This week the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to the midwest for the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway (Saturday, May 11, 7:30pm ET on Fox Sports 1). The cars will have the lower, 550 horsepower package with aero ducts. This 1.5 mile D-shaped oval is similar to Las Vegas, so you can examine results from earlier this year to help you make your lineups. Speeds should be fairly high (considering the horsepower) since the race is at night.
Tech inspections will be during the day Saturday, and anyone who fails at least once will start from the rear. If any fast cars start from there (such as Kevin Harvick or his Stewart Haas teammates), I would lock them in my DraftKings roster.
One interesting item of note is that in six out of the 26 races run here, drivers won after starting first. That includes two of the past three races. Since the package is different from previous years, that may not be the case this time, but you could still have the pole winner in your lineup. He would have great opportunity to lead laps, which would give you bonus points for your DraftKings contest.
Now, here are my picks!
Note: “Q” indicates qualifying position, subject to change after inspection
Kevin Harvick ($10,600) Q: 1
Career at Kansas: 26 starts, 3 wins, 8 top fives, 14 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 9.7
It’s no surprise that Harvick is my first choice in DraftKings; he simply had the fastest car today. Not only did he have the quickest average lap times, but he also won the pole, and is in prime position to lead laps. In the four previous events where he started first, he led 138, 119, 61, and 79 laps, and captured the victory twice (including the 2018 Spring race).
This year, Harvick has only scored under 40 DraftKings points once (at Talladega), and could be good value for his price due to his upside (85 points at Atlanta). Stewart-Haas racing could be a sneaky stack for your lineups, as the team qualified one-four. Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, and Daniel Suarez had blistering speeds, and could earn you bonus points for fastest laps.
Kyle Busch ($11,900) Q: 13
Career at Kansas: 22 starts, 1 wins, 6 top fives, 10 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 16.3
I wouldn’t say this is Kyle Busch’s best track, but he does have good history here. Busch won this race in 2016 and has a unique finishing pattern since. He completed the following races fifth, fifth, 10th, 10th, and second. Perhaps he could give you a small boost in your DraftKings score and finish second again?
This year, Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole has been on fire. Busch won three times so far, Martin Truex Jr won twice in the past three races, and Denny Hamlin has two victories. That’s a total of seven out of 11 events in 2019. This type of strength could be shown at Kansas under the lights, and could help you be in the green.
Kurt Busch ($9,600) Q: 14
Career at Kansas: 26 starts, 0 wins, 3 top fives, 9 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 16.1
The Busch brothers tied in qualifying with the exact same speed to the nearest thousandth of a second. However, Kurt Busch posted the fastest lap time in final practice. Based on this, he can earn you points for fastest laps, as well as potentially positive place differential. So far in 2019, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has seven top 10s, most of those after starting outside of tenth place. Look for Kurt Busch to have similar results in Kansas.
Kyle Larson ($8,700) Q: 8
Career at Kansas: 10 starts, 0 wins, 3 top fives, 4 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 17.5
Whew; Larson can breathe a sigh of relief after finishing last week’s Dover race right where he started in third. Hopefully his bad luck is now out of the way, since he has good history at Kansas. Larson has three top 10 finishes of the previous four races here, including both events in 2018. However, he only began in the top 10 three out of 10 starts. In 2017, he started ninth, and ran well enough to end the race sixth. He and his CGR teammate Kurt Busch could also be a sneaky stack for your roster.
Martin Truex Jr ($11,400) Q: 6
Career at Kansas: 21 starts, 2 wins, 8 top fives, 9 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 14
After taming Miles the Monster (and flying through the field victoriously), I had to include Truex as one of my picks. His price is the second highest on the slate, however, so stacking him with his teammate Kyle Busch may be hard to accomplish. Truex is certainly worthy of making the cut on your lineup, because of JGR’s strength this season. In addition, he won both 2017 races, and is on a four-race top 10 streak at Kansas. Constructing your lineup to fit some of the top-tier drivers will be difficult; read on for my value picks.
David Ragan ($5,500) Q: 33
Career at Kansas: 20 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 23.9
Ragan has excellent finishing positions within the last two years at this track. From 2017-2018, he started in the mid-lower end of the field, but earned between seven and 27 spots in that span. He makes my honorable mention because of this and his potential fantasy value. He starts all the way back in 33rd, but as I mentioned, he can score a large amount of DraftKings points if he continues the recent track trend.
As long as Ragan doesn’t encounter bad luck such as what happened here in 2015 (below), he should be a great addition to your lineup.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 10, 2015
Dark Horse Performer
Tyler Reddick ($6,300) Q: 30
Truck Career at Kansas: 2 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 13
Reddick is definitely a dark horse, since his only Cup start came earlier this year at Daytona. He did race here in 2015-2016 in a truck, and finished 13th both races. While driving the No. 2 car for Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series this season, Reddick’s only finished outside the top 10 once in 10 races. That includes a seven-race streak of top five finishes and a win at Talladega.
This week he is driving the No. 31 Chevrolet for RCR, and is in prime position to finish higher than 30th to give you bonus points.