Ryan Newman – Ryan Newman has been a pretty solid performer at Kansas. In 6 of the last 8 races he’s finished between 6th and 12th. Unfortunately the two races he finished outside the range just mentioned were both last year. Last fall Newman was collected in the mass carnage of the lap 198 “big one” which led to his 33rd place finish. I will note he ran quite a bit of laps around the low-double digits and finished just outside the top ten in the first two Stages. Last spring he had a great chance to finish well but his race wasn’t incident free. On lap 154 while running in 9th he had an engine failure. In fall 2016 Newman was solid. He finished 12th and had a 15th place average running position. In spring 2016 he had a good race. He finished 7th, earned the 7th best driver rating and had an 11th place average running position. In the four Kansas races prior to that he had results of 6th, 10th, 11th and 11th.
Paul Menard – Paul Menard will be a good dark horse fantasy NASCAR option at Kansas. Las Vegas is the most similar track visited this year and at that venue he performed well. He finished 9th, earned the 9th best driver rating and had a 10th place average running position. Last fall Menard had his most successful Kansas race since 2015 and finished 12th. I will note that can largely be attributed to attrition. His average running position was 22nd and prior to the mass carnage he looked poised to finish in the low-twenties. In the five Kansas races prior to that he finished 20th or worse every race. Last spring he didn’t have a good car and was around mid-twenties good but finished a misleading 35th. With 72 laps to go he had a run-in with AJ Allmendinger on the track that damaged his car. In fall 2016 there was nothing special about Menard’s performance. In the race he finished 20th and had an 18th place average running position. In spring 2016 he didn’t have an incident free race. On lap 103 while he was running in 20th he got into the wall and brought out the caution. On lap 135 he had engine issues and took his car to the garage which led to his last place finish. Performance wise he was maybe around 20th place good.