Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM
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 returns to Kansas Speedway for the Digital Ally 400 on Saturday with a green flag drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. The weather forecast for suburban Kansas City on Saturday night calls for just a 20 percent chance of precipitation with temperatures in the mid-50's, after initially looking for calling for 40-45 percent chance of rain a couple of days ago. The forecast is improving, and it looks like we'll get a race without any interruptions.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch (7/2) is the race favorite heading into Kansas. He has 22 starts under his belt at Kansas, posting a victory, six top-5 finishes, 10 top-10 showings and 327 laps led with an Average-Finish Position (AFP) of 16.3. NASCAR's Loop Data shows him in second place among active drivers, posting a 114.7 Driver Rating over the past five Kansas starts, leading 171 laps while running a circuit-best 97.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He was angry after the new rules package at Dover International Speedway. An angry Kyle Busch is generally not good for the remainder of the field.
Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick (13/2) heads into Saturday's race with a 126.0 Driver Rating over the past five Kansas starts, running 95.1 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He has led 276 laps during the five-race span with an AFP of 5.0. Harvick has made 26 career Cup starts at Kansas, winning three times with eight finishes inside the Top 5, and 23 of his 26 finishes resulting in a top-20 showing. He leads all active drivers with 751 laps led, and he tops the charts with a 9.7 AFP. While Harvick hasn't exactly been hitting on all cylinders like he was during his dominant 2018 MENCS season, he is still never one to discredit or forget. Clint Bowyer (20/1), who is a Kansas native, has yet to break through at his home track. However, he has a respectable 16.6 AFP across 21 career starts while registering 15 of his 21 starts inside the Top 20 while leading 51 laps.
Hendrick Motorsport's driver and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson (22/1) has been discredited quite frequently this season. Perhaps Kansas is where he can end his lengthy race-win drought. In 25 career starts, he has three wins with nine top-5 finishes, 17 top-10 runs and 601 laps led while posting an outstanding 10.5 AFP. Like most other tracks recently, he has gone downhill a little bit, averaging a 19.0 AFP over his past four Kansas starts, so it remains to be seen if he can turn it around or continue on his mediocre trajectory. Don't sleep on Chase Elliott (9/1), who has six Cup starts under his belt. He won the fall race in October at Kansas, and half of his finishes have resulted in a Top 10 finish or better, with an AFP of 14.3.
Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski (13/2) and Joey Logano (15/2) could make a little noise at Kansas. Logano won both the October races in 2014 and 2015 at Kansas, and he has seven top-5 finishes and eight top-10 showings in his 19 career starts at the tri-oval. Keselowski has a lone win in 18 career Kansas starts, leading 203 laps while managing three top-5 finishes, nine top-10 runs and a sparkling 12.8 AFP, third-best among all active drivers with at least two starts. He and Logano each tend to qualify well at this track. Last season, Logano averaged a 5.5 AFP in two starts, and he ranks fifth in Driver Rating (96.6) across the past five Kansas races despite the fact he has run just 72.1 percent of his laps inside the Top 15.
Ryan Blaney (9/1)might end up being the best performer of the trio. There is something about Kansas that seems to scratch his itch. In eight-career Cup starts at Kansas he has managed three top-5 finishes, five top-10 showings and a 13.0 AFP with 154 laps led. Loop Data shows him with a 106.5 Driver Rating, fourth-best among all active drivers while running 88.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 while leading 149 laps.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Martin Truex Jr. (11/2), the winner last weekend at Dover, has posted two victories at Kansas over 21 career starts while registering eight top-5 finishes, nine top-10 showings and 726 laps led, which is second-most among all active drivers. He comes in on a roll with four consecutive top-5 showings, including a pair of victories during the 2017 season. He has registered a 114.6 Driver Rating across the past five Kansas starts, while running 92.3 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. His JGR teammate Denny Hamlin (20/1), who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning during his run at Dover last week, has managed a 88.4 Driver Rating over his past five Kansas starts. He has led just six laps during the span. Overlal he has a win, six top-5 finishes and seven top-10 finishes with a 15.6 AFP.
Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson (11/1) checks in sixth with a 94.5 Driver Rating over the past five Kansas starts, leading 101 laps during the span. Outside of a DNF in the fall race in 2017, Larson has managed finishes of sixth or better in three of the past four outings in Kansas. His teammate Kurt Busch (22/1) has never won at Kansas in 22 starts, but he has three top-5 finishes and nine top-10 showings while posting a 16.1 AFP and 327 laps. In the past three starts he has an AFP of 9.3, so a top-10 run might be a good bet.