The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue today with the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the race, as well as my top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Winner: Kyle Larson- Larson has been the king of the mile and a half tracks this season, with 4 wins, 6 top 10’s, and 1,187 laps led in 8 races, plus winning the All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. However, Kansas has not been Larson’s strongest track, with 3 top 5’s and 5 top 10’s in 13 starts. Larson has had the speed here, leading 192 laps in his last 2 starts at Kansas, but has finished 14th and 19th in those starts. Larson has won the last 2 Cup races and has already punched his ticket to the Championship 4, so he won’t have nearly as much pressure as the other 7 playoff drivers. Larson is going to go out there, have some fun, and bring home his 9th victory of the season today.
Top 10: Brad Keselowski- In a year where he has struggled at times, Keselowski has put together some of his best performances on mile and a half tracks, finishing in the top 10 in 5 of the 8 mile and a half track races this season, as well as a runner up showing in the All-Star Race. Keselowski has also been heating up in the playoffs, with 5 top 7 finishes in the first 7 races. All of this leads to Keselowski’s past Kansas success, where he has finished in the top 6 in 5 of the last 6 Kansas races and has 2 career wins here. Keselowski should have a solid showing today and bring home another top 10 result.
Dark Horse: Chase Briscoe- Briscoe has had a long 2021 rookie campaign, with just 3 top 10 finishes in 33 starts, all of which came on road courses. Nevertheless, Briscoe has had success at Kansas before, leading 159 laps and sweeping the stages enroute to winning the October 2020 Xfinity race here. Briscoe has also put together better finishes of late, finishing 16th or better in 5 of the last 6 races and has finished in the top 15 in each of the last 3 mile and a half track races. A win is improbable, but Briscoe’s improved form will net him another top 15 run today.
Driver to Fade: Ryan Preece- Kansas Speedway has not been kind to Preece in his career, with 4 finishes of 25th or worse in 5 career starts, including 2 finishes of 30th or worse during that stretch. Preece has struggled on mile and a half tracks this season also, with just 1 top 20 finish in 8 starts. Preece is an easy fade today and will finish outside the top 25 yet again.