Following Erik Jones‘ victory at Darlington, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas for the Hollywood Casino 400. Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS drivers need to know, what to expect for this weekend’s running of the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas and some early NASCAR fantasy picks.
NASCAR DFS Preview: Hollywood Casino 400
Kansas Speedway Information
- Track: Kansas Speedway
- Location: Kansas City, Kansas
- Length: 1.5 miles (asphalt)
- Banking: 17-20 degrees in the turns, nine-11 degrees along the front stretch and five degrees on the backstretch
- Best corollary tracks: Las Vegas, Charlotte, Texas
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 66.75 – laps led, 120.15 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 26.7 – laps led
- Past winners: Kurt Busch (2022), Kyle Larson (2021B), Kyle Busch (2021A)
- Betting favorite: Denny Hamlin +550
- Entry List: 36 drivers, including JJ Yeley (15), Noah Gragson (16) and Landon Cassill (77)
- Weather: High of 78, mostly sunny
- Watch: USA
- Listen: MRN (MRN, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Saturday, September 10
- 12:05 p.m.: Practice
- 12:50 p.m.: Qualifying
- Sunday, September 11
- 3:00 p.m.: green flag (80/165/267 laps)
2022 Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR DFS Picks
2022 Points Standings
All it took was one race and now the playoff picture looks dramatically different compared to last Monday. Via Jones’ victory, no one has locked themselves into the second round of the playoffs. However, the final running order of the Southern 500 did shift the playoff picture.
Chase Elliott went from firmly in first place to now ninth (2041 points) thanks to his early exit, finishing dead last on Sunday evening. Sitting in first now is Joey Logano in part to his fourth-place finish, now atop the board at 2065 points. Following closely behind Logano are William Byron (-6), Denny Hamlin (-8), and Christopher Bell (-10), who also had strong finishes at Darlington. In fifth through eighth, Tyler Reddick (-15), Ryan Blaney (-18) and Kyle Larson (-21) all sit comfortably despite mediocre results on Sunday.
In 10th, Alex Bowman gained positions on the field simply by finishing the race, now 28 points behind Logano. Kyle Busch (-30) was poised to have an amazing real-life and DFS day on Sunday but finds himself just eight points above the cut-off thanks to his 30th-place result. The last driver currently in the playoffs, two points above the cutoff, is Daniel Suarez, who managed to not get buried despite his early pass-through penalty.
With Kansas and Bristol remaining in the first round of the playoffs, the four drivers looking at an early playoff exit are Austin Cindric (-2), Austin Dillon (-4), Chase Briscoe (-10) and Kevin Harvick (-13). Kansas should be a track where Harvick can gain ground on this group and press Suarez for the final spot, but with the largest gap of the four, Harvick will really need to mind his racing style or he could easily place himself in a “win or bust” situation at Bristol.
Kansas Speedway Preview
For the second time in 2022, and just the fourth time at a track categorized as “intermediate”, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to Kansas for 400 miles in the Hollywood Casino 400. Interestingly enough, what was once the backbone of the NASCAR schedule at sister venues like Kentucky and Chicagoland has become just another part of the schedule. During the peak of the intermediate track craze of the 2000s, it would have seemed ludicrous that in the 2002 season there would be one fewer race at road courses (six) than races at 1.5-mile tracks (seven). Although the schedule has seen intermediate tracks get cut, they still make up nearly half of the playoff schedule with four of the next nine races occurring at intermediate tracks.
As per this track, the Advent Health 400 from May was not the typical race in Kansas. The race was prior to Charlotte when the news was leaked that Goodyear was consistently asking teams to stop going past the recommended PSI, however, teams were still pushing the envelope because they found exceeding those recommendations meant increased speed in the Generation Seven car. After weeks of races wherein the race leader would cut a tire and subsequently crash into the wall, consensus would assume that teams would see that the risk wasn’t outweighing the benefit. Yet, for smaller teams, this risk was well worth the investment because if the tire held up long enough it could mean a season-changing win. Look back to Auto Club Speedway when Jones was out late leading. Had he been able to win that event after Reddick had his own tire issues from the lead, Jones not only would have made the playoffs but he would have secured his spot into the second round of the playoffs with his win last week.
This point is referenced because Kansas was basically a string of single-car spinouts in every part of the track. With eight cautions in all, five of those were for single-vehicle spins with two more of those yellow flags resulting from stage breaks. The only other caution that day was the final yellow flag when the caution was thrown for fluid on the track on lap 230. This final restart on lap 235 shifted the dynamic of the race as it allowed Larson to take the lead from Kyle Busch. However, with nine laps left in the race, Kurt Busch would go on to grab the lead once more and win his one and only race of 2022. Sadly enough, it may have also been his last win in the Cup Series if his concussion-related issues force the veteran into retirement.
Expectations for Sunday at Kansas
The litany of cautions helped break up what came become a monotonous race. The average green flag run that Sunday was just 24 laps. Kansas was last repaved in 2011, and even after 11 years of weathering and racing, the track has still held onto a singular groove that dictates the racing and passing giving drivers who start up front a natural advantage towards leading the race. With the two races from the Covid-era disregarded, the pole sitter has either led the most or second-most laps in 14 of the past 17 races held at Kansas. Even with a down number this past spring, with 37 laps led, Bell still managed to lead the second-most laps that day. If not for the number of cautions that constantly shuffled the field, chances are Bell (with the fastest car in the 10-lap consecutive average in practice) would have been able to accumulate more laps led like past pole sitters before him.
Thus, with this in mind, Kansas “should” revert back to its typical form but this needs to be weighed against what has been seen in the Generation Seven car at intermediate tracks. Namely, the race winner and top lap leader can come from anywhere in the field.
The data set is small (three races) but here are average finish and average laps led, sorted by starting position at Las Vegas, Kansas, and Charlotte.
The three winners started 13th-5th-1st
The three top lap leaders started 18th-5th-22nd pic.twitter.com/DNCghZ65z1
— RaceSheets | NASCAR DFS Supersheets (@RaceSheetsDFS) September 7, 2022
However, the tricky thing with this tidbit of information is the last time a race at an intermediate track was held was the end of May, and expecting things to remain static over the course of three months could be a fool’s errand. Saturday’s practice session will shed light on the viability of the pole sitter versus the field but don’t be shocked if Sunday bucks the trend of previous Kansas races and the eventual top lap leader comes from beyond the top 10 starters.
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