NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Hollywood Casino 400

Alex Bowman starts deep in the field in a Hendrick Motorsports car that is sure to be plenty fast Sunday in Kansas. Who else should we target for this weekend's FanDuel NASCAR slate?

If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers who crash out of the race is a must, of course!

numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his betting odds and form breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, he also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

Rarely does a NASCAR race deliver exactly as expected, but last weekend in Texas did. Kyle Larson led 256 of 334 laps in a dominant win, and he punched his ticket to the championship race in Phoenix regardless of what happens this weekend or next. That leaves just two more golden tickets available for Larson's competitors before the race, but they will have to find their way around "Yung Money" to actually earn one.

The starting lineup for this race was set by NASCAR's general qualifying formula with no practice and qualifying this weekend. To no one's surprise, that put Larson on the pole for this weekend's race, and his largest 550-horsepower track rival this season, Ryan Blaney, will start on the outside of Row 1.

With all of this in mind, let's preview the Hollywood Casino 400 in Kansas on FanDuel.

High-Salaried Drivers

Kyle Larson ($14,500): It might just be easier to copy and paste Larson's section from last week in Texas before he blistered the field. The one key difference this weekend is motivation, as his Hendrick Motorsports team is likely far more focused on setup and development for his car in Phoenix -- an entirely different track type. Larson is still the +260 betting favorite without his best punch this weekend and for good reason -- Larson is stupid fast. He had the fastest median lap time in the spring race at Kansas, and Larson has four races in this aerodynamic package this season with a first-place average running position. The only thing that may stop Larson is the lack of incentive to smash the field from the pole position again.

Chase Elliott ($12,500): Right around the playoff cut line, Larson's teammate Elliott has maximum motivation to win this weekend, and he appears to have the speed to do it. Elliott had the second-fastest median lap time at Las Vegas four weeks ago as the last 1.5-mile track the series visited with moderate tire wear; Texas has essentially no tire wear. The winner of that race, Denny Hamlin ($13,500), is likely the most popular Larson pivot, but it's hard to deny a Hendrick Motorsports team that has had at least two cars post a top-five median lap time in every 1.5-mile race this season. He starts 5th.

Others to Consider: Denny Hamlin ($13,500), Kyle Busch ($13,000)

Mid-Salaried Drivers

William Byron ($11,500): Byron spent 500 miles behind Larson last Sunday, as he posted a second-place average running position, second-place median lap time, and second-place finish. That type of speed still makes him an option even though his 2021 playoffs ended two weeks ago. He posted the sixth-best median lap time in the May event at Kansas, and he only appears to have gotten stronger on this track type as the season has continued. Outside of the playoffs, he could start no higher than 9th despite the finish and speed last week, so he does bring some place-differential juice from that starting spot, as well.

Alex Bowman ($9,500): Bowman has lagged considerably behind his teammates Larson, Byron, and Elliott on 1.5-mile tracks this season in terms of speed, but there are enough bright spots to buy low in Kansas. Bowman had top-five finishes in both Atlanta races with heavy tire wear, and he also finished fifth at Charlotte on a 1.5-mile track with minimal tire wear. Theoretically, the median tire wear situation this weekend could suit him well, even if his 18th-place averaging running position in May is slightly concerning. Starting 25th, he will be incredibly popular to roster with solid equipment underneath him; the pieces are there to significantly miss out if you fade his effort at Kansas earlier this year.

Others to Consider: Ryan Blaney ($11,000), Tyler Reddick ($9,200), Austin Dillon ($8,200), Matt DiBenedetto ($8,000)

Low-Salaried Drivers

Chris Buescher ($6,700): In a year where Roush Fenway Racing has flashed almost no speed, Buescher on this particular track type is the lone exception. Buescher had a solid 17th-best median lap time at Texas last weekend in addition to an 18th-place median time at Las Vegas a few weeks ago. His 22nd-best time was not particularly stellar at Kansas in May, but he improved greatly over the course of the day to rally to an 8th-place finish. Buescher's involvement in late issues at Texas leaves him starting 21st this weekend, and that is just enough place-differential upside to cut the mustard at this value salary.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($5,800): When I referred to him as "Wrecky Spinhouse" in last week's helper, I deserved what happened from there. In fairness, Stenhouse was one of a baker's dozen cars collected in a strange melee on Texas's backstretch a week ago; it wasn't actually his fault this time! While the crash concerns are obvious again, he still brings tremendous speed at a value salary. He still has posted four top-15 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks this year, and his place-differential upside is the best of anyone in this salary range that can actually score a top-10 finish. He starts 28th after last week's incident.

Others to Consider: Ross Chastain ($7,500), Erik Jones ($6,500), Bubba Wallace ($6,200), Parker Kligerman ($4,500)