Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie Johnson will be a driver to watch at Kansas. It’s been a good track for him and in recent races he’s been finishing better. In 3 of the last 4 races entering the weekend he’s finished in either 7th or 8th. On Sunday, I think he’ll be a low-double digits driver who’ll compete for a top ten. This spring at Kansas he didn’t have a good race and finished 19th. On lap 62 while he was running around 20th he made an unexpected pit stop for a loose wheel and that dropped him a lap down to 29th. He never recovered from that and went on to finish two laps down in 19th. Last fall at Kansas, Johnson spun twice but rallied to finish 11th. Additionally, he finished 6th in Stage #1, 10th in Stage #2, had a 10th place average running position and earned the 9th best driver rating. In spring 2017 he had a great car and was top five good but finished a misleading 24th after spinning from the top 5 late. In 3 of the 4 Kansas races prior to that he finished in the top 4.
Alex Bowman – Alex Bowman should definitely be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Kansas. His average finish is 27.7 and I think that should give him out of sync potential. In his last two Kansas races he’s run well. This spring he had a respectable car but finished 18th after having contact with Daniel Suarez with 31 laps to go. He got a pretty good amount of damage and at the time he was running in 14th. His average running position for the afternoon was 15th. In fall 2016 when Earnhardt Jr. was injured Bowman drove the #88. In that race he had a strong performance. He finished 7th and earned the 7th best driver rating. None of his other Kansas races should be considered relevant. On Sunday I would look for him to be a low-double digits driver who’ll compete for a top ten.
Paul Menard – Paul Menard is a quality sleeper option at Kansas. Among drivers of his tier he’s one of the safer picks. This year at 1.5 mile tracks minus Texas where he crashed he has an 11.4 average finish and a 13.9 average running position. In the last three races at tracks of this length he has results of 10th, 11th and 13th. At Kansas, Menard has finished well the last two races. This spring when the checkered flag waved he finished 6th, had a 12th place average running position and earned the 12th best driver rating. Last fall he 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. On Sunday I’m going to set his baseline fantasy value as being a driver who’ll finish around the mid-teens.