The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back in action this weekend for Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The annual stop at the Kansas Speedway will mark the 12th race of the 2019 season, as by this point of the year, we have a pretty good understanding on who will be contenders each week or not.
The thing about this week is, there are plenty in the “questionable” category as their races could go either way this weekend. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them challenge for the win but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see them finish outside the top 10 too.
So, here’s what I see for this weekend.
Kyle Busch (+400)
He hasn’t finished worse than 10th all year. Busch, also has eight straight top 10 finishes at Kansas including six of which being in the top five.In practice on Friday, Busch was third and seventh respectively. Need I say more?
Kevin Harvick (+750)
Harvick, has eight top 10 finishes in his last 11 Kansas starts including being the defending race winner. Furthermore, out of his last six Kansas starts, four of which have resulted in a finish inside of the top three. Out of those 11 races, Harvick has six top two’s. He was quick in practice in being ninth and fourth respectively on single lap runs and quickest in both practices on the 10 lap averages.
Brad Keselowski (+750)
Keselowski, has just one top five finish on the track since 2012. Despite that, he does have a top 10 in each of the last three years at Kansas as well. But, over the last five races on the season, he’s only scored one top 10 (7th). He was fourth and eighth though in practice on Friday and second and 11th on the 10 lap averages.
Kyle Larson (+900)
Larson is searching for luck and maybe this is the place. Out of his last four Kansas starts, he’s finished in the top six in three of them. Unfortunately though, in his seven starts prior, Larson only had one top 10 (2nd) but four finishes of 15th or worse. Also, he finished third in the last race at Dover, so this could be the week. Larson, was eighth and 15th respectively on single lap runs on Friday and fifth in final practice on 10 lap averages.
Chase Elliott (+900)
Elliott won the Fall race at Kansas last year but all of his Kansas success is in that Fall race. In the Spring race, he’s finished ninth, 29th and 12th respectively. In the Fall race, he’s been 31st, fourth and first respectively. He does have two straight top five finishes on the season now too and was sixth quickest in final practice on single lap and 10 lap runs.
Jimmie Johnson (+2000)
Johnson used to be the man at Kansas with 14 top 10 finishes in a 16 race span between 2007 and 2016. In the four races since – 24th, 11th, 19th and 22nd respectively. He was sixth and 10th respectively in practice on Friday though.
Aric Almirola (+2500)
Almirola should be tough too. He finished ninth in the Fall race of 2017 with RPM. He was also ninth and 10th respectively in the two races a year ago as well. In practice, he was first and ninth respectively to go along with being second in final practice on 10 lap averages.
Kurt Busch (+2500)
Busch is one of Chevy’s best options as the new Chip Ganassi Racing driver has five top 10 finishes in his last eight Kansas starts. He’s been eighth, third, 19th and eighth respectively in his last four Spring starts too. On 1.5-milers this year, he’s finished third (Atlanta), fifth (Vegas) and ninth (Texas) respectively. Then, he was quickest in final practice and sixth and fourth respectively on 10 lap averages.
Clint Bowyer (+2500)
Bowyer is also a tough one to figure out this weekend. The SHR driver has five top 10 finishes in his last six starts on the season. He also has two top five finishes in the three races on 1.5-mile tracks this season. But, at Kansas, Bowyer has just one top 10 in his last four starts and that being a ninth place run in this race in 2017. But, in practice, his No. 14 Ford was second and third respectively on single lap runs and third quickest in final practice on the 10 lap average chart.
Alex Bowman (+6000)
He is coming off of two straight runner-up finishes and was 10th and second respectively in practice on Friday. Also, Bowman was seventh in final practice on the 10 lap averages and finished ninth at Kansas in the fall of last year.
William Byron (+8000)
He’s starting to find more speed and was fifth and 11th respectively in practice on Friday. Byron, was also in the top 10 in both sessions on the 10 lap averages too.
Martin Truex Jr. (+650)
Truex, has now won two of the last three Cup Series races. This weekend, it’s back to his bread and butter – a 1.5-mile track too. So far this season, Truex has finishes of second (Atlanta), eighth (Vegas) and 12th (Texas) on 1.5-milers. With Furniture Row Racing, Truex swept both races at Kansas in 2018 to go along with finishing second and fifth respectively on the 1.5-mile track a year ago. Also, over his last four spring race starts at Kansas, Truex has led the following laps – 95 (205), 172 (2016), 104 (2017) and 13 (2018). But, why he’s questionable is because Truex was only 27th and 21st respectively on single lap runs in practice and 18th on the 10 lap average chart in final practice.
Joey Logano (+750)
Logano has eight top 10 finishes in his last 12 tries but over the last few years, he does have three finishes of 21st or worse in his last six starts. Is he the 21st or worse driver or the one with seven top five’s since 2013. I say the latter. Logano, enters this weekend on a stretch of three top five finishes in his last four starts on the year as his worst result in the last month is seventh. But, like Truex, Logano was only 12th and 20th respectively on single lap runs in practice and just 19th and 21st on the 10 lap average chart
Ryan Blaney (+1100)
Blaney, is typically good at Kansas as he’s in a stretch of five top 10’s in his last seven starts there. But, he did crash and finish 37th in this race a year ago and 14th in the Fall race in 2016. Also, he does have four finishes of 15th or worse in his last five races on the season too and was only 11th and 16th in practice on Friday.
Denny Hamlin (+2000)
Hamlin, has five top 10 finishes in his last 12 Kansas starts but two of those were fifth place runs in the fall race of 2017 and the spring race last year. Also, on the season, Hamlin has a top 11 result in all but two races but unfortunately, those two races have come the last two weeks (36th, 21st). He was only 17th and fifth on single lap runs in practice and just 20th and 25th on the 10 lap.
Erik Jones (+2500)
Jones, finished in the top 10 in both races a year ago too including result of seventh (May) and fourth (October) respectively. But, over his last nine starts on the season, he has just two top 10 results. One came on the last 1.5-mile track at Texas with a fourth place run and the other a sixth place finish on Monday in Dover. Other than that, Jones has five finishes of 19th or worse in his last eight starts on the season.
Daniel Suarez (+4000)
Here’s another tough one. Suarez, has six top 13 finishes in his last seven starts on the year. He’s surging. At Kansas though, Suarez has finishes of seventh, 36th, 28th and 24th respectively. Granted, that was with Joe Gibbs Racing, not Stewart-Haas. Be wary here.