Dan Beaver

NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

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KC Masterpiece 400 Cheat Sheet

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It has been four weeks since NASCAR visited a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track – and it’s time to return for back-to-back races at Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With races at Pocono Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, and Daytona International Speedway mixed in, this is a time on the schedule when the 1.5- and two-mile tracks dominate. That means drivers and fantasy owners get an opportunity to develop and maintain some momentum.

The KC Masterpiece 400 will be an establishment race and fantasy owners can use it to help set their upcoming rosters at Charlotte and the World 600, then Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, and Kentucky Speedway.


1. Kevin Harvick
As it has all year, the battle is going to come down to Harvick and Busch, but the No. 4 team gets the edge this week because of their Kansas win in fall 2016.

2. Kyle Busch
In his last two attempts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, Busch finished second at Vegas and won at Texas. He'll challenge again this week.

3. Martin Truex Jr.
Crash damage at Texas snapped a nine-race streak of top-10s on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks that included five wins and another second-place effort.

4. Joey Logano
With added confidence on his side, Logano should finish better than the sixth- and seventh-place results he has recorded in the last four similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races.

5. Ryan Blaney
With a worst finish of 12th in his last eight races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, Blaney does not have a lot of downside. He finished fifth in his last two on this course type.

6. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin entered the Pennzoil 400 with a seven-race streak of top-fives on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. He finished 17th there and had trouble at Texas as well.

7. Kurt Busch
Busch earned back-to-back top-fives for the first time in 21 races last week, but results in the high single digits are more likely on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks.

8. Brad Keselowski
Since winning the 2011 spring race at Kansas and sweeping the top five that year, Keselowski has been hit or miss on this track with an average of 14.2.

9. Clint Bowyer
Finishing second last week was only the second time this year that Bowyer earned a top-five, but he has a passel of top-10s and -12s to recommend him.

10. Kyle Larson
Considering how much he was forced to overcome last week, a 10th-place finish at Dover was solid. Now Larson gets a chance to exact a little revenge.

11. Chase Elliott
With all of the trouble experienced by Chevrolet owners so far this year, it is difficult to handicap Elliott much higher than a possible top-10.

12. Erik Jones
In his last four starts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. Jones has a worst finish of 11th and a best of fourth at Texas. He could be this week's top dark horse.

13. Jimmie Johnson
Johnson is slowly moving up the order and could get his first top-10 on this track type in his last five starts. Last fall, he narrowly missed with an 11th at Kansas.

14. Daniel Suarez
Suarez is riding a three-race streak of top-10s with his second last week at Dover. That is the third time in his career he finished that well in consecutive races.

15. Matt Kenseth
Most pundits believe Kenseth will not contend for top-10s immediately out of the gates in his return to NASCAR, but it might not be as far off as most believe.

16. Austin Dillon
Forget about Dillon's 26th at Texas for the moment and consider that he had a nine-race streak of top-20s on this track type before then.

17. William Byron
In his short career, Byron has earned only top-10. That came on the similarly configured Texas Motor Speedway and he has practically swept the top 20 since.

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Look for Stenhouse to be a slightly better value this week with Kenseth as a teammate. The organization's notebook is going to get better on a weekly basis.

19. Alex Bowman
The last time Bowman was at Kansas, he finished seventh in the 2016 Hollywood Casino 400 driving in relief for injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.

20. Aric Almirola
Almirola started the season with a pair of top-15s on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. Like so many others, he ran into trouble at Texas.

21. Chris Buescher
Keep a close eye on Buescher in practice and qualification. His last two races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks ended in 15th-place finishes at Texas and Vegas.

22. Paul Menard
Menard could be a much better value than 20th if he has a solid practice. But, while the Wood Bros have shown a lot of promise, they are not always coming through in a pinch.

23. Kasey Kahne
In each of three starts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year, Kahne has improved by two positions. He could be looking at a surprising 15th if the pattern holds, but this handicap is based on his overall numbers.

24. Jamie McMurray
After showing so much consistency in 2017 on all track types, it is disappointing that McMurray has only one cookie cutter top-10 this season.

25. Ryan Newman
It has been nine races since Newman last scored a top-10 on one of the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks and his average is closer to 25th.

26. Darrell Wallace Jr.
Wallace has significantly improved in each of his "cookie-cutter" attempts and was one of the best values with an eighth at Texas a few weeks ago.

27. Ty Dillon
There is a spot for Dillon on the roster if he fits the right salary cap niche because his worst effort on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track is 26th at Atlanta.

28. David Ragan
One doesn't get any more consistent than this: Ragan has finished exactly 23rd in all three "cookie-cutter" races this year.

29. Matt DiBenedetto
In three starts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year, DiBenedetto has gotten progressively stronger with a best of 16th at Texas.

30. Landon Cassill
He has only one start on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year, but Cassill finished 21st at Texas and that backs up a solid record on this course type from 2017.

31. Michael McDowell
McDowell has been all over the board on this track type in his last 10 races. In 2018, he has one result in the teens at Texas, the 20s at Atlanta, and the 30s at Vegas,

32. AJ Allmendinger
This team had a number of top-20 finishes last year, but so far in 2018, Allmendinger has a best of 24th at Texas. It will be best to wait and see how he performs before committing resources.

33. Ross Chastain
While he is not likely to anchor any rosters, Chastain has been a solid salary cap pick with an average finish of 28.2 in 10 races this year.

34. BJ McLeod
McLeod made eight starts for Rick Ware last year including a 30th-place finish at Kansas in the fall. This is his first attempt in 2018.

35. Gray Gaulding
Gaulding's best finishes this year have been a pair of 20ths. One of these came at Texas in the O'Reilly 500, but that event had heavy attrition.

36. Reed Sorenson
Sorenson's only start on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track this year ended with a 31st-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas.

37. Corey LaJoie
Four of LaJoie's last seven starts with the No. 72 team ended with blown engines, including last week at Dover.

38. Carl Long
Even if the No. 66 team has a last-minute driver change, the handicap will not change. This team will move up the order based on attrition only, but they will put their best foot forward.

39. Derrike Cope
Cope did not use the No. 99 simply as a 'test-and-tune' car last week and that gives us hope that he will try and go the distance in Kansas as well.

Previous Cheat Sheets

O'Reilly 500 (Texas) 
Pennzoil 400 (Vegas) 
QuikTrip 500 (Atlanta) 
Auto Club 400 
AAA 400 (Dover) 

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver

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