Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:49 AM
Kansas 400 Picks, Predictions, Odds
- July 21
- by Micah Roberts
NASCAR Cup Series
Super Start Batteries 400
- Race: Super Start Batteries 400
- Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020
- TV-Time: NBCSN, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Venue: Kansas Speedway
- Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Kevin Harvick is leading the NASCAR Cup Series in just about every category halfway through the 2020 season and heads to Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile layout for Thursday night’s Super Start Batteries 400 where he owns almost every track record with three wins and 825 laps led. Only he, Ryan Newman, and Kurt Busch have raced in all 28 Kansas Cup races.
“It makes you feel old,” Harvick said with a laugh. “I did one of the first PR days at Kansas Speedway when it first opened and there was not one single thing around that racetrack other than the highway. So, what’s been built has been neat to see and how it’s all developed and how it’s all changed. It’s a fun racetrack because there is just so much to do around the racetrack and it’s been a successful racetrack for us.”
NASCAR Cup Odds
Super Start Batteries 400 Odds
Thursday, July 23, 2020
- Kevin Harvick +400
- Chase Elliott +600
- Martin Truex Jr. +650
- Kyle Busch +750
- Ryan Blaney +800
- Denny Hamlin +800
- Brad Keselowski +1000
- Joey Logano +1300
- Aric Almirola +1800
- Alex Bowman +2200
- More NASCAR Futures
- (Odds Subject to Change)
NASCAR Cup Series
Handicapping the Kansas 400
What’s even more amazing for Harvick regarding his age and tenure with NASCAR is that he comes in as the 9/2 bettingfavorite according to odds released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
Harvick is only 44-years-old, but modern NASCAR history has shown that great drivers around his age steal a few wins here and there, but they aren’t consistent favorites to win races.
The great Dale Earnhardt won his seventh and final championship at 43 but was rarely the favorite to win races in his last seven years as the Jeff Gordon NASCAR-machine started to take over.
What’s crazy right now is we’re seeing the absolute best of Harvick. He’s like the Benjamin Buttons of NASCAR. While I miss his hostile feudin’ early days, it appears the birth of his son Keelan who is now 8-years-old made him more focused. That, and also getting more consistent equipment with Stewart-Haas Racing starting in 2014 that made him fast everywhere. All three of his Kansas wins have come in his last 13 starts there and he’s led laps in 11 of them.
All four of Harvick’s win this season have come in the 13 races using the race package with engines producing 550 horsepower. Thursday’s night’s race will be the 14th race using it and the eighth race using it on 1.5-mile tracks. Harvick won on the 1.5 at Atlanta on June 7, one of seven different winners on the cookie-cutter layouts.
Bang the Long Shots...
The most surprising win of the season came from Harvick’s SHR teammate Cole Custer at Kentucky Speedway which paid out as high as 300/1 odds. Last week, Austin Dillon would win at Texas Motor Speedway and the few bettors that did take a chance getting paid out at 100/1 odds.
It’s the single largest back-to-back payouts in NASCAR betting history in Las Vegas. I’ve never seen anything like it which raises the question more about how it happened, and can it happen again. Is Christopher Bell next with Joe Gibbs Racing equipment? How about Dillon’s RCR teammate Tyler Reddick?
...Lean to Experience?
Or do we go back to Harvick and Denny Hamlin winning some more? Hamlin with four wins in 2020 like Harvick, won the fall Kansas race in 2019.
The common theme with Custer and Dillon winning, and you can throw in Joey Logano winning at Las Vegas too, is the right-side Goodyear tire compound was all the same. It was a hard compound on relatively smooth tracks and the smart pit strategy was to forego new tires and just take fuel on the last pit stop to gain position.
We should see some teams gamble like that Thursday night. Logano stayed out at Vegas when the leaders pitted (Ryan Blaney) late and Logano held on to win. Kansas isn’t a grind on tires like Darlington, Atlanta, or Fontana.
Of course, the pandemic has brought about a crazy schedule that races on Thursday night and has announced that no 2020 races will have practices or qualifying which has hurt several teams get a proper set-up to start each race.
Kyle Busch hasn’t won yet and it’s frustrating for him because he’s watched teammates like Hamlin win four times and Truex win once. He likens his 2020 to 2014 when the entire JGR team struggled with the new Gen-6 body and the team didn’t start to show signs of being top contenders until 2015 after he had to sit out the first part of the season with a broken leg but would go on to win his first Cup Championship.
“When we fired off the ’15 season, I was injured,” Busch said. “I was watching from home. I was seeing we were still kind of slow. The 11, the 19, the 20, they weren’t quite there yet. Then Martinsville, they all ran really good. When I came back at Charlotte time a few weeks later, it started to kind of click, everybody started to go in the right direction. We won four, five times. Then it seems like Matt (Kenseth) won a couple, Denny (Hamlin) won a couple, Carl (Edwards) won a couple. Started to go there. It took us a good year and a half to get back up to the top of the circle. I don’t know if that’s what we’re on now. I certainly hope not. It’s definitely frustrating. Trust me, it’s not very fun where we’re at. I know everybody is kicking themselves and trying to do all they can to work harder and be smarter.”
Similar to Harvick, Busch didn’t become a two-time Cup Champion until his five-year-old son Brexton came about. Busch has a 2016 Kansas win to his credit to go along with seven top-fives. His fourth-place finish last week at Texas was his eighth top-five of the season, but it’s wild to believe that 10 drivers have a win before he does. He’s still listed as one of the favorites at 6/1 odds.
Chase Elliott comes in at 8/1 odds to win and has shown that he’s been great in 2020 but only has one win, not including the All-Star win last week. Kansas has turned into one of his better tracks.
“To me, Kansas feels like such a small mile and half compared to some of the other ones we go to,” Elliott said. “I just feel like the corners are sharper than some other places and with it being progressively banked, the top side is going to continue to become dominant. I think in a way, it’s going to turn into Homestead in some situations and as time goes on. The way the corners are shaped, it’s kind of small and that top groove having more banking than the other ones as you move down the track is going to make it a top-dominant racetrack.”
Last season, Elliott was fourth in the May Kansas race after leading 45 laps and then came back in October to finish second behind Hamlin. Overall, half of his eight finishes at Kansas have been top-fives.
Hamlin has had three straight finishes of 12th or worse since winning at Pocono on June 28, but he was competing for the win late in all of them. He made a strong late pit stop at Texas taking just fuel to gain track position and his speeds didn’t drop off. He’s likely to try something like that again with the same tires this week and is being offered at 8/1 odds.
Pressing No. 12 & Chasing No. 10
Ryan Blaney has a Talladega win to at least leave a marker of how good his 2020 has been. One win doesn’t it say it all. He should probably have four wins, including Sunday's Texas race that he led a race-high 150 laps. In seven races on 1.5-mile tracks, his worst finish was 11th at Las Vegas and it was only because he pitted late with the lead.
He got railroaded out of the win last week, too. Eventually, the Karma cycle comes around and good things come to those who stay a steady course. He’s got some payback coming soon when he steals a win on a day when he might have only a 10th-place car.
And last but not least is Aric Almirola who has finished 10th or better the last seven races, the first five being top-fives. He’s leading lots of laps -- 35 Sunday at Texas, 128 led at Kentucky -- and his SHR equipment has proven to have something strong each of these tracks lately.
Now he just needs to find out from teammate Harvick how to close a race out. I’ll keep betting him as long as he keeps showing signs of winning and is offered at 25/1 weekly.
Remember, the race is Thursday night so get your bets and fantasy roster set before then.
Super Start Batteries 400
Top-5 Finish Prediction
1) #12 Ryan Blaney (8/1)
2) #4 Kevin Harvick (9/2)
3) #9 Chase Elliott (8/1)
4) #11 Denny Hamlin (8/1)
5) #10 Aric Almirola (25/1)
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