Go Bowling 400
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
After a wild-card race at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to action this weekend at Kansas Speedway. The 1.5-mile oval will host Saturday night's Go Bowling 400, and for any fantasy owners who were derailed by the "Big One" last Sunday, the race is a chance to get your seasons back on track.
While restrictor-plate tracks like Talladega are easily the toughest races to predict, races at 1.5-mile ovals like Kansas tend to be the most predictable. There is a reason these tracks are sometimes referred to as "cookie-cutter" ovals. Big names from big teams tend to excel at the mile-and-half tracks, and you will usually see a lot of the same names popping up near the front of the field at all the 1.5-mile ovals.
This year has been no exception, and six different drivers have finished in the Top 10 in all three races at 1.5-mile tracks thus far, and four drivers have logged multiple Top 5s. With that in mind, I like to consider past results at Kansas and results from the other mile-and-a-half tracks this season when searching for the top fantasy plays.
After leaning on some sleepers and middle-tier options during the recent stretch of short track races and the trip to Talladega, I won't hesitate to load my lineup with the top options in each this weekend.
1. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Harvick has compiled a series-leading 6.5 average finish over the last 10 races at Kansas. He finished second and first in two starts at the track last year, and he has three runner-up efforts and two wins in his last seven starts here. Harvick has also led the most laps at 1.5-mile ovals this season.
2. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
He has been dialed in at Kansas the last few years, logging a series-high five Top 5s over the last six races here. Logano is also the only driver with multiple wins at the track over that span.
3. KYLE LARSON, #42 TARGET, CHIP GANASSI RACING [YAHOO CLASS B]
Larson has had some bad luck at Kansas in his last few starts, but he has finished as high as second at the track. He has also finished second in all three races at 1.5-mile tracks this season, so he has to be considered one of the top contenders Saturday night.
4. MARTIN TRUEX, JR., #78 FURNITURE ROW, FURNITURE ROW RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He has five straight Top 15s at Kansas, but if not for some bad luck, he would probably have a couple of wins. Truex has led the most laps in two of the last four races at Kansas, including 172 in the May race last year. Through three races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, Truex has three Top 10s, including a win.
5. BRAD KESELOWSKI, #2 MILLER LITE, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
He is still looking for a dominant run at Kansas, but Keselowski does have three Top 10s in his last four starts here. He has also finished in the Top 10 in all three races at 1.5-mile ovals this year, picking up a win. Keselowski should be a safe bet to contend for a Top 5 this weekend.
6. CHASE ELLIOTT, #24 NAPA AUTO PARTS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS B]
Elliott picked up a Top 10 in his Kansas debut last year, and he continues to establish himself as one of the premier drivers at the intermediate ovals. He has a 5.7 average finish in the three 1.5-mile track events in 2017 and has yet to finish outside the Top 10.
7. JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]
He has always been a steady performer at Kansas, and over the last 10 races at the track, he has eight Top 10s, including three Top 5s in his last four starts. After a bit of a slow start, Johnson picked up a win at Texas a couple of weeks ago, so he could be back on track at the 1.5-mile ovals.
8. KYLE BUSCH, #18 M&M'S, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Joe Gibbs Racing has been searching for consistency in the early months of the year, but Busch's numbers at Kansas are tough to ignore. He is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and he has four straight Top 5s at the track. He could make a useful A-List alternative.
9. RYAN BLANEY, #21 MOTORCRAFT, WOOD BROTHERS RACING [YAHOO CLASS B]
I love Blaney as a B-List play this weekend, and I think he could be a sneaky contender for the win. He finished fifth in this race last season, and he has three straight Top 15s at the track. He has a 12.3 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this year, and he led a race-high 148 laps at Texas a few weeks ago.
10. MATT KENSETH, #20 DEWALT, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
His up-and-down season makes him tough to trust, but Kenseth has been the model of consistency at Kansas. His 7.3 average finish at Kansas over the last 10 races is the second best in the series, and he finished in the Top 15 in every race during the span. If you want a contrarian A-List play, Kenseth could be worth a shot.