2018 Kansas Speedway, KC Masterpiece 400

Congratulations to Kevin Harvick who won his fourth race of the season at Dover this past Sunday when he took the lead from Clint Bowyer for good after a red flag for rain. Once again Kevin pretty much dominated this race and all of the Ford’s looked impressive. Kyle Larson failed pre-race inspection and had to start at the rear of the field and he never recovered from that penalty, while Kyle Busch had a vibration through the whole race which eventually led to him breaking his drive shaft even though he had a fast car until the mechanical failure.

KC MASTERPIECE 400

This week the series heads to the Kansas Speedway for another Saturday night race before taking a week off from points racing for the running of the All-Star race at Charlotte. Kansas Speedway is another of the mile-an-a-half tri-ovals that make up most of the Cup series. So far this season there are three drivers who have been consistently fast on this type of track and those are the ones we want on our roster this weekend. Those three drivers have also won the last four races here.

Kevin Harvick: With four wins under his belt already this season and having won here in the fall of 2016, Kevin is my pick to visit victory lane once again. Besides winning the race last weekend, Kevin also won both stages and picked up another seven playoff points. These proved to be invaluable to Martin Truex last season as he won his first championship. Kevin has finished in the top three at Kansas in six of his last nine starts. Put him on your roster again.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin swept the races here last season and has sat on the pole twice and started in the top ten in each of his last six starts here. He has also led around 460 laps during those six races, so we know that he knows how to get around this track. Look for him to battle with Harvick all night long for his second win of the season.

Kyle Busch: Not to be outdone by the first two drivers I have mentioned, Kyle has three wins on the season and won the spring race here in 2016. He also has finished in the top five in five of his last six starts here. I think the driver shaft issue they had at Dover was an anomaly and this team will be there to compete for the win with Kevin and Martin at the end of the race this weekend. One of these three drivers will win this race.

Ryan Blaney: In only six starts at this track, Ryan has three top five and four top ten finishes. He also sat on the pole for this race last season and led laps in both of the races here last year. We have seen how fast the Ford’s have been all season and it looks like Ryan should be even better this year than he was in previous seasons because he is on a more well funded team than he was in the past. Look for another top five finish for Ryan.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has been fast all year, he just hasn’t come away with the finishes he thinks he should have. That is because of how dominant some of the other drivers have been all season so far. Kurt has finished in the top ten in four of his last six races at Kansas including a second and a third place finish here. One of these races everything is going to fall into place for this team and they will be visiting victory lane.

Matt Kenseth: Matt is back to run some races in the #6 car for Roush/Fenway Racing for the rest of the season, splitting time with Trevor Bayne. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been fast all season, so the #6 should be fast too. I think Matt will be a good option right away this weekend in the B group. In his last five races here, Matt has started in the top three three times and has led 272 laps during those races. I think he makes improvements to this car right away.

Brad Keselowski: Brad finished second in this race last season and has shown speed all year so far. This team has come close to winning a few times already this year and should break into the win column pretty soon. Brad has finished in the top ten in four of his last six starts here and is one of the drivers who never gives up no matter how poorly his car is handling early in the race. I look for him to come away with another top ten finish this week.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has been improving every week and it won’t be long before this team figures out what they need to do to get the Camaro into victory lane. Jimmie leads all active drivers with three wins and has seventeen top ten finishes in twenty-four starts at Kansas. We might want to wait a little longer before we start using him on our roster, but I think we will be using him before too long.

Clint Bowyer: Clint has been getting better and better every week too. I still think we want to save his starts for places like Martinsville, Richmond, and Loudon on the short flat tracks where he really excels. However, he is a driver you want to keep your eye on this weekend to see how much he is improving on the intermediate tracks and if it is going to be feasible to use him on this type of track later in the season.

Chase Elliott: Chase was the best of the Chevrolet drivers earlier this season, but he seems to have taken a small step backwards lately. Not that he has been bad, it’s just that he hasn’t made the gains we would like to see. Where Jimmie has been getting better, Chase has either stayed about the same or slowed down a little bit lately. This is the type of track where I would expect him to flourish and he still might as the season progresses, but we might want to wait to use his starts up until he starts to show a little more consistency.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR KANSAS SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Matt Kenseth
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Erik Jones
  • Aric Almirola

Driver Group Game Group C

  • William Byron
  • Alex Bowman

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Brad Keselowski

Dark Horse: Ryan Blaney

Stay Away From: Joey Logano

Big 18: Ryan Blaney

42 thoughts on “2018 Kansas Speedway, KC Masterpiece 400

  1. I have already used up Harvick 4 times…. your advice has really helped me out the past 2 weeks! Thank you! I won my league at Talladega & finished 3rd this week in my league moving up 3 points positions in 2 weeks! With that being said how do you feel about the other Stewart Haas cars going into Kansas this week? 10, 14 & 41?

    1. I would keep Harvick on my roster along with either Kyle Busch of Truex and see how they all do in practice and qualifying. No sense saving Harvick if he is winning all the time though. As for the rest of the Stewart-Haas drivers, I would use Almirola, but I like to save Busch and Bowyer for the short flat tracks and maybe the road course races. They are typically going to be the better choices in the B group for those races.

  2. I have that feeling the #2 car and team will win it this weekend, not the same ole 3 drivers like it’s been every week the #4,#18,#78!!! So im leaning toward one of the 3 drivers u talked about with the #2 as my A drivers. What’s your thoughts????😀🏁🏁🏁🏁

    1. Good strategy if you need to take a shot to get back in the running in your league, otherwise you should stick with what is working right now.

  3. would you start kenseth over almirola or vise versa? I’m a little Leary with starting kenseth even with his stats at this track with him not being in a car all season & Almirola has been pretty consistant!

    1. Put them both on your roster and then see how they do in practice and make your decision from there.

    1. Might want to use Busch instead of Kenseth this week. Don’t know how well Matt will run with a new crew chief for him. We might want to wait and see how they communicate and if Matt will actually be a legitimate pick or if they are using him to do some testing.

  4. Is there any dark horse single car team drivers you think could crack the top 25 this week? My options are the 72, 51, 62, 55, or 99.
    Thanks!

    1. Slim chance, but always a chance. I don’t see a 62 or 99 entered. I wouldn’t want to put my money on any of them, so just take a guess.

    2. You can’t even at the very least do 38 – who finished 17th big races here last year, also has been in T25 at 1.5 mile tracks all season (just barely , 23rd in all 1.5 mile tracks in 2018), or the 37? Averaging a 18.33 finish on 1.5 mile tracks this year – 25th,15th,15th.

      Ty Dillon had some good runs here last year (even tho this team has been very hit or miss this year) finishes of 14th and 16th (15 avg)

      Michael McDowell (although running for another team last year) also had some good runs here last year, 13th and 18th (15.5 avg)

      Austin Dillon is another , who we know can win on 1.5 mile tracks and has a win in the bank this year so may be willing to gamble and take a risk for another win or a good T5 or T10 finish, last year had finishes of 16th and 14th (15 avg).

      Although hit or miss on the 1.5 mile tracks, Daniel Suarez has a lot of momentum going into this race with 3rd place finish last week at Dover, and a pair of top tens at Talladega and Richmond, and 11th at Bristol.

      Would Matt Menseth not even be an option for you being this is his first race of the season?

      1. He is looking at single car teams and gave a list of the available drivers he has to pick from. Most of your options, however valid are not on single car teams and are not on his list.

        1. Ok, got ya, I’m not familiar with some of the other league rules, the league I play is through RaceScore and allows unlimited usage of any driver but must pick 8 drivers, and be under a 10 million salary cap, prices adjust every 4 weeks and scores are just based on points earned during race as scored by NASCAR.

  5. I’ve been to this Kansas race many of times and the number 78,11,2,18,14, and my garage is number 12 I’ve been on the top of my leaderboard in my leg and leading by 400 points over everyone since day one so I think some people should listen to what I’m picking

    1. You’ll probably be pulling the 12 out of the garage after the 11 gets tagged for speeding on pit road.

    1. This is a tough one to call. Daniel has been running pretty well on a consistent basis this season. However, in fifteen starts at mile and a half tracks he only has 2 top ten finishes. Then again, one of those came in this race last year. I myself would personally use him at the short tracks where he has been more consistent.

  6. Wanted to use Kenseth so bad. Stats say its a bad decision and I will keep him on bench. I Bet he finishes well. Rousch made a good decision

  7. Hey Jeff – thank you for doing this column – you provide great intel. How do feel about Dave Ragan tonight? I am trying to save allocations on the 24 & 88 and unfortunately did not put the 37 in this week. Thanks.

    1. He finished 17th in both races here last year, so if you are just looking for a decent average finish you could take a chance on him.

  8. Matt Kenseth Sac driver in my league. Who would you start him as a c driver or is there a better option? Thanks Jeff🤜🤛

    1. The way he ran in practice and qualifying I wouldn’t be comfortable using him at all this week. Who else do you have to choose from?

  9. Which 2 would you take out of almirola, kurt Busch, or Ryan Blaney? Wanted to used Kenseth but he’s not shown any speed this weekend.

  10. this is my 1st year participating in fantasy… quick question… With next week being a non points paying race with the ALL Star race…. they won’t be any fantasy next week will there?

    1. Not for regular season leagues, but you might find some special ones just for the All-Star race. I won’t be making any predictions for this race either.

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