Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway
What happens when Kansas Speedway and NASCAR premier sponsor Busch Beer give NASCAR fans the opportunity to choose the name of a race? Well, you get the Buschy McBusch Race of course! With other finalists such as “The Busch Latte 400”, “The Nectar of the Cobs 400”, and the “For the Farmers 400”, NASCAR fans teamed together to choose perhaps the most epic (is that the right word?) name for a race in NASCAR history by giving us the Buschy McBusch Race 400.
Before we look ahead to Kansas, lets briefly look back to Talladega where Brad Keselowski picked up his sixth career victory at the track and his first victory of the season. Keselowski becomes the ninth different winner in 10 races this season and with his sixth Talladega victory, ties Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for second place on the track’s all-time wins list. He now trails just Dale Earnhardt in wins at Talladega (10).
Keselowski’s victory officially clinches a spot in the playoffs for all three Team Penske drivers. This makes Team Penske the first team to have all its drivers clinch a playoff spot via a victory. Keselowski’s win also gives him at least one Cup Series victory in 11 consecutive seasons. It was the 35th victory of his Cup Series career. Keselowski’s first career Cup Series victory also came at Talladega Superspeedway when he passed Carl Edwards on the final lap in 2009 in the 09-car owned by James Finch.
A trip to Kansas Speedway this weekend gives us a return to the 1.5-mile racing that has produced victories from William Byron at Homestead, Kyle Larson in Las Vegas, and Ryan Blaney at Atlanta. Expect Hendrick cars to run well this weekend because Larson could have very easily won Atlanta as well.
This weekend’s race – The Buschy McBusch Race 400 – is a 400-mile (267 lap) race around the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Over the past three seasons, six races have been run at the track with winners including Denny Hamlin (twice), Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Chase Elliott. Kansas was run twice last season with Denny Hamlin winning in July and Joey Logano winning in October.
The cream tends to rise to the top at Kansas with it being one of the cookie-cutter 1.5-mile tracks that used to make up most of the schedule. As I stated above, I’m expecting the Hendrick cars to have a field day this weekend. Chase Elliott leads all drivers with an average finish of 6.17 over the past six races at Kansas. Kyle Larson (7.25) and Alex Bowman (8.50) also have average finishes inside the top-10 at Kansas, and though William Byron’s average finish sits at 19.00, he has been having a breakout season in which he’s recorded eight consecutive top-8 finishes dating back to his win at Homestead.
As far as betting goes, Denny Hamlin once again opens as the betting favorite at +550. This is interesting to me because he’s been good this season and he has won two of the last three races at Kansas, but outside of those two wins, Hamlin has only recorded top-10s in two of the last eight races. His average finish of 14.52 is sixth-best among active drivers. Following Hamlin as favorites for this race are Kyle Larson (+600), Martin Truex Jr. (+700), Brad Keselowski (+850), and the trio of Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott at +900. If I had to bet someone here, I think its Larson, but I’m also targeting the Hendrick drivers not on this list.
Drivers I Like
Kyle Larson ($11,300)
Most of the guys in the $10K-plus range are worth taking a shot at this week. They’re all guys that had some struggles at Talladega for one reason or another and are starting near the back of the field. Larson is the most expensive, but I believe he also supplies the best opportunity to earn DraftKings points. Larson starts the farthest back of any of these drivers (32nd) which gives him the best opportunity to improve on his starting position. Larson has been impressive on 1.5-mile tracks this season. He led 103 laps at won at Las Vegas, led 269 laps, and was passed for the lead in the final 10 laps at Atlanta and led five laps and finished fourth at Homestead. He’s going to be fast and there will be time for him to easily come from the back of the field. Give me Larson this week even though I have to pay up for him.
Kurt Busch ($9,300)
Busch may not have as impressive Kansas stats as the rest of the folks in this range, but his starting spot can’t be ignored. Busch is the only driver in the $9K-range that starts outside the top-10 and he starts all the way back in 28th. Busch had engine trouble in his last race here which led to a 38th-place finish, but prior to that Busch recorded a top-10 finish in three straight Kansas races and five of the last six. Busch has never won in 30 tries at Kansas, but his average finish of 14.00 is still an improvement on his 28th-place starting spot. He should improve and give you decent DK points. I also like Keselowski in this range if he can jump out and lead some laps at the beginning of the race. He’ll need to do so because he starts from the pole position which gives him an automatic negative place differential unless he wins the race.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($8,500)
Stenhouse Jr. is in my lineup again this week even though he let me down last week. Stenhouse has had impressive runs at Kansas in the past. Stenhouse has 49 laps led in his career at Kansas, which is the third-most laps he has led at any track behind just Daytona and Talladega. I’m high on Stenhouse because he has quietly been producing results all season long, especially at the 1.5-mile tracks. Stenhouse finished 13th at Homestead, 11th at Las Vegas and 12th at Atlanta. Headed to a 1.5-mile track where he has led laps in the past makes me think that a top-10 may not be out of the question for Stenhouse this week. Ricky starts back in 23rd this week which is yet another reason to get him in lineups.
Erik Jones ($7,800)
The $7K-range sketches me out a little this week. Honestly, I think I may skip this range all together and grab a pair of $6k guys, but Erik Jones offers some limited upside here. Jones starts 27th this week following his last-lap crash at Talladega last week while running inside the top-10 headed to the checkered flag. Jones has had success in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment here in the past, having carded top-7 finishes in five of his six starts for the team. Richard Petty Motorsports has also shown some flashes this year. I was particularly impressed by Jones coming home 10th at Las Vegas earlier this year. Looking at the history of the 43-car at Kansas, things look a little bleak, though Bubba Wallace did pilot the car to an 18th-place finish in the fall race last year. Perhaps Jones can pick up where he left off at Vegas and get The King another top-10 finish.
Austin Cindric ($6,700)
Cindric makes another Cup Series start this week and just like his other starts, he’ll be starting from the back. Slated to start 38th, Cindric will have a prime opportunity to improve on his starting position and bring home some big DraftKings points. Cindric hasn’t been supremely impressive this season, carding finishes of 15th at Daytona, 22nd at Atlanta and 28th at Richmond. Roger Penske has said the plan for Cindric this season is to run him at tracks where he has struggled in the lower series to get him more seat time and help him improve at these tracks. Running at these types of tracks have still resulted in solid DraftKings numbers, as he has averaged 35.30 points per race despite the less than stellar finishes. I also like Ross Chastain in this range this week. He starts in 24th position and has never run at Cup race at Kansas in Roush-Fenway or Chip Ganassi equipment. In his Xfinity career, Chastain carded top-10 finishes in two of three races for Kaulig Racing. Chastain has been less than impressive at 1.5-mile tracks this season, but for $6,500 he should give you a good return on investment this week.
Drivers I’m Avoiding
Joey Logano ($11,100)
I don’t dislike anyone in the $10k range this week, but Logano is probably the one guy I’m least excited about this week. Logano starts 29th, so he will almost certainly move forward and have a better finishing position than that. The reason I’m picking on Logano this week is the team’s less than stellar performance on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Logano finished 25th at Homestead, ninth at Las Vegas and 15th at Atlanta, giving him an average finish of 16.33 on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Logano’s average finish at Kansas over the last six races isn’t much better. Despite picking up a victory in the most recent race at the track, Logano’s average Kansas finish over the last six races is 13.17. Of Logano’s three career victories at Kansas, none have come in the spring race. All three have come in the playoff race which is run under the lights on a Saturday night.
Kevin Harvick ($9,300)
I hate picking against Harvick here, but other than the superspeedway tracks, Stewart-Haas Racing just hasn’t looked particularly good this season. Due to his nice run last week Harvick starts up front, and if you remember back to Las Vegas – the track run this season that is most like Kansas – Harvick started near the front and dropped like a rock right at the beginning of the race. He struggled all day on his way to a 20th-place finish. Harvick finished fifth at Homestead and 10th at Atlanta in the other two 1.5-mile races this season. Like Logano, Harvick has won three times at Kansas, but I’m just not sure SHR has the horses right now to make picking Harvick worthwhile.
Aric Almirola ($8,400)
I’m going to keep picking on the Stewart-Haas guys here by avoiding Almirola this week. Almirola has been good, but not great over the course of his career at Kansas. In 18 career Kansas races, Almirola has racked up just seven top-10 finishes with an all-time best finish of sixth. His average finish at the track of 17.89 ranks 16th among active drivers. Almirola is yet another driver that has struggled mightily at 1.5-mile tracks this season. Almirola has racked up finishes of 30th at Homestead, 38th at Las Vegas and 20th at Atlanta. In those three starts, Almirola has averaged just 10.4 DK points per race. He starts 18th Sunday and has an opportunity to improve slightly on that position, but I’m not expecting to see Almirola in the top-10 this weekend.
Cole Custer ($7,100)
There are a lot of guys that scare me in this group this weekend. As I stated above, this may be a price range that I’m willing to fade completely but let’s stick with the theme of picking on Stewart-Haas drivers. This one has the potential to come back and bite me if SHR can bounce back to last year’s form. Last season Custer came home seventh in the Kansas spring race, but 2020 and 2021 have been vastly different for SHR. At this point last season, the organization already had a pair of wins (both by Harvick) in a season where the teams combined for 10 wins. This year Custer has finishes of 23rd (Homestead), 25th (Las Vegas) and 18th (Atlanta) at 1.5-mile tracks. Custer’s 10th-place starting spot gives him limited room to move forward on Sunday which limits any kind of upside he might have.
Michael McDowell ($5,800)
Starting in third position, McDowell has little to no chance to hold his position at the beginning of the race. There is a very real possibility that McDowell finishes with negative points this week. Though he’s had a few impressive runs including a sixth-place finish at Homestead, McDowell’s results since that finish are more indicative of what you can expect to get from the veteran in underfunded equipment. Prior to last week, McDowell had not finished better than 12th since his early-season top-10 run. I have little faith in McDowell this weekend and won’t have him in any lineups
($50,000 budget, 6 driver lineup)
Unfortunately, this week’s DraftKings lineup didn’t quite pan out for me. If you picked the drivers I actually did write about last week, things may have gone better for you, as I highlighted race winner Brad Keselowski as the top driver in the $10k range. I decided to go against my own advice for once and it did not pay off. My lineup produced 175.75 points, while if I had just picked the driver’s I highlighted last week, I would have had a lineup that scored well over 200 points and probably earned some cash. Last week’s highlighted drivers: Brad Keselowski (56.50 points), Kevin Harvick (56.80), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-5.30), Harrison Burton (42.90), Ryan Preece (48.50). Last week’s avoid drivers: Chase Elliott (5.00), Alex Bowman (-29.10), William Byron (49.25), Christopher Bell (17.75), Daniel Suarez (18.15).
Last week: 175.75 pts.
1. Ryan Blaney ($10,100): 36.65 pts.
2. Aric Almirola ($8,700): 33.25 pts.
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($8,500): -5.30 pts.
4. Ryan Newman ($7,600): 46.40 pts.
5. Erik Jones ($7,500): 16.25 pts.
6. Ryan Preece ($6,400): 48.50 pts.
Remaining Budget: $1,200
Las week’s perfect lineup: 354.95 pts.
1. Kaz Grala ($5,800): 71.80 pts.
2. Michael McDowell ($7,200): 63.25 pts.
3. Kevin Harvick ($9,600): 56.80 pts.
4. Brad Keselowski ($10,500): 56.50 pts.
5. Matt DiBenedetto ($8,200): 55.35 pts.
6. Anthony Alfredo ($5,700): 51.25 pts.
Remaining Budget: $3,000
We won a few bets last week at the unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway. Brad Keselowski’s victory for Ford was a hit, as was Aric Almirola topping Martin Truex Jr. That was the end of our success however, as we needed to hit on just one more prop to at least break even. Alas we were down 2.2 units on the week and are now down 8.85 units on the season. We’ve got a 1.5-mile track on the schedule this week to try to gain some money.
Chase Elliott over Brad Keselowski (-109, 1 unit)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. over Ryan Newman (-139, 1.5 units)
Martin Truex Jr. top Toyota (+165, 1 unit)
Kevin Harvick top Ford (+300, 0.5 unit)
Chase Elliott to win Group B (+235, 0.5 unit)
Hendrick Motorsports to win (+200, 1 unit)
Brad Keselowski to win (+850, 1.2 units)
Kyle Busch to win (+1200, 0.6 unit)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to win (+10000, 0.2 unit)
One and Done
*Rules for One and Done: Each driver can only be picked one time over the course of the season, unless you pick the race winner, then that driver can be picked again. Driver’s finishing position is the number of “points” you score each week. Goal: Finish with as few points as possible. Feel free to play along!
Harrison Burton gave us exactly what I had hoped for and no more than that. I was banking on a top-20 run from the rookie in his first career Cup Series race and he finished in exactly 20th position. It felt like a bit of a letdown after he finished Stage 2 of the race running in 10th spot, but he got shuffled out of line near the end of the races and picked up a top-20 in his first career race. Not much more you can hope for from a one-off driver.
This week: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse has been having a quiet year but currently finds himself 12 points to the good in the playoff standings, holding onto the final spot ahead of Matt DiBenedetto and Kurt Busch. Stenhouse has scored just 10 total stage points on the season – the least of anyone currently in the top-16 in points – but has used strong finishes to score enough points to find himself in sitting firmly in the playoff hunt. This week at Kansas I’m hoping for more of the same. Stenhouse has been solid at 1.5-mile ovals this season, finishing 13th at Homestead, 11th at Las Vegas and 12th at Atlanta. An electrical issue caused Stenhouse to finish dead last in the spring Kansas race last season, but if you take that finish out of the equation, Stenhouse has finished top-20 in 10 of the last 11 races at Kansas with five of those finishes coming in the top-15. Stenhouse’s success on 1.5-mile tracks this season and his overall success at Kansas make him a solid pick to post a 10th-15th place finish, if not better this weekend.
Results: Race Driver Finish
Daytona 500 Jamie McMurray 8th
Daytona RC A.J. Allmendinger 7th
Homestead Tyler Reddick 2nd
Las Vegas Kevin Harvick 20th
Phoenix Kyle Busch 25th
Atlanta Kurt Busch 39th
Bristol Stewart Friesen 23rd
Martinsville Ryan Blaney 11th
Richmond Austin Dillon 10th
Talladega Harrison Burton 20th