NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Kansas

Kyle Larson added another iconic race to his growing list of victories last weekend when he took his No. 5 to Victory Lane at the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. It was Kyle's first win at Darlington, his third of the season, and the 22nd in his Cup Series career. The victory was also the 500th for the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop across all NASCAR touring series. Kyle becomes the first driver to move to the next round of the Playoffs. And guess what? Kyle is not too shabby at Kansas Speedway.

This Week's Pick Strategy: While I don't think we'll have a Toyota 1-2-3 finish like last year, I'm counting on the Toyotas to be fast this weekend. I also think we can expect Hendrick Motorsports to continue to keep the heat on the field. All four Hendrick teams have been strong at Kansas. I am going to hedge my bets and do a Toyota-Hendrick mix this week and look at some non-Playoff drivers like Erik Jones who are completely capable of spoiling the Playoff party.

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Races):
By Race
Martin Truex Jr. - 5 
Both with 4 - Chase Elliott and William Byron
All with 3 - Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, Joey Logano,
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney

By Track (2018-2023)
Martin Truex Jr. - 10
All with 7 - Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and William Byron 
All with 6 - Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch
All with 5 - Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Erik Jones 

Last Year's Pole Winner: Tyler Reddick
Last Year's Race Winner: Bubba Wallace

The Likely Suspects:
My Kansas go-tos are Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin,  Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Martin Truex Jr. My next picks are Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, and Brad Keselowski. I will complete my roster with Ty Gibbs and Cole Custer.

My Final Four: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Ty Gibbs.
Second-Look Driver: My sleeper pick this week is Alex Bowman, who really runs well at Kansas. He may not be in the Playoffs, but he can certainly show the field that he hasn't forgotten how to race and to win. Alex didn't didn't get to race here earlier in the year due to his injury, but in previous 10 races at Kansas, he earned three Top 5s, six Top 10s (tied for fourth-most), and had an 8.33 average finish (fifth-best). In addition, he led 183 laps (sixth-most), and earned 305 points, the eighth-most.

Points to Ponder: 
  • Four manufacturers have won poles at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series led by Chevrolet with 13 poles, followed by Ford (nine), Toyota (five) and Dodge (four).
  • Nine of the 35 NASCAR Cup Series races have been won from the front row (25.7%). 
  • Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are tied with for the most NASCAR Cup Series wins at Kansas Speedway with eight victories each. 
  • Four manufacturers have won at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Chevrolet with 13 victories, followed by Toyota with 11. 
  • Nine of the 18 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas Speedway winners are active this weekend: Denny Hamlin with four wins; Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick with three each; Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. with two each. Bubba Wallace, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott each have one win at Kansas. 
  • Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway with five. (2014, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2021). 
  • Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin lead the NASCAR Cup Series in top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway with 12 each.
  • Among active drivers this weekend, Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Top 10s at Kansas Speedway with 19. Harvick also leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway in average finishing position with a 9.914. as well as in laps led at Kansas Speedway with 949 laps led in 35 starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your final picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, September 10th.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Kansas NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Kansas Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Saturday, September 09, 2023 Rating: 5