We’re back at a “bread and butter” racetrack this weekend, as Kansas Speedway plays host to Elimination Race #2 of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on Sunday. Kansas is your typical 1.5-mile tri-oval track, which is good news for data nerds because this will be the 9th time this season we’ve raced at a track like this (and second time at Kansas). I put together a 1.5-mile track Cheat Sheet to use this weekend, as well as a DraftKings Preview article where I published the average number of DraftKings points scored by driver on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. Be sure to check both of them out. As far as the race goes on Sunday, the Hollywood Casino 400 is set to be 267 laps and we currently have Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, and Alex Bowman on the outside looking in as far as Playoff Elimination goes. Can one of those guys get up there and take the checkered flag on Sunday? That’s probably what it’s going to take to keep their Playoff hopes alive!

Talkin’ DraftKings Strategy for Kansas 2

GPP Drivers I Love For The Kansas 2 Hollywood Casino 400

Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

Kurt Busch ($8,900) – The one statistic to point out about Kurt Busch when it comes to 1.5-mile race tracks is his average running position. After eight races on this track type in 2018, Kurt has an average running position of 7.8, which is 3rd-best behind Kyle Busch (6.0) and Joey Logano (7.4). So why doesn’t the elder Busch brother get more attention when we visit these tracks? Because his average finish at them is 13.8–a full six spots below his average running position. You can blame this on a variety of things, but the fact of the matter is that even though he’s not finishing the best at these tracks, the #41 Ford is running well. As far as this weekend goes, Kurt starts 11th for the Hollywood Casino 400 but has plenty of speed to challenge for a top 5. He was fastest in Happy Hour with the 3rd-best ten-lap average, and Kurt has also finished 8th or better in five of his last seven Kansas starts. And with so much attention on Ryan Blaney ($8,700) and Aric Almirola ($8,100) as potential contrarian dominators on Sunday, I think Kurt Busch may end up being overlooked by many. He makes a great place differential/finish play alongside likely dominator (and teammate) Kevin Harvick. 

Joey Logano ($8,500) – With Kevin Harvick ($12,300) starting 2nd and looking to have a dominant car for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, I think there’s a good chance that Joey Logano’s ownership percentage stays relatively low (mid-teens). And being the pole sitter and having Harvick right there to start is definitely a risky play, but I like being overweight on Logano this weekend. Joey is a two-time winner at this race track and also has seven top 5 finishes in the last ten Kansas races overall. And, yes, Harvick has a good car to work with, but the #22 Ford isn’t too shabby; Logano ranked 6th in ten-lap average during the Happy Hour practice on Saturday and ended up 7th-best in overall average speed despite running the most laps (67). That tells me that there’s a ton of speed in that #22 Ford. Finally, I like how the Penske cars ran at Las Vegas 2 last month, with Keselowski winning and him and Logano combining to lead 121 of the 272 laps. Logano is under-priced this weekend and has dominator potential. It may seem like a chalky pick but like I said before, I think many people are going to be leaning very heavily on Harvick.

Paul Menard Darlington Throwback 2018 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NKP

Paul Menard ($7,200) – The #21 Ford is a legitimate top 10 threat on Sunday. Menard’s team tweeted out that they just “missed it” in qualifying, although that works well for us DraftKings players because Paul now has decent place differential potential by starting in 18th. Overall, Menard has an average finish of 13.8 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season (tied for 9th-best in the series), and here at Kansas he’s finished 6th and 12th in the last two races. With Menard’s semi-high price this weekend, I think there is a good possibility that he goes under-owned in the GPPs, so I like being overweight on him for the Hollywood Casino 400. Menard is averaging 29.3 DraftKings points per race on this track type in 2018, which is 14th-best in the series. One reason that number isn’t higher is because of his qualifying efforts, though, as Paul has an average start of 12.3 on the 1.5-milers. He’ll get a handful of place differential fantasy points this weekend. 

David Ragan ($5,700) – There are some really good DraftKings players here in this price range, but from a DraftKings perspective I like David Ragan the best. The reason? He qualified 28th for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 and hasn’t really shown a lot of speed in the practice sessions. That second part isn’t ideal, but at the same time, it should keep Ragan’s ownership percentage relatively low. As far as the 1.5-mile tracks go this season, Ragan has an average finish of 23.8 on this track type in 2018, but I think he’ll end up closer to 20th here on Sunday. He’s finished 13th, 17th, and 17th in the three Kansas races he’s ran with Front Row Motorsports equipment over the last year and a half. 

PLEASE NOTE: I mentioned in the video that I won’t be too heavy on Austin Dillon ($6,800) this weekend, but that thought has changed. I think he’ll be under-owned and I like him as a pivot off of Paul Menard. Austin has finished between 6th and 17th in each of the last five Kansas races, and he’s finished between 6th and 17th in four of the last five Cup Series races overall. I like that type of momentum and consistency.

GPP Fades For The Kansas 2 Hollywood Casino 400

Chase Elliott Jimmie Johnson Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Chase Elliott ($9,900) – Here’s a stat that will probably surprise you: Chase Elliott has ONE top 10 finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Yes, one, and it was at Atlanta back in February, which is more of a driver’s track than an equipment track. As far as his record here at Kansas goes, Chase finished 4th in this race one year ago, but that is his only result better than 9th in five career Cup Series starts here. Additionally, Elliott only posted 4 fastest laps in that race last season, so it was barely a great race for him. As far as this weekend goes, Chase will start 13th for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, and at first glance that looks like a great play from a place differential standpoint. At $9,900, though? I don’t think so. The #9 Chevrolet wasn’t overly impressive on the ten-lap average charts on Saturday, and even though Chase did end Happy Hour with the best overall average finish, that was mainly due to the fact that he only ran 32 laps thanks to a 15-minute penalty he had to serve. I’d much rather roll with one of the Stewart-Haas Fords priced under $10,000 than Elliott on Sunday.

Erik Jones ($9,300) – Erik Jones has been one of the most solid finishers on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. His average finish in the eight races at them is 12.8, which is good enough for 8th-best in the series, and when you take out his worst result, that average finish jumps up to 8.7–one of just seven drivers to post a single-digit adjusted average. And this weekend, the #20 Toyota has looked stout, as Jones qualified 6th and had the best overall average speed in Practice #2 on Saturday morning. He also ranked 2nd-best in overall average in Happy Hour with the 5th-best ten-lap average and 4th-best 15-lap average. I’m not buying it, though. From a DraftKings perspective, I need a driver starting in the first three rows to get some dominator points, and there are simply too many other cars that have a better chance than Jones of doing that on Sunday–not even taking into account Erik’s inflated salary of $9,300. Really we’ve only see Jones post significant dominator points at a 1.5-mile track once this season, and that was that out-of-left-field race at Texas. I like Jones purely as a finisher on Sunday, but he’s not a good play in DraftKings at all.

DraftKings Driver Point Projections for Kansas 2

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems, using both mathematical equations as well as personal rankings. This chart also includes the average projected base + laps led + fastest laps DraftKings FPTS as well as the dollar per FPT. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSStarting PositionAvg. Projected FinishProj Laps LedProj Fastest LapsDollar Per FPT
Kevin Harvick$12,30086.3202.07448$143
Kyle Busch$11,80078.0701.44633$151
Kyle Larson$11,50064.02708.0615$180
Martin Truex Jr$10,80062.11204.62518$174
Joey Logano$8,50058.8104.44024$145
Brad Keselowski$10,50053.5504.82216$196
Clint Bowyer$9,60047.51408.049$202
Ryan Blaney$8,70046.1406.61316$189
Kurt Busch$8,90043.21107.836$206
Aric Almirola$8,10042.1308.21615$192
Jimmie Johnson$8,30041.02213.002$202
Erik Jones$9,30040.9608.2119$228
Chase Elliott$9,90040.11310.656$247
Paul Menard$7,20037.11813.203$194
Denny Hamlin$9,10033.1911.224$275
Austin Dillon$6,80028.22319.400$241
Ryan Newman$7,40026.41616.800$280
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,70024.71517.401$271
Trevor Bayne$6,50024.21919.400$269
Chris Buescher$6,10023.82120.600$256
David Ragan$5,70023.62824.200$242
Alex Bowman$7,60022.91015.801$332
Bubba Wallace$5,50022.62925.200$243
Jamie McMurray$7,80022.42020.800$348
Michael McDowell$5,60021.62423.200$259
Corey Lajoie$4,70021.23428.400$222
AJ Allmendinger$6,20020.22524.400$307
Regan Smith$6,30020.02625.000$315
Matt DiBenedetto$5,40019.43127.800$278
Ty Dillon$5,90019.23027.400$307
Ross Chastain$5,30018.43228.800$288
William Byron$7,00017.61722.202$398
Daniel Suarez$7,90015.4818.802$513
Landon Cassill$5,20015.43531.800$338
Jeffrey Earnhardt$5,10014.63331.200$349
Kyle Weatherman$4,80014.23733.400$338
Reed Sorenson$4,90013.83934.600$355
JJ Yeley$5,00013.63633.200$368
Timmy Hill$4,50011.24036.400$402
BJ McLeod$4,60009.23836.400$500

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.