Aric Almirola – Aric Almirola will be a solid sleeper pick at Kansas. It’s been a good track for him and in lesser equipment over the last 10 races he’s finished in the top eleven 50% percent of the time. This year at intermediate tracks he’s run well and don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t have another strong showing. In 2018 in incident free races at 1.5 mile tracks he’s had results of 10th (Las Vegas) and 13th (Atlanta). Between the two Las Vegas is the more similar track. Last fall at Kansas he escaped with a 9th place finish. Realistically he was mid to high-teens good but attrition helped him, even though he was involved in the “Big One.” Last spring he was likely around low-twenties good but finished 38th after being in a massive wreck that sidelined him for a number of races. At the time of the incident that ended his race with 68 laps to go he was in 23rd. In fall 2016 he had a tough race. On lap 36 he had a tire go down and spun. He got a lot of damage from this and took his car to the garage which led to his last place finish. In spring 2016 there was nothing to brag about his performance. He finished 18th, had a 21st place average running position and earned the 21st best driver rating.
Erik Jones – Erik Jones should be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Kansas. His average finish is 32.3, but don’t let that scare you away. He’s had some strong performances here but has walked away with misleading results every race. Last fall he was a top five contender but finished a misleading 35th after being involved in a huge multi-car wreck on lap 198. At the time of his problem he was running right around 5th. Additionally it should be noted he finished 10th in Stage #1 and 6th in Stage #2. Last spring Erik Jones had a fast car and was top ten good but finished a misleading 22nd. He spun three-times and nobody can over come that. His last spin happened with 9 laps to go while he was running around the mid-teens. In spring 2015 when Kyle Busch was injured Jones drove the 18 car and was top ten good but wrecked late and finished 40th. This year at 1.5 mile tracks Erik Jones has been strong. Kansas and Texas are the two most similar tracks visited and in those combined races he has a 6.0 average finish, an 8.5 average running position and the 5th best driver rating. If Erik Jones can avoid spinning I would look for him to finish in the top ten.