Victory Lane – Hollywood Casino 400
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr
The Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway marks the final race in the round of 12 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Four drivers will be eliminated from playoff contention as Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, and William Byron are currently on the outside looking in. Daniel Hemric won the pole and Kevin Harvick did not make a qualifying attempt on Saturday making Harvick a must start in DFS. Some cars were “trimmed out” for qualifying and others were setup for higher down force, sacrificing qualifying for a better handling car during the 400 mile race. This split strategy gives us plenty of opportunity to score DFS points with fast drivers starting in the back half of the field. Since Kansas is a 1.5 mile speedway we are back to playing mostly cash games with about an 80/20 cash games/single entry split. I am writing Victory Lane as a cash games breakdown with more focus on fewer drivers as compared to last week at Talladega. Let’s get started.
Kevin Harvick ($14,500/11,000) Kevin Harvick is one of the fastest cars at Kansas but was unable to qualify because of inspection issues. Harvick is a must play in DFS from the 40th starting position. His salary handcuffs players a little bit, but there is too much upside to fade him in cash games.
Kyle Busch ($14,000/11,400) Kyle Busch might have the fastest car at Kansas this weekend. Kyle led the way in every conceivable category during final practice with the fastest 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 lap speeds. It is really hard to fit Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick in the same lineup, but I think they could easily finish 1-2 in DFS scoring. Kyle would likely need to win the race and lead 100 + laps to outscore Harvick, but the potential is there for him to make that happen.
Joey Logano ($13,000/9,800) Joey Logano seems to have a fast car in longer runs. Logano ran the 16th fastest single lap speed in final practice but was 5th in 15 lap and 3rd out of 12 cars who ran 20 consecutive laps in final practice. Logano is starting 29th and should be considered in all lineups on Sunday.
Brad Keselowski ($12,000/9,600) and Ryan Blaney ($10,500/9,200) Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney ran similar speeds in practice and qualified on the second row (Blaney 3rd and Keselowski 4th) I think one of these drivers takes the lead early and leads multiple laps in the first stage. If the race at Kansas comes down to short runs at the end of the race, Keselowski is probably going to have an advantage. It seems as though their strategy is the exact opposite of Joey Logano. I would give a slight edge to Keselowski over Blaney, but Blaney saves quite a bit in salary, especially on Fan Duel. If you are trying to squeeze in Harvick and Logano with one of these two, you will probably need to use Blaney.
William Byron ($9,400/8,200) I think William Byron is a good play this weekend and may get overlooked by many DFS players. Byron is starting the race 25th and ran top 10 speeds in longer runs during final practice. I think Byron is a safe cash games play that could score a lot of differential points with a top 12 finish on Sunday.
Matt DiBenedetto ($6,000/7,600) Matt DiBenedetto is underpriced this weekend and I really think we need to take advantage of it. DiBenedetto ran practice speeds in the mid-to-high teens, but his low salary and 27th starting position make him playable in cash games this weekend.
Daniel Suarez ($7,800/7,500) Suarez has shown speed at Kansas this weekend. Suarez was 3rd in single lap speed, and fastest in 5 lap average during the first practice on Friday. During final practice Suarez showed speeds of 13th or better in all the consecutive lap categories. For his low price point, Suarez is cash games playable as a potential sleeper for a top 10 finish. However, his 8th place starting position makes him risky in the event something happens and he finishes 20th or worse. I would proceed with caution with Daniel Suarez.
Chris Buescher ($6,600/6,700) I think Chris Buescher is another sneaky safe pick for Kansas on Sunday. Buescher has 2 top ten finishes at Kansas in his career including a 10th place finish earlier this year. His average finish is 18.1 which includes a crash in this race one year ago where he finished 34th. If you remove his 34th place finish, his average finish comes down to 15.8. If you remove the two races he ran for Front Row Motorsports and only use the non-crash finishes from his current team (JTG Daugherty Racing) his average finish comes down to 12.5 (4 races). He is starting 26th and ran 35 laps in final practice but never ran 10 consecutive laps providing little data for the speed of his car over anything more than a qualifying run. There is a little bit of risk here, but I think there is less risk than going to the bottom of the barrel and playing Reed Sorenson, Ross Chastain, or Parker Kligerman.
Daniel Hemric ($5,500/6,600) Daniel Hemric won the pole and its worth mentioning him here because he has the potential to lead some laps early and finish in the top 12. Hemric had the fastest single lap speed in final practice but his 5 and 10 lap average speeds were only 15th quick. I don’t think a top 10 finish is likely, but for his salary, leading laps and finishing top 15 would be a solid day. He is more of a GPP play than a cash play because there is substantial risk involved in playing an overachieving driver who won the pole when most of the field setup their cars to be good during the race and may run right by him as soon as the green flag drops.
The strategy for Kansas is going to be to play two drivers at the top end that will score the most points, and play three mid-tier drivers who will run all the laps and advance their position by 10-15 spots. I don’t think you can fade Kevin Harvick in cash. If you do, you are hoping for a mechanical failure or a crash and that’s more suited for a multi-entry tournament play. I like using Harvick, Kyle Busch, Byron, and Buescher. Good luck to all our subscribers this weekend!
Tyler Miller is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who spent five years as a producer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2008-2013). Upon meeting his wife in Washington DC, Tyler became an Army spouse and left his career to move all over the country and help raise their two children. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Communication and Electronic Media Production from Ashland University and is currently pursuing a Masters’ of Science degree in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.