It was a Richard Childress 1-2 finish at Texas, as Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick would lead the way to the checkered flag. Ryan Blaney would in fact dominate a majority of the event, having led the first two race stages and 150 of the 334 laps in total. However, due to a foolish mistake caused by Quin Houff, with under 30 laps left. They would need to throw out a caution, reshuffling the deck. With the caution, a majority of the top cars would stay on the track while both Dillon and Reddick would choose to hit pit lane. This decision proved to pay off in the long run for the two Childress drivers.
What looked like an almost certain Dillon victory would be halted twice, by a pair of late cautions caused by Denny Hamlin. However, Dillon to his credit was able to beat out the field on both of those late restarts and gain himself a sizable lead. Joey Logano would try and split up the Childress cars, but would not have enough time to make a real dent. Logano, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick would round out the top five.
With this victory, Dillon automatically slots himself into a playoff position. This must come as a huge sigh of relief, given that prior to this win Dillon had been hovering around the cut off line to qualification. He joins Harvick, who managed to qualify this past weekend.
We now leave the Lone Star State and head out to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval race track and seats 48,000 people. Hamlin was the winner here last October, in which he needed to survive two overtime’s, in order to guarantee himself a spot in the final eight.
On Tuesday, NASCAR announced it would not include practice and qualifying the rest of the year. This will include all three NASCAR series. So without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this upcoming Cup series event. I’ve broken down the selections between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Best of luck to everyone with their lineups.
Kevin Harvick (14,000 FD)
Now that Harvick has secured himself a guaranteed spot in the championship tournament, he can continue to focus on building upon his playoff points. Harvick continues to pour it on as of recently. Not only is he tied for most series wins, but he also leads all drivers in both top fives and top 10’s. Also keep in mind, that Harvick has not finished outside the top five in the last six events.
Kansas has been very good to Harvick, over the last couple of seasons. In the past half dozen races at this track, Harvick has four top 10’s and two top fives. He is also second among all current drivers, in both average finish and driver rating. If Harvick can qualify among the top drivers, he should be a true threat to pick up numerous points through laps led. Consider, Harvick has led 70 or more laps in three of the last four Kansas races. He has the potential to be a legit dominator in this event and could be well worth the gamble.
Erik Jones (10,000 FD)
Jones hasn’t been a great play this season, that much is true. However, he’s had a couple of strong runs recently, in fact, Jones would score the third most FD points last weekend with 86.1. Jones now comes to Kansas Speedway, a track in which he was very strong over the last pair of seasons.
In his past four attempts at Kansas, Jones has finished with a top-seven finish or better. Jones has also been absolute quality when it comes to finishing stages, as he’s finished runner-up in three of the last eight. With this in mind, Jones should offer some sneaky potential for bonus points, through fastest lap and laps led.
Jones is currently struggling to keep his head above water, ranked 19th in the standings. Now with Dillon’s win last Sunday things have become that much tighter. A strong finish here in Kansas would be a huge boost to both Jones and his team. Jones offers fair value for a potential Dark Horse, that is in desperate need of some strong finishes to keep himself in the hunt.
Tyler Reddick (8,800 FD)
With the second-place result at Texas, Reddick tops his all-time best finish in the cup series. Which was a fourth-place result at Homestead-Miami, back in early June. This also adds to a small string of top 10 finishes, going back to the Brickyard. It’s been a very nice turnaround, after having suffered through a rather rough trip at Pocono. In which, he would pick up a pair of top 30 results.
When you look at the current standings, Reddick is right in the mix of things. He is locked into the 18th place position and is 14 points below the cutoff line. This will be Reddick’s first cup visit, but he does have plenty of experience here as an Xfinity driver. In two of three attempts, Reddick has finished the event as runner-up. This also happens to be his second-best track, as far as average finish goes.
Chris Buescher (6,300 FD)
I like Buescher as a value play for this Thursday, as I do feel he may be a bit overlooked. Consider that in the past seven attempts, Buescher has collected three top 10’s. This included both a top-four finish at Kentucky and a top-six at Talladega. Buescher currently sits 20th in the standings and trails Bubba Wallace by just 10 points. A strong finish at Kansas could really make all the difference.
When you look at his recent history at Kansas, the results have really been rather steady. In Buescher’s last two attempts, he has finished inside the top 13. In fact, this previous May would prove to be one of his best showings, as Buescher would rack up 12 combined stage points to go along with a top 10 result. When you look for your bookend drivers to fill out the roster, you could certainly do worse then Buescher.
Questions and comments?
Hit us up on the Socials:
Check out our Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Dale Money on Twitter @packerd_00
Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images