Kansas Fantasy Spin – Denny Hamlin’s had a tough 2022, but at Kansas there’s hope! Hamlin’s performed at an elite level here, and at Las Vegas, the most similar track visited, Hamlin was a top five contender until drive train problems on pit road in the final segment. In that race, Hamlin led 31 laps, had the best Total Speed Ranking, the best green flag speed and was running in 6th shortly before his demise on pit road. With how 2022 has gone for Hamlin, he’s going to be risky, but he clearly has upside for those willing to roll the dice.
Kansas Track History – Denny Hamlin has been strong at Kansas and over the last five races, he has 2 wins and 3 results in the top 5. Last fall, Hamlin finished 5th in Stage #1, 8th in Stage #2, had a 6.9 average running position and then finished 5th when the checkered flag waved. In terms of speed analytics, Hamlin had the 6th best Total Speed Ranking and the 7th best Green Flag Speed. In spring 2021, 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. In fall 2020, 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.
Kansas Fantasy Spin – At Kansas, there’s certainly things to like about Kurt Busch, but I think he’s a hard driver to trust. At this mid-west track, he’s been solid, and you also have to like his 8th (Auto Club) and 13th (Las Vegas) place results at high-speed intermediate tracks visited this year. That said, on Sunday, I’m going to view Busch as a risky low double-digit to mid-teens driver.
Kansas Track History – Kurt Busch is a strong performer at Kansas. Busch had a great race last fall and since 2019 minus 2020 #2 where his engine blew up, Busch has a 7.8 average finish. Last fall, Busch finished 4th, had a 5.7 average running position, had the 4th best Total Speed Ranking and the 4th best Green Flag Speed. In spring 2021, Busch finished 15th and had a 13.2 average running position. I’ll note that race was really before the #1 team started to run well that season. In fall 2020, Busch was a top ten contender, but finished an asterisk mark 38th after his engine blew up. In the race, Busch was caught speeding during the competition caution while running in 8th at lap 25, rebounded to finish 9th in Stage #2, but then around lap 194 while he was running in 8th he started to complain about his engine, and then a few laps later it blew up. In the three Kansas races prior to that, Busch had a 6.7 average finish.
Kansas Fantasy Spin – At Kansas, Erik Jones has dark horse potential. He’s had some great runs here in the past back when he was in the #20, but the key attribute I like about him is how well he ran at Las Vegas until he had problems late. At “Sin City”, Jones was running in 7th with 9 laps to go until he crashed which led to his asterisk mark 31st. In that race, Jones had the 14th best Total Speed Ranking. At Auto Club, the other high-speed intermediate track visited this year, Jones finished 3rd. On Sunday, I’m going to view hm as a low double-digit driver who has a great chance to sneak in a top ten.
Kansas Track History – Erik Jones has had some great runs in the past at Kansas, but over his last three races he’s finished in the 20’s. In the five prior to his cold streak, he finished between 3rd to 7th. Last fall, Dillon finished a clunker 29th. In the race his Total Speed Ranking was the 23rd best. I think he likely had some sort of issue since flat tires were an epidemic, but non-Playoff drivers like him don’t get coverage. His speed over the segments were 24th, 16th, 32nd and then 18th. In spring 2021, Jones didn’t run well. He finished 25th, had a 26.3 average running position and had the 29th best Total Speed Ranking. In fall 2020 in the #20, Jones ran well, but finished an asterisk mark 20th. In the race he finished 5th in Stage #1, but then in Stage #2 he had a run-in with Matt Kenseth and after that he never ran all that well again. In his five starts prior to that he had finishes of 5th, 7th, 3rd, 4th and 7th.