Following Austin Dillon‘s third career Cup victory, and second via pit strategy, NASCAR makes the jog north up I-35 to Kansas Speedway. With a rare Thursday night race impending, let’s jump into this week’s preview and NASCAR DFS picks for what may be our last big NASCAR DFS slate of the season.
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Kansas Wonky Schedule
If you’re the kind of DFS player who worries about KBO, PGA, LoL, etc. during the week while focusing all of your weekend attention to NASCAR DFS, you will miss the boat this weekend. In what may be an attempt to give Cup drivers a semi-weekend off, this week’s Cup race goes down in two days on Thursday night. We’ve seen plenty of Wednesday night affairs. However, there was always a weekend race coming at the beginning of the new week. This week, they race Thursday and then don’t see Cup action again until August.
If you’re like most NASCAR DFS players, you dabble in Xfinity and Trucks. Their schedule has seen manipulation too. The Truck Series will race Friday night as well as Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Xfinity Series will race Saturday afternoon following the Trucks race.
The biggest thing to note is there will be no action at all Sunday. Furthermore, with the impending return of NHL, MLB and NBA, this weekend’s slates may be the largest we see for the rest of the season. So get your action in now. We may not see a grand prize north of $100,000 on either DraftKings or FanDuel for the rest of 2020.
There’s No Place Like Home
In 2020, some things are generally out of our and NASCAR’s control — case in point, this revised schedule. Throwing out the All-Star Race, this is our third straight Sunday of action at an intermediate oval. Furthermore, this is our seventh straight race featuring the 550-horsepower package. None of us are really that excited about seeing another D-shaped oval. However, this is better than the alternative, which is no racing.
Regardless, Kansas was part of the new track revolution birthed in the late 90s that includes sister tracks like Texas, Chicagoland, Kentucky and Homestead. If you’re looking for some quirk that differentiates Kansas versus what we’ve seen the last two Sundays, you’re not going to find it here.
The only real difference between Kansas and the past two races will be the placement of the sun. The green flag is scheduled for some time after 6:30 p.m. locally. Thus, this will technically be a night race. However, with the moon not expected to crest the horizon until after 9 p.m., the majority of the 267 laps will run under a cascading sun.
Part of the issue with the late-90s crop of tracks was the type of racing that they produced. That is to say they were generally tough to pass with disproportionate advantages towards cars with clean air. Despite repeated track changes by Kansas Speedway officials, the track has consistently been all too welcoming to whoever wins the pole.
Looking solely at the Generation Six era in the Cup Series, we have 7-of-14 races where the pole sitter went on to lead the most laps. When you consider the second-most laps, that number jumps to 11-of-14 races. Our only three exceptions were both races in 2015 as well as last year’s playoff race where Daniel Hemric sat on the pole.
|Starting Position||Final Position||Place differential||Total Laps Led||Fastest Laps|
Kansas at Night
The above problem gets exacerbated at night as grip increases versus that of track conditions during the day. When we look at night races at Kansas versus those in the day, we see this manifest. Excluding 2015, every other Spring night race at Kansas has seen the pole sitter lead the most or second-most laps. In fact, the pole sitter led the most laps in five of those seven races.
As a whole, what the pole sitter has done at Kansas has made them one of the surest bets in NASCAR DFS. While Hemric was an obvious fade, we’ve seen drivers like a young Ryan Blaney racing in the No. 21 live up to the track history’s moniker.
|Laps Led||Fastest laps||Finish||Avg|
The Fly in the NASCAR DFS Ointment
The only thing that could screw this up, regardless of who randomly draws the pole on Wednesday, will be the competition caution. At this point, it’s a foregone conclusion we will see one, especially when you look at the forecast. Currently, it’s raining in the Kansas City area. Thursday morning, the local area is expected to see even more rain. Therefore, NASCAR will probably bring everyone down pit road around lap 20 to inspect tires.
However, as well as last week’s Goodyears held up, they probably don’t need to. We saw Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick take the front row with either two or no tires and maintain their position with Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick all starting behind them.
On the flip side, this green track could really play into the pole sitter’s hands too. With no rubber from practice or previous races laid down, passing was going to be tough anyway. Add in a green track from the rain and this could wind up being a pretty boring, predictable race, save for whoever starts first doesn’t lose the lead on pit road or the green-flag restart, as has been the case the past few weeks.
With 267 laps on tap, we adjust our sliding scale back down to two dominators on either DraftKings or FanDuel. It’s almost a guarantee that one driver will not dominate the race and that we will see at least two drivers lead the majority of laps.
A trend worth noting is that we have seen a preponderance of a third driver who leads at least 10% or more of the race. It’s happened in the past four Kansas races. In fact, it’s more likely than not that we will see a total of three drivers lead 90% or more of the race combined. The only question is if that third “dominator” gains enough fastest laps/laps led points to be worth roster consideration.
Looking at laps led solely, the third lap leader is averaging 42 laps led per race. On FanDuel, that equates to just an extra 4.2 bonus points. That is nothing worth chasing, especially when salary is considered. However, these 42 laps translate into an extra 10 fantasy points. Then there is whatever fastest laps these laps leaders garner as well. Without any clue as to salaries or where drivers will start, we can only speculate about a third potential dominator. If things remain static from Texas, it will be all too easy to roster a third potential lap leader.
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