This week the series heads to Kansas City, Kan., for a run on Kansas Speedway. Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile, D-shaped track with only 15 degrees of banking in the turns, making it the shallowest of the cookie cutter tracks. These stats place it near the specs of Michigan, Fontana and Chicagoland. The series has already run at the aforementioned tracks this season (including twice at Michigan), so we have substantial historical data (i.e., practice, qualifying and race data) at our disposal this week, and that alone improves this race’s predictability quite a bit.
In addition, Weather.com says the speedway area should receive clear, consistent weather all race weekend, further bolstering predictability. Finally, Kansas Speedway is not as big as Michigan and Fontana, so it typically sees fewer races decided by fuel mileage than those and other giant flat tracks. At the same time, it remains big enough to produce fewer of the on-track accidents and pit-road incident that rear their head at many of the smaller tracks on the circuit.
So, all in all I rate predictability this week a little above average. Bettors can therefore find value in slightly weaker odds than normal, and fantasy NASCAR players should refrain from saving driver starts unless the value offered by a nine-start guy and a non nine-start guy is very close. Particularly with so few races remaining on the schedule.
For this race, I examined the practice, qualifying and race data for the 2010 races at California, Michigan and Chicagoland, and the 2009 race at Kansas. However, unlike most previous race evaluations, I did not also crunch just the Kansas data in order to weight the results toward that track. The reason: The series last ran at Kansas one long year ago, which makes the 2009 Kansas data less valuable because the car setups, aero packages, etc. are so different now than they were back then.
I gently tweaked those rankings after reading the opinions of other online handicappers and ended up with this top 10:
- Jimmie Johnson
- Jeff Gordon
- Tony Stewart
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Carl Edwards
- Kasey Kahne
- Mark Martin
- Clint Bowyer
- Jeff Burton
- Kevin Harvick
Johnson and Gordon look tops, and Stewart isn’t far behind.
I’m somewhat surprised to see Montoya and Martin so high in the rankings, but that’s what the numbers say. I’ll label them my mid-week sleeper picks.
Also, watch out for all three Richard Childress Racing cars this week. I currently have them prowling around the bottom of my top 10, but they could easily jump up following the prelims Friday and Saturday.
My Yahoo! Fantasy Picks
I’m out of Johnson picks, so I’ll activate Gordon and Stewart. I think Montoya and Edwards offer excellent value as well.
I’m out of Kahne starts, so I’ll go with Bowyer, Burton and Harvick, and probably David Reutimann over Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth, in that order. Those three are close together in the numbers, though.
A.J. Allmendinger looks tops in C by a sizeable margin, but I’m out of ‘Dinger starts. I like Paul Menard and Sam Hornish Jr. next (in that order), so that’s who I’ll activate.
If you need to reach a little deeper, pick your poison between Scott Speed and Regan Smith.
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