KC Masterpiece 400 Preview

Ed. – The second segment of Dan’s Nascar pool is coming up in May and he’s opening it up to anyone interested. If you are already well out of it in your season long pool or are just looking to get in on a growing pool, check out the Rubbin’s Racing Round 2 Rules & Settings!

It seems Kevin Harvick finally tired from all the Kyle Busch coverage lately and decided to throw up another 60 point sweep for good measure. Stewart-Haas Racing has now won 5 of the first 11 races, and all four SHR drivers sit at 11th or better in the point standings. It’s a long season, but this is currently the team and manufacturer (Ford) to beat thus far. This week, the series heads to the breadbasket of America for our second Saturday night tilt under the lights.

KANSAS SPEEDWAY

Kansas Speedway is a 1.5 mile, D-shaped intermediate oval located on the western outskirts of Kansas City, KANSAS (I’ve heard Kansans have a huge superiority complex with Kansas City, MO, so I want to be fair). The banking is much more shallow compared to the previous intermediates we’ve seen up to this point, but do not say the word ‘flat’ around Kansans either. Anyway, it’s really a track of its own uniqueness when we factor in all the specs. Personally, I think it drives most like Chicago and Kentucky, with honorable mention to Las Vegas (minus the banking disparity). Kansas definitely has multiple racing grooves, so we should see a lot of battles for position throughout the racetrack. As for today’s completely unrelated fun fact about Kansas: in Kansas, a landlocked state, it is illegal to hunt whales…

PIT STALL PICKS: THE DOWNFORCE, THE DRAFT, & THE DRAG

This section is less about prognostication, and more about highlighting drivers catching my eye at a given moment. We all play in different formats and have different strategies, but hopefully this adds some value to your results. Good luck!

THE DOWNFORCE (start ’em)

Winners profiled: 55%
Top-5 finishers: 51%
Top-10 finishers: 73%
Avg Finish Position/profile: 9.8
Avg Points/profile: 36.2

Martin Truex Jr. (Pit Stall Rating 141.07, 4th) – Hey, it’s an intermediate track, right? Martin has won the last two Kansas events, and since he’s such an obvious pick, I’m going to use his space to clarify something of importance. Kansas was repaved for the 2013 season, which leaves us 10 races to look at between then and now. Truex has won 2 of them, and even though I initially chose these guys on much different criteria, the rest of this list owns the remainder of the victories accrued during the “new era.”

Kyle Busch (Pit Stall Rating 226.73, 1st) – Kyle Busch has gone from average to exceptional ever since the repave. Kyle has a streak of 6 consecutive top-tens going, 5 of which were top-fives, and 1 of which was a win. Over the last 5 races, Kyle has run 97% of the laps in the top-15 positions. For context on this stat, it is 6% better than his next closest competitor, who just happens to be…

Kevin Harvick (Pit Stall Rating 199.00, 2nd) – While Kyle Busch owns the best average finish, Harvick wins the average loop rating metric this week at 119.4. Kevin Harvick has been another driver generally thriving on the newer surfaces, as he has blatantly owned the likes of Kansas, Phoenix and Texas since their respective repaves. At Kansas, Kevin is the only driver to finish all 10 “new era” races in the top-20 (this includes 2 wins and 6 top-fives).

Jimmie Johnson (Pit Stall Rating 81.36, 6th) – Pass Differential is probably only applicable to those of you playing DFS games, but Jimmie has been the best driver for that at Kansas, as he typically starts the race 7 positions worse than he finishes. In addition to not qualifying well, this could also indicate repetitive mistakes on pit road forcing the driver to do a lot of work on-track. For the rest of us competing for stage points, these may not be the most encouraging nuggets of information, but Jimmie has been solid here in terms of finishing. He has 1 win, 4 top-fives, and 6 top-tens during the last 10 races. This #48 team is starting to get some positive momentum going.

Joey Logano (Pit Stall Rating 45.95, 13th) – Joey has had two wins here on the new surface, and shares the most top-fives with Kevin Harvick (6). Nobody has had more “checkers or wreckers” style results at Kansas, so be leery of that consideration. Suffice it to say, the upside is there, especially considering he’s running 2nd in the current points standings right now.

THE DRAFT (dark horse)

Ryan Blaney (Pit Stall Rating 153.64, 3rd) – Ryan Blaney only has 6 Kansas races on his resume, but 4 of them have concluded with a top-ten finish. He finished 4th and 3rd in last year’s tests, and delivered a solid finish at Dover last weekend – an extremely challenging track with a not-so-stellar history for him.

Matt Kenseth (Pit Stall Rating 71.71, 7th) – As a special add-on this week, former champion and future Hall of Famer Matt Kenseth will make his return to Rousch Fenway Racing this weekend, stealing some seat time from Trevor Bayne in the #6 ride. It will be interesting to see how much rust Matt will need to knock away after an extended absence (only 5 months, but still). More importantly, I’m curious where this car can be by simply putting a well-rounded driver at the helm. Matt is a two-time winner at Kansas in his career, and owns a 54% top-10 percentage (50% on new surface).

THE DRAG (avoid ’em)

Kyle Larson (Pit Stall Rating 27.59, 22nd) – In 8 career attempts at Kansas, Kyle has been all over the board. He did finish 6th in this race last year, and you can never truly count this kid out of any race, just to be clear. That said, he has failed to finish on the lead lap in 4 of the last 5 Kansas events, all resulting in finishes of 29th or worse. Too big of a leap of faith for me to consider.

AVERAGE FINISH POSITION @ KANSAS (last 5 track events)

5.2, #18 Kyle Busch
6.0, #4 Kevin Harvick
6.6, #12 Ryan Blaney
8.4, #78 Martin Truex Jr.
8.6, #41 Kurt Busch

AVERAGE LOOP RATING @ KANSAS (last 5 track events)

119.4, #4 Kevin Harvick
118.5, #78 Martin Truex Jr.
117.9, #18 Kyle Busch
109.0, #6 Matt Kenseth
104.1, #12 Ryan Blaney

2018 MOMENTUM (last 5 overall races this season)

42.8, #4 Kevin Harvick
42.4, #22 Joey Logano
41.8, #18 Kyle Busch
36.2, #41 Kurt Busch
34.0, #14 Clint Bowyer

Dan Roman Contributor|User role
Dan Roman is an opinion writer, content contributor, and league manager from Charlotte, North Carolina – the proud home of NASCAR! Dan is passionate about furthering the reach of NASCAR, and expanding its base of fans and fantasy players everywhere. In his spare time, Dan enjoys simulator racing on iRacing.com, and learning the nuances of motorsports; including racing physics, setup configurations, strategy, and history. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NASCAR Pools Online.

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