On Sunday, NASCAR will be racing at Kansas, the final 1.5 mile track of the season, and the last 1.5 mile track ever visited with the current generation car. Kansas is a low-wear 1.5 mile intermediate track that has progressive banking, which provides racing grooves from the top of the track to the bottom.
In terms of variables I want in a driver at Kansas I want ….
- A driver who’s run well at low-wear intermediates in 2021 (Low-Wear 1.5 Mile Track Total Speed Rankings)
- A driver who’s run well at high-speed intermediate tracks in 2021 (High-Speed Intermediate Track Total Speed Rankings)
- A driver who consistently runs well at Kansas
- A driver who’s been showing up with speed in recent races (Total Speed Ranking Momentum)
- A driver who’s starting relatively near the front. (Kansas Starting Lineup)
Kansas Fantasy NASCAR Rankings
1) Kyle Larson (Starting – 1st)
Kansas Fantasy Spin – At Kansas, the road to victory lane will go thru Kyle Larson. Larson was the class of the field this spring, and he’s been the premiere performer at high-speed intermediate tracks this season. This year at low-wear 1.5 mile tracks (5 races in total), Larson has 3 wins, the best driver rating, he’s averaged leading 182.6 laps per race and he has the best Total Speed Ranking. “Performance Wise”, Larson could easily be 5 for 5 at reaching victory lane, but problems kept him out of victory lane in the two races he didn’t win. In terms of speed on this sub-track type, Larson has fielded the fastest car in 3 of the last 4 races. The #5 team is already locked in the season finale, but don’t look for Larson to ease up. On Sunday, look for Larson to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Kansas Track History – Kansas has been a great track for Kyle Larson and he’s been in contention to win multiple races in the past. This spring, Larson was the class of the field, but victory lane eluded him thanks to late cautions. In the race, Larson started deep in the field in 32nd, but cracked the top ten on lap 12! When Stage #1 ended, Larson finished 2nd. In Stage #2 he finished 1st. Late in the race, Larson looked to have the race in hand, but late cautions cost him what looked like a certain victory. During the final restart with 2 laps to go, Larson was pushing Blaney and got into the wall, which then tumbled him in the running order to his 19th place finish. In the race, Larson led 132 laps (49.4% of the race), had a 3.2 average running position, was tied for having the best driver rating and had the best Total Speed Ranking. In terms of speed by segment, Larson ranked 4th, 1st, 1st and then 1st. In 2020, Larson missed both races, but in his four Kansas starts prior to that he had a 7.3 average finish. In fall 2019 in his next most recent race, Larson led 60 of the first 76 laps, but finished 14th. I’ll note, Larson was involved in a caution after Joey Gase got into him while he was running around 7th on lap 116, and then with 18 to go before late cautions came out in mass he was running in 5th. In spring 2019, Larson finished 8th and earned the 10th best driver rating. In fall 2018, Larson started in the rear of the field in a backup car, but raced his way up to a 3rd place finish. In spring 2018, Larson was the class of the field, but finished a misleading 4th. In the race he started in the back, led the most laps (101), earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position, finished 5th in Stage #1 and won Stage #2. Before late cautions came out, Larson was driving away from the field. Him finishing 4th is extremely impressive when you consider he wrecked while running in 3rd with 20 laps to go which dropped him back to the teens. In fall 2017, Larson’s engine blew up while he was running in 3rd. In spring 2017 he finished 6th.
DraftKings $11,700 / FanDuel $14,500
2) Denny Hamlin (Starting – 6th)
Kansas Fantasy Spin – Denny Hamlin will be tough to beat at Kansas. Hamlin’s won 2 of the last 4 races here, and this spring he was once again in the mix to win until he had problems late. Las Vegas is the most similar 1.5 mile track on the schedule, and just a few weeks ago there he led 137 laps, had the 2nd best Total Speed Ranking and raced his way to victory lane. This year at low-wear 1.5 mile tracks, Hamlin has the 5th best Total Speed Ranking and minus Kansas #1 where he had a misleading result, Hamlin has a 5.8 average finish. On Sunday, look for Hamlin to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Kansas Track History – Denny Hamlin is one of the best in the business at Kansas. He’s a three-time winner, and two of those wins have come in the last four races. This spring, Hamlin had one of the best cars and was a contender to win, but he finished an asterisk mark 12th. In the race, Hamlin started 20th, finished 9th in Stage #1, 3rd in Stage #2, had an 8.2 average running position and his Total Speed Ranking was tied for being the 3rd best. Over the segments, Hamlin had speed rankings of 11th, 3rd, 2nd and 2nd. On lap 242 while leading, Hamlin got into the wall hard which led to his misleading result. Last fall, Hamlin was fast, but finished an asterisk mark 15th. In the race he finished 3rd in Stage #1, won Stage #2 and led 58 laps. Early in the final Stage trouble struck. On lap 180 while he was battling for 5th he got into the wall which led to an unexpected pit stop which dropped him off the lead lap back to 29th. Prior to the last segment in terms of speed, Hamlin had speed rankings of 5th, 1st and 3rd over the first three quarters. In summer 2020, Hamlin came up clutch and made a late pass for the win. In addition to finishing 1st, Hamlin led 57 laps, had a 3.1 average running position, finished 2nd in Stage #1, 4th in Stage #2 and had the best Total Speed Ranking. In fall 2019, Hamlin had a stellar showing and raced his way to victory lane from the 23rd place starting position. In the race he finished 8th in Stage #1, won Stage #2, had a 4.6 average running position and led 153 laps.
DraftKings $11,000 / FanDuel $13,500
3) Kyle Busch (Starting – 4th)
Kansas Fantasy Spin – Kyle Busch will be tough to beat at Kansas. Busch raced his way to victory lane here this spring, and since the start of the 2020 Playoffs at 1.5 mile tracks he’s performed at a super-elite level. Over the last 11 races at tracks of this length, Busch has 2 wins, a series best 4.3 average finish, 8 top fives and he’s the only driver who’s finished in the top 10 every race. Las Vegas is a similar 1.5 mile track, and a few weeks ago he finished 3rd there. On Sunday, look for Busch to be a top five contender who’ll be in the mix to win.
Kansas Track History – Kyle Busch is an elite performer at Kansas. He’s a two-time winner and in 12 of the last 13 races he’s finished in the top 11. Over the last four combined Kansas races, Busch’s 5.0 average finish ranks as the 2nd best. This spring, Busch had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. In the race, Busch started 9th, won Stage #1, finished 2nd in Stage #2, led 20 laps, had the best driver rating, was the Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had the 2nd best Total Speed Ranking. When Busch had to, he legitimately outraced Kyle Larson. Last fall, Busch was solid. In the race he finished 10th in Stage #1, 5th overall, had an 11.7 average running position and had the 11th best Total Speed Ranking. Over the last segment of the race, Busch was clearly at his best. In summer 2020, Busch had a great car. He won Stage #1, finished 5th in Stage #2, led 52 laps, had the 4th best Total Speed Ranking but finished a misleading 11th. With 40 laps to go while he was running in the top five he slammed into the wall hard which led to an unexpected pit stop. In fall 2019, Busch finished 3rd, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 7.1 average running position, finished 5th in Stage #1 and 10th in Stage #2.
DraftKings $10,700 / FanDuel $13,000