Be careful what you wish for as a race sponsor when it comes to a fan vote. The Busch Name This Race 400 at Kansas Speedway is officially going to go off on May 2 as the “Buschy McBusch Race 400”.
The previous sponsors, STP, 5-Hour Energy, SpongeBob Squarepants (Nickelodeon), Go Bowling dot com, KC Masterpiece, Digital Ally, and Super Start Batteries/O’Reilly Auto Parts, are probably happy that their races weren’t named in that manner, but this NASCAR season has been different and a whole lot of fun, so let’s just go ahead and roll with it.
So, we’ll talk about the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway and try to pick a winner and some other good bets out of this week’s odds selection from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Denny Hamlin is slotted in as the favorite at +550 on the 1.5-mile track in Kansas City, Kansas. Martin Truex Jr. is listed second at +600, followed by all of the usual suspects on the bigger ovals.
Kyle Larson is +700 and Brad Keselowski is +850. Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano are all +900. That has basically been the setup for the most part with NASCAR betting odds this season. We wind up with 6-7 drivers priced at single digits and then everybody else follows. One driver at 10/1, one driver at 12/1, one or two drivers at 14/1 or 16/1, and then 20/1 or higher.
We did catch Keselowski at +1100 last week at Talladega, so that was a nice win.
Kansas Speedway Layout
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt course with four turns that range from 17-20 degrees of banking. The backstretch is flat and long, while the frontstretch is angled into a point at the start/finish line.
This is a twice-a-year stop for the Cup Series. The second race, the Hollywood Casino 400, is sponsored by the casino right out in front of the racetrack and is a playoff race that takes place in October.
For the most part, this is a pretty clean race. We’ve had some weather delays that have extended it in the past, but the last five races have averaged fewer than seven cautions per race.
There have been a lot of lead changes, though. At least nine drivers have led this race each of the last four years and we’ve even had over 20 lead changes twice.
NASCAR Standings Through 10 Races
The Buschy McBusch Race 400 is the 11th race of the season. The first 10 races have really been something. With Keselowski’s win last week, nine different drivers have a win. Truex is the only repeat winner. Hamlin leads in points, but still doesn’t have a win, despite leading the most laps in three straight races and four overall for the season. He finished 32nd at Talladega last week, but still led the most laps.
Hamlin’s points lead was extended in the race over Truex to 87 points. A big part of the difference is the 53-point edge that Hamlin has in stage points. The 32nd-place finish at ‘Dega was just the second time in 10 races that Hamlin finished outside the top 10.
Truex is six points ahead of Logano in the race for second place. William Byron and Ryan Blaney round out the top five, with Byron five points ahead of Blaney and two points behind Logano.
Keselowski, Harvick, Elliott, Larson, and Christopher Bell round out the top 10. If the playoffs started today, Hamlin, Harvick, Elliott, Busch, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chris Buescher would be the “at-large” playoff contenders as drivers without a win.
Who Has Had Success Here?
With Kansas on the calendar twice a year, we have a lot of data points. Harvick, Hamlin, and Logano all have three wins at Kansas. Harvick has the most starts of that group with 30. Keselowski and Truex are two-time winners, with one win apiece for Elliott, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Newman.
This has been an excellent track for Harvick, who has averaged a top-10 finish in his 30 starts. He has three wins, 10 top-five finishes to lead all drivers, and 17 top-10 finishes. Harvick has 949 laps led at Kansas. Truex is the only other driver with more than 500. He has 803.
In 25 starts, Truex has nine top-five finishes and 12 top-10 outcomes. That ties him with Keselowski and Kyle Busch for the second-most top-10 finishes. Hamlin, Logano, and Busch have eight top-five finishes each.
Who Has Had Recent Success Here?
Elliott only has 10 career starts, but has a win, four top-five finishes, and six top-10 finishes. He’s finished on the lead lap eight times and has been a factor in nearly all of those races. Hamlin and Keselowski also have four top-five finishes in the last 10. Harvick and Kyle Busch have six each and also eight total top-10 finishes. Harvick’s 436 points accumulated lead all drivers, 55 more than Busch.
I mentioned the laps led for Harvick and Truex in their careers here. Truex is only 17 laps led behind Harvick over the last 10 races.
When Logano has finished the race, he’s done well with a win and three top-five finishes, but he’s only finished on the lead lap in six of the 10 races.
Buschy McBusch Race 400 Picks
This week will be the true litmus test for those fading Kevin Harvick. Harvick scored his third top-five finish of the season last week, but didn’t run overly well. Can we actually fade him again, even at a track he has succeeded?
He won’t be a pick to win for me. I’ll be looking in the direction of Chase Elliott at +900. Elliott runs well on lots of different tracks, but certain 1.5-milers are better for him, like Kansas or Charlotte. It seems like the right time for him to get a win.
With no quirks or craziness to this race, going far down the board is a challenge. Along with Elliott, I’ll take the favorite in Hamlin at +550. He’s around the front of the pack too often not to win one of these. He’ll get one soon.
Coverage of the Buschy McBusch Race 400 is on Sunday May 2 with a 3 p.m. ET start time.