DraftKings NASCAR: KC Masterpiece 400
DraftKings NASCAR: KC Masterpiece 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

KC Masterpiece 400

Location: Kansas City, Kan.
Course: Kansas Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

Kevin Harvick returned to Victory Lane last week in Dover, as Ford showed that its early-season advantage has not waned. This week, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams return to the familiar 1.5-mile ovals. Martin Truex Jr. and Toyota swept the races at this track last season, and Toyota is also the most recent winner on a 1.5-mile oval this season with Kyle Busch's victory at Texas. Harvick won at the last track most similar to Kansas, though. His Las Vegas win was the second in a string of three where he trounced the competition. He led 214 of 267 laps in that outing. Ford hasn't won at Kansas since Joey Logano drove into Victory Lane in the fall of 201. This week's race also marks the return of Matt Kenseth to Roush Fenway Racing. The former champion's last turn at this track in a Ford was a victory with Roush in 2012. He led 78 laps that day. It will be interesting to see what he can achieve with the team given Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s uptick in recent weeks. The rest of the garage appears to have some work to do to close the gap to Ford and will need to be on pace early this weekend to have a chance.

Key Stats at Kansas Speedway

Number of previous races: 24
Winners from pole: 5
Winners from top-5 starters: 11
Winners from top-10 starters: 14
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 2
Fastest race: 144.122 mph

Last 10 Kansas Winners

2017 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2017 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 fall - Kevin Harvick
2016 spring - Kyle Busch
2015 fall - Joey Logano
2015 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2014 fall - Joey Logano
2014 spring - Jeff Gordon
2013 fall - Kevin Harvick
2013 spring - Matt Kenseth

Winning on 1.5-mile tri-ovals like Kansas Speedway requires a well-handling machine and a bit of luck. While raw speed can allow a driver to dominate at the front of the order, caution periods and restarts can contribute just as much to the outcome. Therefore, having a car that performs consistently throughout a fuel run will have an advantage. Mistakes on pit road will be punished heavily this week with the premium on track position. Grip also tends to be at a premium at Kansas. Teams will work hard to keep their cars balanced as the track changes throughout the race distance, and just a slight miss on an adjustment can send a car quickly backward through the running order. While it's important for fantasy players to pick the fastest car for Sunday's race, the track also allows plenty of options to gain points on finish differential as well. Passing is easier at Kansas than it was last week at Dover, and it isn't uncommon for cars starting outside of the top 20 to finish inside the top 10.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,700
Kyle Busch - $11,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,800

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $9,700
Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Clint Bowyer - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Aric Almirola - $8,600
Erik Jones - $8,100
Alex Bowman - $7,700
Jamie McMurray - $7,600

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Matt Kenseth - $7,100
Daniel Suarez - $6,800
Kasey Kahne - $6,300
Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,100

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,800
Joey Logano - $9,900
Daniel Suarez - $6,800
Chris Buescher - $5,800
Michael McDowell - $5,400

Kyle Busch and Truex are arguably the two safest driver options at Kansas Speedway. Truex won both races at the circuit last season, and Busch led 171 laps. While Busch struggled early in his career to find his way at the track, he has since become the picture of consistency with five top-fives in the last six races there. Truex has also led more than 90 laps in four of those six races, too. Backing them up is Logano, who faltered at the track in 2017. Remember last year was a tough one for this team, though. Logano has two Kansas wins and had finished in the top-five there in six of the seven races leading up to the 2017 season. Fantasy owners should also take a look at Suarez this week after his stellar Dover finish. He finished seventh in last spring's Kansas race and started fifth in the fall. He crashed out that time but has proven his pace. To round off the selections, fantasy owners should pay attention to Buescher and McDowell. Both drivers finished in the top 20 in both races at the track last season and should deliver some reliable points based on finish differential this weekend.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,700
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Ryan Blaney - $8,800
Matt Kenseth - $7,100
Kasey Kahne - $6,300
Ty Dillon - $5,700

There's no question that pole sitter Harvick is on top of his game and he should be expected to run for the win on Saturday. He has only failed to lead a lap at Kansas once in the last nine races, and he won two of those. He has been one of the best of the season to date, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. Johnson could be a bit more of a gamble. He didn't lead at Dover and only finished ninth. Many said that was a disaster, but he was the highest-placed Chevrolet and has been on a steady upward trajectory of finishes. He's a three-time Kansas winner and hasn't finished lower than 12th since Texas four races ago. Second on Saturday's grid, Blaney was a quiet eighth-place last week and has a better history at this week's circuit. In six starts he has a pole, three top-fives and four top-10s. He also led both races here last season. Kenseth is a gamble fantasy owners will want to take. His price this week is not what we would have seen if he was still in the series on a full-time basis. He hasn't been out of the seat very long and has two wins at the track, though. Team transition has been tough for Kahne this season, but he got better at Dover and is pulling a top-30 team regularly into the top 20. Finally, Dillon hasn't yet had the same flashes of speed we saw last season in 2018, but he has been delivering the odd top-15 and has been consistently positive in finish differential.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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