1. Kevin Harvick Kansas Fantasy NASCAR Analysis – Kevin Harvick will be a good fantasy NASCAR pick for the Kansas Hollywood Casino 400. On Sunday he’ll start on the pole. Since the track was resurfaced the lowest the pole winner has finished is 4th and their average finish is 2nd. Twice on the new surface this race has been won from this starting position. In the last two Kansas races Harvick has been the strongest performer. He won last fall and would’ve won this spring if he didn’t lose the lead following his final pit stop. The main factor I like about him on this weekend is how strong he’s been on 1.5 mile tracks this season. He hasn’t closed the deal at any of these venues but he should have a handful of wins. This season at the high-speed intermediate tracks with a relatively new surface he’s been money in the bank. Between both Michigan races and Kansas he’s finished 2nd every race. On Sunday he’ll be using the same chassis he used in all three of those events. In practice his car was tight but he showed good speed. In Happy Hour he had the second fastest overall speed and the best 10 lap average. My prediction is Kevin Harvick will win the Kansas Hollywood Casino 400.
Starting Position – 1st
Track History – Recently at Kansas nobody has been better than Kevin Harvick. In the last two races he’s had the car to beat. This spring he got beat, but it wasn’t due to his on track performance. He got beat during the final round of pit stops when Jeff Gordon’s pit crew got him a healthy lead over Harvick while the lap count was dwindling down. If he would’ve maintained the lead during the final pit cycle there’s zero doubt in my mind he would’ve won. In the race Harvick earned the best driver rating, had the best PROS Ranking and led 119 laps. Last fall the “Closer” started on the pole and finished 1st. In that race he got trapped back in the pack because of a caution during the pit cycle but he worked his way up towards the front again. In that race he earned the best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 138 laps. In the first two races on the new surface he had results of 11th and 12th. In the combined races on the new surface he has the second best driver rating, a 6.5 average finish, 9.0 average running position and has led 263 laps.
Similar Track Performances – Kevin Harvick has been one of the strongest performers on 1.5 mile tracks. At the last two he arguably had the best car. At tracks of this length minus Las Vegas and Texas he has a 4.8 average running position and a 7.0 average finish.
Odds To Win – 9/2
Momentum – When this team has an incident free race they’ve been a lock for a good result. Since Indy he’s only finished outside the top ten three times and in each of those races he arguably had the best car. Also since Indy he has a 7.5 average finish and has scored the second most points. Recently nobody has paced the field more than Harvick. Over the last six races he’s led in every race for a combined 693 laps.
Chassis Selection – On Sunday Kevin Harvick will be driving the same chassis he piloted earlier this year at Kansas. This chassis also seen track time at both Michigan races this year. In all three races he’s used this chassis he’s finished 2nd.
2. Jeff Gordon Kansas Fantasy NASCAR Analysis – Jeff Gordon seems very confident this week and has a little extra swagger following his win at the Monster Mile. When you combine that with all of his other intangibles you know he’ll perform well in the Kansas Hollywood Casino 400. If he has an incident free race I expect him to be battling near the front of the pack for the win at the end. Since the repaving at Kansas Jeff Gordon has been very strong. Evidence of that is his win this spring. In his other races on the new surface he’s also performed well and his 6.8 average finish is tied for the 4th best. I think of Kansas as a mini Michigan and in August he raced his way to victory lane at that venue. In practice I think Jeff Gordon showed good speed. In Happy Hour his overall practice speed ranked as the 8th best and his ten lap average ranked as the 12th best. Since he’s starting up front, has momentum and appears to have a good car you can count on him contending for the win in the Kansas Hollywood Casino 400.
Starting Position – 5th
Track History – This spring Jeff Gordon raced his way to victory lane at Kansas. He didn’t have the best car but he wasn’t that far off from Kevin Harvick. The strength of the 24 was being good over long runs. In that respect I think he was about equal to Harvick. Jeff Gordon’s victory can largely be attributed to his final pit stop. It was quicker than Harvick’s and it got him the lead. In the event Gordon only led 9 laps and 8 of them were the final 8 laps. If Gordon didn’t get the lead following the final pit cycle I don’t think he would’ve won. Last fall Gordon also had a good performance and was very strong over long runs. In that event he started in 14th, had a 12th place average running position, earned the 6th best driver rating and finished 3rd. In the race he had a solid afternoon and early in the event he climbed up into the top five. Then in the middle portion of the race he ran mid pack because of pit strategy. At the end because of pit strategy he climbed up to the front again. In spring 2013 he started in the back because of a wreck in qualifying but he raced his way up to a 13th place finish. In that event he always seemed like he was a little off in his backup car. In the first race on the current configuration he had a good performance. He started in 17th, had a 9th place average running position and finished in 10th. From about lap #75 and on he never really ran outside the top ten. I would estimate his average running position in that portion of the race would likely be right around 6th. At the end of that event I don’t think he was compliant with the 100% rule because Jimmie Johnson finished 1 spot ahead of him with a damaged car.
Similar Track Performances – This season on 1.5 mile tracks Jeff Gordon has scored the most points and has a series best 6.3 average finish. Also in the races at tracks of this length he has the best driver rating and an 8.3 average running position.
Odds To Win – 4/1
Momentum – Jeff Gordon has lots of momentum heading into Kansas fresh off his win at Dover. In three of the last four races he’s finished in the top two. In the Chase Jeff Gordon has a series best 4.3 average running position.
Chassis Selection – On Sunday Jeff Gordon will be driving a chassis he’s raced to victory lane twice this year. He won with it at Michigan and at Indy.
Further Recommended Reading – Post Practice Predictions (another fantasy take),Starting Lineup, Happy Hour Speeds, Happy Hour Notes, Practice #2 Speeds, Practice #2 Notes, PROS Rankings, Scouting Report
3. Joey Logano Kansas Fantasy NASCAR Analysis – Joey Logano will be strong in the Kansas Hollywood Casino 400 and he’s a driver who I expect to contend for the win. On Sunday he’ll be starting 4th. Track position is of utmost importance at this venue so that bodes well for him. In the last two races at Kansas he’s also started in the top five and in those races he parlayed his good starting position into a pair of 4th place finishes. The main attribute I like about Joey Logano is how strong he’s been on high-speed intermediate tracks this season. At these venues in 2014 he’s scored the 2nd most points and has finished in the top five more than anybody. In practice Joey Logano showed good speed. His overall speed in Happy Hour ranked as the 9th best and his ten lap average ranked as the 5th best.
Starting Position – 4th
Track History – Logano has been successful the last two times the series visited Kansas. Currently he has back to back 4th place finishes. This spring he was very competitive and outside of Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon he probably had the next best car. His 3rd best PROS Rankings reflects that. In the race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position, finished 4th and led 63 laps. Throughout the duration of the event his car was one of the strongest. Last fall Logano had a great car. He started in 5th, had a 6th place average running position, finished 4th, earned the 3rd best driver rating and led 33 laps. His car in the race was very good and he even overcame other drivers pit strategies which shuffled him from the lead back to about 13th. In spring 2013 he didn’t perform well and he got caught up in a wreck when Kyle Busch spun. At the time he was running in 24th so it’s not like he was going to have a good afternoon anyways. In the first race on the new surface he ran in the top ten early but after he fell back in traffic he was no longer competitive and when the checkered flag waved he finished 24th.
Similar Track Performances – This season on 1.5 mile tracks Joey Logano has been very strong. At these venues he’s scored the second most points, has a 6.9 average finish and a 6.6 average running position. Also at these venues no driver has finished in the top five more than him.
Odds To Win – 8/1
Momentum – Logano currently has four straight top six finishes. Since Indy Logano has scored the most points and has a 4.7 average finish. In the Chase Logano is the only driver who’s finished in the top five every race.
Chassis Selection – On Sunday Joey Logano will be driving the chassis he drove to a 3rd place finish at Pocono in August.