This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Hollywood Casino 400
Location: Kansas City, Kan.
Course: Kansas Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
NASCAR Hollywood Casino 400 Race Preview
Erik Jones drove the No. 43 machine to Victory Lane a week ago at Darlington Raceway, scoring the 200th win for the car, and preventing all of the playoff contenders from earning advancement to the next round of elimination races. This week the playoffs head to Kansas Speedway. The spring race at the track was a challenging one for many teams. Tire issues were common throughout the field, and Kurt Busch was the one who navigated the pitfalls to drive to Victory Lane. Busch remains sidelined as he continues to recover from his injuries sustained in the Pocono crash, however. Many playoff contenders will view this week's race as an opportunity to quickly recover after stumbling out of the gate last week at Darlington. Chase Elliott's early exit last week, for example, dropped him from the top of the standings to ninth. He was not alone in falling behind, though. This week's race at Kansas should serve as a playoff reset for the 16 championship contenders who now have two races to secure their advancement. They will all be hoping to win to avoid making next week's Bristol visit the make-or-break race for their championship hopes.
Key Stats at Kansas Speedway
- Number of races: 33
- Winners from pole: 7
- Winners from top-5 starters: 16
- Winners from top-10 starters: 21
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 3
- Fastest race: 152.057 mph
Previous 10 Kansas Winners
2022 spring - Kurt Busch
2021 fall - Kyle Larson
2021 spring - Kyle Busch
2020 fall - Joey Logano
2020 spring - Denny Hamlin
2019 fall - Denny Hamlin
2019 spring - Brad Keselowski
2018 fall - Chase Elliott
2018 spring - Kevin Harvick
2017 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
Assuming teams have figured out the tire issues many experienced in the May race, track position will be on all of their minds. Like other 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule, Kansas rewards drivers who can control the race in clean air. There is room to change grooves in the corners as handling changes throughout fuel runs, but traffic will be a consistent concern. Drivers with good handling cars will have a greater ability to cut through the field by changing lanes, whereas those with fewer options in the turns will find it much more difficult to make up ground. Pit strategy may be less of a factor this week than it has been in the past. The tire issues may force teams to be a bit more conservative in their strategies and less brave in trying for two-tire stops to gain track position. That means a particular emphasis will be on restarts. Those will offer the best chances for drivers to make up ground throughout the race's 400 miles.
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DraftKings Value Picks for the Hollywood Casino 400 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
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DraftKings Long-Shot Values
NASCAR DFS Picks for the Hollywood Casino 400
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
After a Darlington disaster Elliott (DK $10,500, FD $13,000) should be ready to come out swinging at Kansas. Elliott won at the track in 2018 and finished in the top 10 in both opening stages of the race there this spring. He was one of the victims of tire failures at the track in that race, but he got out front to lead 10 laps before his issue bit close to the 200-lap mark. Christopher Bell (DK $9,600, FD $11,500) was the Kansas pole sitter in May. He finished the day fifth with 37 laps led and was one of the playoff contenders to benefit from last week's race. He enters this weekend fourth in the standings with three top-10s in the last five races. On the opposite side of the playoff spectrum is Kevin Harvick (DK $8,700, FD $9,500). Harvick's consistency was dealt a blow by another chassis fire for the new car. He fell to 16th place in the playoff standings, but he remains just 13 points behind the cut line. Harvick has three Kansas wins and finished 15th in May. Kansas could be a good week for Austin Cindric (DK $7,500, FD $7,200), too. He is benefiting from returning to tracks for the second time this season and is just two points away from being in the running to advance in the playoffs. Cindric finished 11th at Kansas in the spring race. Chris Buescher (DK $6,900, FD $5,800) had to start at the rear at this track in the spring after moving to a back-up car. He finished 27th, two laps behind, but has had competitive speed at 1.5-mile ovals this season and could be back in form again in this return visit. The final slot in this lineup goes to Michael McDowell (DK $6,700, FD $6,200). His impressive sixth-place finish last week was his second top-10 in the last three races. He has had top-10 and top-15 speed on 1.5-mile ovals this season and should bring that with him to Kansas this wee, too.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Busch (DK $10,900, FD $13,500) was one of Darlington's many playoff victims. His early exit from last week's race sent him to 11th in the standings. He should feel good with a return to Kansas just the week after, though. Busch has won two series races at this track and was third in the spring. Bad luck has been one of the biggest factors holding him back from victory recently, but Kansas has been a successful venue for him historically. Tyler Reddick (DK $9,800, FD $11,000) will be feeling really good about his playoff chances. He is fifth in the standings after Darlington and led 24 laps at this track already this season. He was one of the many drivers hit with tire trouble, which is expected to be less of an issue this time around. After finally getting the breakthrough many saw coming, Jones (DK $7,800, FD $6,800) will seek to build upon last week's high. Jones was in the top 10 in the opening stage in May but suffered a problem getting a lug nut off the car, which left him well behind the leaders. He didn't get the chance to show where he could finish at this track but should be one with potential again this week. Austin Dillon (DK $7,700, FD $7,800) didn't fare too badly at this track earlier this season. He finished 13th in that race and is only four points behind safety in the playoff standings. Dillon has five top-10s from his 18 Kansas starts. With Kurt Busch still out of the car, Ty Gibbs (DK $7,200, FD $7,500) will be behind the wheel again this week. While he may be a risky choice compared to other options, he did win his first Xfinity Series start at this track last season. The other thing fantasy players should keep in mind is that the car he will drive this weekend was also in Victory Lane at this track in the spring in Busch's hands. Finally, Aric Almirola (DK $6,500, FD $5,500) will look to build on his 11th-place finish at Darlington last weekend. That was his second finish of 11th or better in the last five races. He appears to be adapting better to the new car late in the season and brings 10 top-10s from 21 Kansas starts into the weekend.