The NASCAR Cup Series begins its Round of 8 in the Sunflower State this Sunday as just four races remain in the 2020 season. Let’s get your NASCAR DraftKings lineups ready for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway!
Sunday marks the second time drivers will race on the 1.5-mile tri-oval using the low-horsepower, high-downforce package. Last time out, there were eight cautions for incidents, including a few nasty wrecks. Hopefully, there won't be as many destroyed race cars on Sunday but set your lineup knowing attrition here is higher than other intermediates.
That July race saw multiple competitors spending time up front, leading a number of laps; no one dominated the race or came close to the "century mark." It was quite unusual as a driver had led 100 or more laps in each Kansas Cup event since fall 2015. Keep this trend in mind when you create your DraftKings roster. Finding the driver who will run up front continuously, scoring you bonus points is what will win your contest.
Remember, DraftKings awards 0.50 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 points for each lap led. Additionally, the site adds or subtracts a point for each position a driver gains or loses on track. Finally, the driver in first place scores the most points (46). Second place gets 42 DraftKings points, third gets 41, and so on. The key in daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings is not only to target the best drivers but the ones who gain the most positions from where they start. Here's a complete rundown of DraftKings' NASCAR scoring rules.
Before I move on to my DraftKings picks for Kansas, I'll review the results from last weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
NASCAR DraftKings Score
Martin Truex Jr.
Well, the good news for this lineup is Chase Elliott won. The bad news is Michael McDowell had a problem very late in the race, causing him to lose several spots. He finished a disappointing 32nd despite his road course expertise. In short, it wasn't a good day for my value plays and it negated the value of Elliott's win.
The minimum cashing score in the $1 single-entry double-up was 224. In the $1 Happy Hour tournament, 243.75 points were needed to earn $1.56.
DraftKings Daily Fantasy NASCAR Plays/Sample Lineup for Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway
Denny Hamlin ($10,600)
Career at Kansas: 24 starts, 3 wins, 8 top fives, 9 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 14.5
Hamlin is a strong favorite to win this race, as he's won the past two held at Kansas. He led 57 laps en route to victory in July and dominated during last year's playoff event. Additionally, he recorded 34 and 26 fastest laps in those races, respectively. These strong performances produced high scores on DraftKings, including 86.3 earlier this season.
While the No. 11 Toyota driver had a lot of trouble at the Charlotte ROVAL, he earned good finishes in the two postseason races prior to that. Before Hamlin won at Talladega Superspeedway, he placed third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after leading 121 circuits. That strong performance (which included 51 fastest laps) resulted in 103.8 fantasy points on DraftKings.
Hamlin's done very well on the 1.5-mile courses so far this season and I don't think that's ending anytime soon. He starts seventh and should fairly easily get to the front to lead laps, boosting your DraftKings score atop your roster.
Brad Keselowski ($10,100)
Career at Kansas: 21 starts, 2 wins, 5 top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 12.0
Keselowski is a two-time winner at Kansas, most recently in last year's spring event. Though he led only 12 laps, it was just enough to get to the lead and hold off Alex Bowman in overtime.
Unfortunately, the 2012 Cup Series champ enters this playoff race without a ton of momentum. He hasn't had a top-10 result in the past month since winning at Richmond Raceway. Runs of 13th, 18th, and 18th last round had Keselowski using regular-season bonus points as a cushion to advance.
In July, the No. 2 Team Penske pilot held the top spot for 30 circuits and notched 27 quickest laps before ending runner-up to Hamlin at Kansas. Keselowski earned 68 DraftKings points as a result.
While this speedway isn't his best track, Keselowski's certainly capable of winning and securing a position in the Championship 4. Watch for him to be near the front when the chips are played at the end of the day.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,700)
Career at Kansas: 11 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 26.8
DiBenedetto certainly wants to redeem himself in this event after getting caught up in a big wreck at Kansas earlier this season. Before that, Matty D showed promise here; he ended 12 positions further than his starting spot in last year's event (27th to 15th).
It would be difficult for DiBenedetto to match that feat this week, as he'll start 18th. But he's had some strong results at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
At Las Vegas, DiBenedetto moved up to the front on a late restart and finished second behind Kurt Busch. Eight laps led helped increase his DraftKings total to 62.5. Additionally, he pushed Cole Custer to the victory at Kentucky Speedway in July before ultimately placing third. Those top-five finishes are some of the best runs of Matty D's Cup career.
Though DiBenedetto exited out of the playoffs in an earlier round, he did have good news after Talladega: Wood Brothers Racing announced that he would continue to drive the No. 21 Ford for another year. Maybe this good news can garner some momentum down the stretch for an organization seeking NASCAR Cup Series win No. 100.
Austin Dillon ($7,500)
Career at Kansas: 14 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 3 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 17.9
Dillon finished several laps down in the first race at Kansas, but that was an anomaly. In 2018, he earned an average finish of 14th in two events, gaining 12 positions in one race to wind up 11th. Dillon also wound up sixth twice here in 2016.
The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing driver also won at another 1.5-mile track: Texas Motor Speedway, earlier this season. The organization called a special strategy late in the race for both Tyler Reddick and Dillon, a move that worked in their favor. Dillon held on during several restarts to win and lock himself in the 2020 playoffs.
Though Dillon starts 17th, eliminated from title contention, he can still secure a good finish that would help you cash your DraftKings contests. Another gutsy strategy call combined with top-10 speed is enough to make a big difference at this price.
Chris Buescher ($6,700)
Career at Kansas: 9 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 19.4
Yes, I know there's a pattern here as Buescher, too, crashed out of the Kansas race in July like DiBenedetto. But that was only the second DNF of his career here. By comparison, Buescher's had five top 20s and wound up sixth at this track in fall 2017, 14 spots higher than where he began.
Also, at LVMS last month, the No. 17 Ford driver for Roush Fenway Racing scored 45 DraftKings points after ending the race in ninth. He'll start 21st on Sunday, meaning another top 10 will produce another high DraftKings score. Plus, this salary is low, so you can fit two or three dominators in your lineup with Buescher in it. Lock him in your DraftKings roster and watch it pay off.
Dark Horse Performer
Matt Kenseth ($6,600)
Career at Kansas: 26 starts, 2 wins, 7 top fives, 13 top 10s
Average finish at Kansas: 15.0
While Kenseth has done well in the past at Kansas, he's struggled since returning to NASCAR in mid-May. The 48-year-old often encountered tire or mechanical trouble, crashing out of multiple races. So why is he my dark horse performer? One reason: starting position. Kenseth will wheel Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 42 Chevrolet from 30th this Sunday. That's his worst start this year, and one I will take advantage of to finish off my lineup.
Kenseth is still in good equipment -- heck, his teammate won just three weeks ago -- and I know CGR has more speed than some other organizations. While a win is highly unlikely for Kenseth, the resources here could propel him to a top-15 result. The position differential bonus points alone from that would be enough to hit his value. There's probably never a better time to play the veteran this season, as long as he doesn't wreck early.
(Top photo courtesy of ASP, Inc.)