NASCAR Picks for Kansas
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Bowyer has been his typical solid self in his home-state track, posting a 14.0 average finish in nine starts. He has finished in the top 15 in six of those starts, and two of his four top-10s at the track have come in his last three starts. He isn't exactly a lock for a top-five finish this weekend, but another rock solid effort seems likely.
Tony Stewart, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class A]
The good news for Stewart is that he has finished in the top 15 in 12 of his 14 starts at Kansas, including six straight. He is also a two-time winner at the track and has six top-five finishes overall. On the flip side, he has been mired in a terrible slump all season, and there is no guarantee that he will live up to his previous results.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
While his first season with Penske Racing has been somewhat up and down, he has been at his best at the larger ovals. He finished 12th at Las Vegas, third at Auto Club and fifth last weekend at Texas. Granted, his 24.3 average finish at Kansas isn't exactly comforting, and he has never finished in the top 10 at the track. Still, his results at similar tracks so far in 2013 make him an intriguing fantasy option.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After a slow start at Kansas, Menard has reeled off five straight top-20 finishes at the track. During the stretch, he has cracked the top 12 three times, including a career-best third-place finish last fall. Given his recent results, Menard seems to be a lock for at least a top-20 finish this weekend, making him a solid sleeper play.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Martin actually won at Kansas back in 2005, but in recent years, he has been slowing down at the track. In fact, he has just one top-20 finish in his last four starts and one top-10 in his last five. Martin tends to salvage decent finishes more often than not, but fantasy owners shouldn't expect one of his better runs this weekend. He is probably best saved for another week, especially in Yahoo! leagues.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Kansas has never been Busch's best track, and in 14 starts, he has just three top-10s and zero top-five finishes. That being said, he has finished in the top 15 in four of his last six starts and three of his last four. Busch isn't a great fantasy option this weekend, but for owners without other options, he could at least sneak out a top-15.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
There weren't many bright spots for McMurray last year, but he was solid in both starts at Kansas. In fact, he finished in the top 15 in both starts at the track. Of course, McMurray hasn't finished in the top 10 at the track since 2004 (so his upside is limited), but a top-20 finish isn't out of the question.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
He made his first two career Cup starts at Kansas last year, finishing 23rd and 29th. However, he actually qualified fifth in the fall event and led more than 60 laps before wrecking while battling for the lead. Almirola had a car capable of winning the fall race at Kansas last year, and on the heels of a top-10 finish at Texas last weekend, he could make a strong sleeper play.
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
In his first three starts at Kansas, Newman logged two second-place finishes and a win. Since then, he has finished in the top 10 just once in 11 starts and has finished outside the top 15 in nine of those starts. Newman has shown no signs of recapturing the form he showed in his early starts, and he has gone from a great fantasy option at the track to a shaky one.
Sam Hornish, Jr., #12 SKF/AAA, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class C]
Sunday will mark his first Cup start in 2013, and Hornish could make an excellent sleeper play. After all, he finished 19th in the first race at Kansas last year and has two top-20s in his last four starts. Meanwhile, he has been on a roll in the Nationwide Series this season, and Hornish is arguably running better in stock cars right now than he ever has in his career.
Regan Smith, #51 Guy Roofing, Phoenix Racing
Smith will be back in the No. 51 this weekend at Kansas, and while he finished outside the top 20 in his first five starts at the track, he did finish seventh last fall. Granted, the top-10 finish came while he was subbing for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., but the No. 51 team has been solid this year, and a top-20 finish wouldn't be a big surprise.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
The road course ace has had some decent runs at Kansas lately, finishing ninth, 16th and 12th in his last three starts. On the flip side, he has been inconsistent at larger ovals throughout his career (including this year), and expecting anything more than a top-20 finish out of Ambrose is a recipe for disappointment.
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