This is a new feature discussing the best drivers put on your fantasy team for this weekend’s race. Drivers are broken down by A, B, and C List categories and based off of Yahoo’s listings.
Don’t blame me if you pick these drivers and have a bad week. Chances are I took the same drivers as well and I’m in the same boat you’re in.
For each category I’m going to give the drivers you should put on your team, plus a “wild-card” driver as a maybe, and a driver or two to avoid for this week’s race.
This week NASCAR goes back to Kansas Speedway, but it’s basically a new race track. It was repaved and progressive banking was added to the corners.
A-List Drivers to Have:
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has one win at Kansas Speedway, but that win came at the last race here back in April. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the new race track, but he should be a great pick for Sunday.
Brad Keselowski: Yes, I’m saying Keselowski over Jimmie Johnson. Both are great picks, but there’s just something about Brad this season. Brad won at Kansas last year in April, and he also won at Kentucky Speedway in July this year as well as Chicagoland Speedway at the start of the Chase. Kentucky and Chicagoland are tracks that are very similar to Kansas. It will be interesting to see if the similarities are still there even after the track has been repaved.
A-List “Wild-Card” Drivers:
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson isn’t a wild-card driver. He’s a great pick at Kansas. However, I feel that this weekend Hamlin and Keselowski will be better choices than Johnson. So that’s how he ended up in this list. Johnson has two wins, five top-fives, 10 top-10s and three poles throughout his career at Kansas Speedway.
Jeff Gordon: Gordon runs well at Kansas. He has two wins, eight top-fives and nine top-10s. He was also running very strong at Chicagoland at the start of the Chase before his throttle stuck and he crashed hard. But since that crash Gordon has finished well in every Chase race.
A-List Drivers to Avoid:
Kevin Harvick: Harvick is not very good at Kansas. He only has one top-five finish. He also has not been fast on intermediate tracks all season long. Harvick blames the issue on the side-skirt change NASCAR made back in May. He said that was the cause of just about all the problems RCR has had on the race track in 2012.
Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has had about the worst Chase one could have, especially one who entered the Chase as a favorite to win it all. Kenseth broke a shock at Chicagoland, ran terribly at New Hampshire, broke the track-bar at Dover and spun out, won Talladega, and had a flat tire and spun out at Charlotte. Besides the win at ‘Dega it has just been a miserable Chase for Kenseth. It’s definitely wise to avoid him.
B-List Drivers to Have:
Joey Logano: Though Logano did not make the Chase he has scored more points in the Chase than the drivers who sit sixth-through-twelfth. He was involved in a crash at Talladega but has scored top-10s in every Chase race besides that. I’d look for that to continue.
Mark Martin: Mark has been solid at every intermediate race this season. He has one win at Kansas and a 14.6 average finish. Look for Martin to qualify up front and stay there most of the race.
Martin Truex Jr.: The 56 team has been strong on 1.5 mile race tracks all season long. Truex led the most laps here in April and finished second to Denny Hamlin.
Greg Biffle: Biffle has won twice at Kansas Speedway and he has seven top-fives and nine top-10s. Biffle’s average finish at Kansas is eighth. He also has won one pole and the second best driver rating with a 116.3.
B-List “Wild-Card” Driver:
Kasey Kahne: Kahne has never been that great at Kansas Speedway, but things seem to be different now that he is at Hendrick Motorsports. He has one top-five and four top-10s, the most recent of which came back in April. Kahne has an average finish of 16.1 at Kansas, but has been very strong at all the 1.5 mile tracks this season. Kahne could be a good choice, but his Kansas record makes me leery of choosing him.
B-List Driver to Avoid:
Paul Menard: Menard has only one top-10 finish at Kansas Speedway. His average finish is 20.1. Forget about picking Menard.
The C List is largely a toss-up. The main drivers worth taking are Sam Hornish Jr, Bobby Labonte, Aric Almirola, and Casey Mears. Trevor Bayne is usually a quality start when that team attempts to qualify.
I’ve got Hornish and Bayne on my roster this weekend. Bayne gets you a decent finish and is a decent alternative to all the people that will no doubt be taking Hornish.
However, Hornish will most likely get you a great finish for a C-List driver. But most likely everybody in your group will have him. So it’s a toss-up. Do you go with the driver that will most likely get you the best finish but everyone has him? Or do you go with the guy that may get a mediocre finish and hope that Hornish has trouble for everyone else?