Once again a restrictor plate race has a major impact on the playoffs. In my opinion, if NASCAR really wants to crown the best driver of the playoffs as the champion they have to get rid of these races during the playoffs. Most of the playoff contenders were eliminated from the race in the “Big One” that they had no control over. It’s true that every driver has the same chance to get in the wreck here, but is it really keeping the best drivers in the hunt.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
Anyway, the series heads to the Kansas Speedway for the running of the Hollywood Casino 400 this week. This is the second elimination race of the playoffs and after the checkered flag waves there will only be eight cars and drivers who will be eligible to win this year’s championship. This is another of the mile-and-a-half tracks on the playoff schedule and we all know who has dominated these races this season. Can Martin Truex Jr. win another of these races and add five more playoff points to his resume?
Kyle Busch: I am going to pick Kyle to stop Martin’s dominance this week at Kansas and move himself into the third round with the win, so he doesn’t have to worry about getting in on points after two terrible finishes in the first two races of this round. Kyle has a win and five straight top five finishes at this track and I believe he will do it once again this week.
Kevin Harvick: In his last six starts at this track, Kevin has two wins, three runner-up finishes and a third place finish. This team hasn’t been showing the speed in the second half of the season that they have shown over the past few years. However, when he needs to win a race he usually has a good chance of doing just that. As this race plays out, Kevin will be able to determine just how hard he has to drive to make the third round of the playoffs.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin won the race here in May and has dominated these races all season. Even though I think Kyle will win here this weekend and Kevin will be right there with him, I still have to have Martin as my starter because of how consistent he has been. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? I will be going with Kyle and Martin as my drivers and see how they qualify and practice and then decide who I need to take a chance on by my position in my leagues to see if I need to take a chance to move up or go with the consistency to hold my position.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan is another driver who will have to maximize his finishing position in this race to continue on. He has run well here in only five starts at this track coming away with two top five and three top ten finishes in those five starts. He has run well and shown a lot of speed on the intermediate tracks. His only downfall might be his inexperience in these situations and he seems to take some chances that he might not have to take when he does.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie leads all active drivers with three wins at Kansas and this is the time of year this team turns it on. I just think that every driver who doesn’t have a win in this round almost needs to try and win this race and do as well as they can in each stage as points are going to be really big this week. With Chad Knaus on the pit box this team seems to make the right calls and keep each others emotions in check.
Matt Kenseth: Matt might be the only driver still in the playoff without a win in this round who probably will not be worried about getting a win this weekend. He is always so calm in the car and takes what the track and other drivers give him and stays out of trouble by letting faster cars go early in the race. He will be informed of where he sits in the standings and will know exactly who he needs to beat and how many positions he needs to make up. He has two wins here in his career and has finished in the top ten in more than half of his twenty-three starts.
Brad Keselowski: After a great race at Talladega once again for Brad the pressure is off of him in this race. However, this is one driver who doesn’t want to worry about points he just wants to go out and win races. He will do everything he can to pick up as many playoff points as he can in this race and might be able to take a few chances with pit strategy if he needs to so that he can position himself for the win and the five playoff points that go with it.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has been fast all year and at all types of tracks. He has only run seven races at this track in his young career coming away with a second place finish in his second start here. He finished sixth in the race here earlier this year and will most likely make it into the third round on points. All he needs to do is stay out of trouble early in the race and then he can go for the win at the end if he has the car that is capable of doing that.
Chase Elliott: Once again Chase came very close to winning a race for the first time in this series this past weekend at Talladega. This team has run very well every week of the playoffs and that is very encouraging for them and makes them believe they can win this championship. He has only run three races here with his best finish being a ninth place finish in his first start. No matter what he has done in those three races, this team is at the top of their game right now and they are showing they have the speed to compete with the best right now.
Daniel Suarez: Daniel has been running great over the past six races finishing in the top twelve in each of those races. He was out front at Talladega late in the race last week before wrecking and taking himself out of contention. Even though they aren’t in the playoffs they are running hard looking for their first win. In his only start here in May, he finished seventh and will use that to boost his confidence as he tries to improve on that finish.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR KANSAS SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Ryan Blaney
- Chase Elliott
- Kyle Larson
- Kasey Kahne
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Ty Dillon
- Erik Jones
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
- Chase Elliott
- Jimmie Johnson
Dark Horse: Ryan Blaney
Stay Away From: Joey Logano
Big 18: Ryan Blaney