Hollywood Casino 400 Predictions
(The Spread) - NASCAR heads to the heartland of America and Kansas Speedway on Sunday for the Hollywood Casino 400, which is race No. 4 in the chase for the cup.
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile, D-shaped oval. It has 15 degrees of banking in the turns, 11 degrees on the front stretch, and 5 degrees on the backstretch. This is a multiple-groove racetrack, where qualifying doesn’t mean much. In the previous 10 Sprint Cup races held at Kansas Speedway, two pole sitters have emerged victorious.
Kansas Speedway is also home to fuel-mileage races more often than not. That means this is as good a place as any for a first-time winner or someone that you wouldn't expect to see pull off a victory. If you’re looking for similar tracks to Kansas Speedway, look no further than Las Vegas and Chicagoland as they’re both 1.5-mile, D-shaped ovals. (Las Vegas has the most banking.)
The drivers bringing up the rear in the chase standings have failed to close ground after the first three races and they can't afford to let the leaders pull away any more. So look for them to gamble a bit more with sound pit strategy to gain track position, as well as fuel mileage.
Busch's victory at Dover was the fourth time he’s finished sixth or better in the last five Sprint Cup races. We think he’ll make it five of six once it's all said and done on Sunday. Kurt's record at Kansas isn't great, with only three top-10s in eleven starts, but he has the fifth-best average driver rating here over the past three races. Back in June, Busch qualified on the pole and led 152 of 267 laps but was caught up in another driver’s accident and ended up finishing 21st. We think he should have another strong showing after last week’s win and notch the victory that got away from him this summer.
After his hot start, Stewart laid a real egg last week but he should rebound as he returns to one of his better tracks. Stewart is a two-time winner at Kansas, and he has finished eighth or better in eight of his 11 starts. Stewart already has a win at a 1.5-mile track during the Chase, which should set him up perfectly for this race as he tries to take back the lead for the championship.
In his last three races at Kansas, Hamlin has been tough to beat. He has a third and fifth-place finish to his credit, and in the other race he finished 12th. In fact, Hamlin is one of only four drivers to have at least two top-5s in the last three races at Kansas Speedway. He has finished 11th or better in all but one of the tri oval intermediate races this season and with nothing to lose, look for Hamlin to gamble with pit strategy and fuel mileage if it comes into play (which is usually the case at Kansas).
2011 Hollywood Casino 400 Information
Race Date: Sunday, Oct. 9
Location: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS
Pre-Race: 1:00PM ET
Green Flag: Approx. 2:14PM ET
TV Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: MRN
Track Type: Oval (267 laps)
Opening Odds: 2011 Hollywood Casino 400 Odds