NASCAR Picks for Kansas
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Menard should definitely be high on the list of potential sleepers this weekend. After all, he has finished inside the top 20 in his last six starts at Kansas, and he has four top-12 finishes during the stretch. Menard also finished a career-best third at the track last fall and followed it up with a top-10 run earlier this year.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Believe it or not, Busch is still looking for his first top-five finish at Kansas. That being said, he does have five top-15s in his last seven starts at the track, including a 15th-place effort earlier this year. Fantasy owners should probably save him for another week in Yahoo! leagues, but he should still salvage a decent day.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His career numbers at Kansas aren't that impressive; in eight starts, Vickers has managed just one top-10 finish. However, he has never made a start at the track with Michael Waltrip Racing, and the organization has had a lot of success at the track recently. Vickers could benefit from the setup info at MWR and end up being a sneaky play this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class C]
The sample size is small, but Stenhouse could make a decent sleeper pick this weekend. After all, the rookie finished 11th in his Kansas debut earlier this year. Sure, Stenhouse is a bit of an unknown after just one start at Kansas, but his fast start is encouraging nonetheless.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
On one hand, Hamlin won at Kansas last season, and he hasn't finished worse than 16th in his last seven starts the track. On the flip side, he has been a huge disappoint for the past couple of months. At some point, Hamlin is going to break out of his slump. However, fantasy owners may want to wait until after that happens to trust him.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has been tough to predict as Tony Stewart's replacement, but on paper he should have a decent run Sunday. After all, Martin is a former winner at the track, and he finished in the top 10 in the April race earlier this year. Meanwhile, the No. 14 team has six top-15s in seven starts at Kansas with Stewart, including a win. Martin is worth stashing on the bench in Yahoo! leagues, but owners should make sure he looks solid in practice before trusting him on race day.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
While his 18.8 average finish at Kansas isn't much to get excited about, McMurray has been in a quiet groove at the track recently. He finished in the top 15 in both his starts at Kansas last year; and in April, he finished a solid seventh. McMurray is far from a sure thing, but he has some upside as a potential sleeper pick.
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. In his 12 starts since, he has managed just a single top-10 and no top-five finishes. Newman did finish 14th at Kansas earlier this year, but at this point a top-15 is probably his ceiling.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Kansas has never been kind to Logano. In eight starts at the track, he has an ugly 26.1 average finish and has never finished better than 15th. More concerning are his four finishes outside the top 25. Logano has enjoyed a career year, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him have his best run at Kansas to date. That being said, he is still a very risky pick.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
After failing to crack the top-20 in both races at Kansas last year, Almirola made big strides at the track in June, finishing a career-best eighth. Expecting another top-10 from him this weekend may be asking a bit much, but Almirola could be worth taking a chance on as a potential sleeper.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Ambrose has actually been enjoying a decent stretch at Kansas the past couple of years. He has reeled off four straight top-20 finishes at the track, including finishes of ninth and 12th in the last two fall events. Ambrose has never been the most consistent driver at oval tracks, but owners scrambling to find sleepers late in the year could do worse.
Juan Montoya, #42 Target, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
In nine starts at Kansas, Montoya has managed just a single top-10 finish and has compiled an uninspiring 19.6 average finish. Worse yet, he has only cracked the top 15 in two of his nine starts. Plain and simple, Montoya just doesn't offer fantasy owners a lot of upside this weekend.
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