Are ya ready, kids? The Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas for the SpongeBob Squarepants 400 on Saturday night under the lights. Several notable drivers have a great history at the track, but only a handful are affordable for NASCAR fantasy owners.
Leading up to the return to an intermediate track for NASCAR, here’s a look at the best drivers to target for the 400-mile event. Our list starts with a legend in the sport and one that has thoroughly dominated Kansas.
Fantasy Forecast: Kansas
Tier 1: Jeff Gordon — Sure, his streak of six straight top-10 finishes came to an end at Talladega, but that’s no reason to give up on Jeff Gordon. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has put up gaudy numbers at Kansas in the past, including three wins and 10 top fives in 18 starts—good for 55.6 percent of the races thus far.
Looking to rebound from a disastrous finish in Alabama, the No. 24 is CBA’s pick this week to win the race. After collecting his first victory of the 2014 season at the track, look for Gordon to celebrate again in Victory Lane. In terms of value, Gordon is the perfect No. 1 driver for owners this week.
Tier 2: Matt Kenseth — Not exactly known as one of the most exciting drivers on the circuit, Matt Kenseth simply gets the job done. And with fantasy owners looking to get solid results out of a pick this high, the driver of the No. 20 machine offers just that.
Three weeks after his first win of the season, Kenseth returns to a track where he’s consistently tallied strong stats. With seven top-10 finishes in his last nine races at the track— including two wins—expect huge things from the Joe Gibbs Racing driver under the lights.
Tier 3: Jamie McMurray — Over his last five races, Jamie McMurray has secured an average finish of 9.0. He’s slowly climbed back into the top 10 in the Chase Grid and back into the hearts of fantasy owners.
He’s ranked 14th currently on NASCAR.com Fantasy Live, but has shown immense growth over the last several starts. With the money that owners are saving on our Tier 5 pick, McMurray can be nabbed at No. 3 and all but guarantee a top-10 finish.
Tier 4: Danica Patrick — It’s never a perfect science with Danica Patrick, but the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has driven well recently at Kansas. She had a bumpy start in 2013 with an average finish of 34th, but recovered last year with a seventh-place finish in the spring race.
Not to mention Patrick also boasted a driver rating of 101.4 in that start, making her a dependable No. 4 driver for fantasy owners this weekend.
Tier 5: Erik Jones — There is no better pick for the fifth fantasy spot in the SpongeBob 400 than Erik Jones. He might be making his first Sprint Cup start, but Jones has Joe Gibbs Racing equipment and a great car with the No. 18 team. Holding a win already this season at the Xfinity level, he’ll be a strong driver in the most fitting race for an 18-year-old driver.
Follow Chicken Bone Alley on Twitter.