The mayhem at Talladega is over and Aric Almirola has prevailed and moved himself to the third round of the playoffs. Okay, maybe there wasn’t a lot of mayhem, but the end sure turned out different than it was looking before the late race caution came out. The only thing that stopped all of the Stewart-Haas and Penske Ford’s from finishing in the top ten was running out of fuel. So, in other words, the Ford’s still have the dominant speed on the track.
RACE NAME ALL CAPS
This week the series heads to the Kansas Speedway for the final leg of the second round of the playoffs. We know that Almirola and Chase Elliott are already locked in and Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are virtual locks also. In fact, Martin Truex Jr. is in eighth place right now in the cutoff position and he has an eighteen point lead over Brad Keselowski. If we don’t get a new winner who is outside the top eight in points they will almost need someone ahead of them to have some type of problem this week to pass them. Stage points will be at a premium in this race for that reason.
Now, Kansas Speedway is another of the mile and a half tracks on the circuit that are very important to those looking to win a championship. I’m guessing the temperatures will be nice and cool this weekend which will help the drivers with the grip on the track and we will see some fast racing. If I’m right, that bodes well for the Big Three once again this weekend and those will be the drivers we will want to focus on.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin won both races here last year and finished second in the spring race this year. I look for him to qualify well and run up front throughout the race and make sure that he is in position to go for the win late in the race and secure his spot in the third round. Like I said earlier, his biggest competition will be Harvick and Busch.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin won the race here this spring and doesn’t need to win this race to move on. Yet, he will do whatever he can to gain any playoff points he can carry on to the next round. He has finished in the top three here seven times in his last ten starts and led laps in nine of those ten starts. This team will play it smart like they always do and Kevin will be patient, but could dominate here once again.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top five in five of his last seven starts here and in the top ten in all of those starts. The only two driver who have led more laps here in the last five races are Truex and Harvick. I think you need to look at the starts you have left with these three drivers and then put two of them on your roster and see how they do in practice before deciding which of them to start.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan is 22 points outside the top eight right now and might just have to win this race to move to the third round and this is the type of track where he could get that win. He has finished in the top five in three of his last five starts here and we have seen how fast the Ford drivers have been all year. The only thing I’m not sure about is if he will have the patience he needs to not make dangerous moves early in the race knowing he might have to win.
Kyle Larson: Kyle is another driver who might need to win here this week to move on. Right now he is 26 points out of the top eight in the standings. However, this is a track where he has been very good lately and he could get the win he needs to move on. He hasn’t been really great here with only three top ten finishes in his nine starts, but he did lead 101 laps and finished fourth here this spring.
Brad Keselowski: Brad finds himself eighteen points out of making the third round and knows that a win gets him in. The thing he has going for him is how well he has been running on this type of track over the past couple of months. These drivers who know they might need to win to get in are the ones who will put the pressure on the drivers in the seventh and eighth spots in the standings right now.
Kurt Busch: With a thirty point lead right now over the ninth place driver Kurt looks to be in a pretty good spot right now. I’m sure he is very disappointed right now after running out of gas as he was leading the race at Talladega last weekend, but I also think he know that he should have a good car once again this weekend. He finished second in the race last season and has five top ten finishes in his last seven starts here.
Clint Bowyer: Clint might be the driver currently in the top eight in the standings that could have some trouble here this week. He currently sits seventh with a twenty-one point lead over the ninth place driver. The problem is that Clint hasn’t been very good at Kansas in his career and that really hurts seeing this is his home track. In fact he has only finished in the top ten once in his last ten starts here.
Joey Logano: Joey has come away with seven top five finishes in his last ten starts here including a third place finish this spring. He is sitting 39 points above the cut line and I think he would be someone to consider having on your team and starting if you need to make up some ground in your league. If you are looking to stay towards the top of your league I would still go with one of the Big Three.
Chase Elliott: Chase is already in so he has nothing to lose taking chances to get another win and add to his playoff point total. He hasn’t been great here in his five races, but he did finish fourth in this race last year. Watch your starts for him and use make sure you have at least one start left for him to use sometime after this weekend.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR KANSAS SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
Driver Group Game Group B
- Ryan Blaney
- Kurt Busch
- Aric Almirola
- Erik Jones
Driver Group Game Group C
- Alex Bowman
- Michael McDowell
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Brad Keselowski
- Joey Logano
Dark Horse: Alex Bowman
Stay Away From: Clint Bowyer
Big 18: Aric Almirola