place, risking not advancing into the next playoff round. As the defending winner of this race and with a solid record in Kansas, this could be Chase's opportunity to show if he's ready for a championship. He has four top 10s and three top five finishes in seven starts at Kansas Speedway, including the win last year. He’s finished fourth or better in three of the last four races, leading a combined 89 laps in the last two events.

Last week's second-look driver was Kyle Busch. The race that began on Sunday, but resumed on Monday due to rain, posed lots of challenges for Kyle Busch. He started 26th on the grid and worked his way through the field twice, leading seven laps. He managed to avoid the wrecks except for the one at Lap 181. The race was red-flagged so the No. 18 team had time to make some repairs to the battered M&Ms car and continue racing. The No. 18 ultimately finished the race in 19th place.

Points to Ponder:
  • Kevin Harvick leads the Monster Energy Series in poles at Kansas Speedway with five (fall 2013, 2014 sweep, spring 2018 and spring 2019).
  • Jimmie Johnson (2007-2008) and Kevin Harvick (three-straight: fall of 2013-2014 sweep) are the only two drivers to win consecutive Busch poles at Kansas Speedway.
  • Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. lead the Monster Energy Series in runner-up finishes at Kansas with three second-place finishes each. 
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy Series in Top 5 finishes at Kansas Speedway with nine Top 5s. Jimmie Johnson leads the series in Top 10 finishes at Kansas Speedway with 18 Top10s. 
  • Kevin Harvick (26 starts) leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway with an average finishing position with a 9.692.
  • Kevin Harvick leads the Monster Energy Series in laps led at Kansas Speedway with 855 laps led in 28 starts.

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday October 19th, and your final picks by 2:30 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, October 20th.

Enjoy the race!

Carol D’Agostino wields fantasy-racing superpowers. Each week, Carol researches statistics and combs through her personal racing notes to provide fans with fantasy racing advice in NASCAR Fantasy Fusion, a column she has written for Skirts & Scuffs since October 2011. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. This year she joins the NASCAR Expert Picks panel at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. When she isn’t crunching numbers, you’ll find Carol in business meetings or hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat. 
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Kansas closer NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Kansas closer Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Thursday, October 17, 2019 Rating: 5