Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:04 PM
Best Bets - Kansas
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Each week during the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) regular season through the Chase, we'll take a look at the best Fantasy plays, as well as Futures and Wagers when applicable, to get you ready for the upcoming race week.
The MENCS moves to Kansas Speedway for the KC Masterpiece 400 Drive on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick (5/2) heads into the weekend on a high note, scoring a victory at the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway last weekend, his fourth checkered flag of the season. He is listed as the favorite for this Saturday's run in suburban Kansas City not just because of his results this season, but also due to his outstanding success lately at this track. Harvick was third in the spring race, and eighth at the fall race, during the 2017 season, and he was a runner-up in the spring race in 2016, while finishing first in the fall run that season.
Harvick will be using his winning 2016 chassis on Saturday night. Chassis No. 4-995 has been a solid piece for the driver of the No. 4 machine, capturing the pole while leading 21 laps in the 2016 All-Star Race. He qualified eight and had a runner-up showing in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte in 2016 with the chassis, and he led a race-high 214 laps at Darlington before breaking through for checkers in Kansas in the fall. He has been third or better in six of his past nine runs at Kansas, posting two wins and three second-place finishes during the span. NASCAR's Loop Data shows him listed first with a 119.4 Driver Rating over the past five starts, running 91.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Needless to say, Harvick is the favorite for a multitude of reasons.
Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. (7/2) will be nipping at the heels of Harvick. Loop Data shows him with a 118.5 Driver Rating, just behind Harvick, and he has led 367 laps over the past five starts at the track to lead all drivers. He has also turned in 214 fastest laps, which is a stat DFS players target. MTJ swept both races at Kansas a season ago en route to his first Monster Energy Cup Series championship. In 19 career starts at the track he has managed a 15.1 Average-Finish Position (AFP), rolling to six Top 5s and 15 finishes of 20th or better, leading 713 laps to lead all drivers.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson (25/1) hasn't been hitting on all cylinders so far this season, and he has even had some difficulties at track he has had a decent history. The No. 48 has rolled to Victory Lane on three different occasions at Kansas over 23 starts, posting a 9.7 AFP while turning in nine Top 5s and 17 Top 10s while leading 601 laps overall. In fact, his AFP leads all active drivers. Johnson was 24th at the spring race before a respectable 11th in the fall run, but that's not going to meet or exceed DFS salary expectations. He needs to get back into the Top 5, and the seven-time series champ hasn't shown any indications lately that he is ready to be dominant again.
Penske Racing's Ryan Blaney (15/1) is a moderate sleeper to watch this weekend. He has just six MENCS starts under his belt at Kansas, but the results have been outstanding lately. Over his past five starts at Kansas he has managed four Top 10 showings, including a fourth last season in the spring outing, and a third-place run in the fall. Those results are even better than his teammates Brad Keselowski (12/1) and Joey Logano (18/1). Keselowski checks in 10th in Driver Rating over the past five starts in Kansas with a 14.4 AFP, and he has just one win in 16 career starts. However, he has finished outside of the Top 20 just three times, so he certainly has the goods to earn his DFS salary and then some. Logano won two races ago on the superspeedway at Talladega, gaining some much needed confidence while ending a lengthy win drought. He'll need that confidence at Kansas, as he struggled at track last season with a 29.0 AFP in two starts. He has two wins at Kansas in 17 career starts, but he has also finished outside of the Top 20 on eight occasions while posting three DNFs. He is a risky play.
Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson (8/1) has some short odds to win this weekend, but Vegas might be overvaluing him a bit. He doesn't show inside the Top 10 according to NASCAR's Loop Data over the past five Kansas starts, as he has finished 29th or worse in four of his past five starts at the track. His lone solid showing was a sixth-place run in the spring season in 2017. In eight career MENCS starts at Kansas he has a 21.0 AFP, finishing just two Top 10s with two DNFs and only three laps led all-time at the track.
If you're looking at the Joe Gibbs Racing stable of cars, Denny Hamlin (18/1) might be the best value. He rolled to a 23rd-place showing in the spring, but was fifth in the fall race last season. Loop Data shows him in ninth with an 89.6 Driver Rating, although he has led just six laps over the past five starts at the track. In 19 career starts at the track, though, he has a win with five Top 5s and a respectable 16.4 AFP, seventh-best among all active drivers. Of course, teammate Kyle Busch (7/2) is always a threat to win anywhere, anytime. His only win in Kansas was during the spring 2016 season, but he has a solid 16.4 AFP right behind Hamlin while racking up eight Top 10s in 20 career starts.
A solid sleeper to watch is JTG Daugherty Racing's Chris Buescher (500/1), and he is an outstanding low-priced DFS option to round out a roster. He has four Cup starts under his belt at the track, debuting 24th in the spring of 2016, while improving to 21st in the fall. He opened with an 18th-place finish in the spring of 2017, while rolling to a solid sixth-place showing in the fall of 2017. Might he be destined to take another step forward on Saturday night?