Unlike last week at Daytona, this week is gonna be all about the dominator. In 8 races at Kentucky, 1 driver has led more than half the scheduled 267 total laps a whopping 5 times! Brad Keselowski led the most laps ever here in 2014, leading 199 laps. I have no reason to think it will be any different this week. The new package makes it even harder to pass on what is historically a 1 grove track. NASCAR is using the PJ1 compound on the high grove this week to try to open up another line. Drivers did make some headway in the Xfinity race working that grove. The importance of nailing the dominator is compounded by the fact that drivers seldom gain a bunch of spots through the race here, making it harder to rack up those position differential points. In fact, only 22% of the field has a positive position differential over their SP for their career at the track. Track position is gonna be key, passing will be difficult, and long green flag runs will spread the field out. I do not expect a high drop out rate! Fords are gonna be the chalkiest plays this week due to the speed they have shown in practice. Remember, they will be racing at night, not the same conditions they practiced in, for that reason, I am slightly fading the chalk fords. You make money by being right when everyone else is wrong, not by being right when everyone else is right! Be aware that this week is an Impound race, starting positions will not be final until after Inspection on Saturday morning, any car that fails will have their qualifying time disallowed and will have to start from the back. Their official SP will change as well!

Dominator Rankings

     1. Kyle Busch $11500

     2. Kevin Harvick $10600

     3. Martin Truex $11000

     4. Brad Keselowski $10000

Kyle Busch $11500 – Busch is my pick for the top dominator spot this week. Busch leads all drivers with the most laps led at Kentucky with 549 laps, he has also led the 2nd most laps on intermediate tracks this year. Kentucky is one of Busch’s best tracks, he has an outstanding 6 Top 5 finishes in 8 career starts. Busch will be starting 10th on Saturday night, which sweetens his upside with some PD! My prediction is he takes the lead towards the beginning of stage 2 and doesn’t look back. Lock him in!

Upper Tier Rankings

     1. Chase Elliot $9700

     2. Eric Jones $8900

     3. Denny Hamlin $9100

     4. Kurt Busch $9300

     5. Ryan Blaney $8300

     6. Jimmie Johnson $8100

     7. Kyle Larson $9500

     8. Alex Bowman $8500

     9. Clint Bowyer $8700

   10. Aric Almirola $8200

Chase Elliot $9700 – HMS has really stepped up their performance in recent weeks and Chase has already shown speed in practice. Combine that with a poor qualifying run and you get some great PD Upside! Chase has 3 top 5’s on intermediate tracks this year, along with a top 5 at KY in 17’. Chase brings to the table some 2nd half dominator potential having led 268 laps on the intermediates this season.

Jimmie Johnson $8100 – I love Jimmie this week! Jimmie has benefited from the improvement of HMS and is trending up! 2 weeks ago at Chicagoland he had what was then his best finish of the season in P4. Jimmie bested that last week with a 3rd at Daytona. Even in a down year, Jimmie has been solid on intermediates scoring 5 Top 10’s! Jimmie and HMS as a whole is gaining confidence, couple that with some solid PD upside and he becomes a steal at this price point. 

Mid Tier Rankings

   1. William Byron $7500

    2. Ricky Stenhouse $7800

    3. Ryan Newman $7900

    4. Austin Dillon $7200

    5. Paul Menard $7000

    6. Chris Buescher $7300

    7. Daniel Suarez $7500

    8. Daniel Hemric $6300

    9. Ty Dillon $6500

  10. Ryan Preece $6100

  11. Michael McDowell $6700

  12. Matt Dibenedetto $6800

William Byron $7500 – If you haven’t noticed yet, I am all in on HMS cars this week! Byron is one of the best values at $7500. Byron has a 50% top 10 rate on intermediates this season. I expect him to improve on that mark this week from SP12. Byron has also had a knack for staying on the lead lap this year. That is gonna be very important in a race that will have maybe 10-12 cars on the lead lap at the finish. That would be huge if we get a late race caution.

Ricky Stenhouse $7800 – Anytime you put Ricky into your line up you have to accept the fact he could crash and burn your line up. However, this package seems to suit him very well. It seems like he finds his way into the Top 10 at some point during each race, he does not always finish there though. The upside is he has 2 Top 10’s and a Top 5 on intermediates this season. Plus, his avg finish of 14.2 is best in his price range. He doesn’t have to do much better than that to give you some decent PD this week.

Punt Rankings

    1. David Ragan $5700

    2. Bubba Wallace $5500

    3. Corey Lajoie $5300

    4. Matt Tifft $5400

    5. Ross Chastain $5900

    6. Landon Cassill $5200

    7. Quinn Hoff $5000

David Ragan $5700 – Ragan is by far the best driver in this range at KY. Not only does Ragan have an avg finish of 22nd, but he also has a Top 10 finish! He is also the driver with the best Avg PD for his career in the entire field, he averages a finish 5.6 spots higher than where he starts! Ragan comes with little risk as well, not only does he have 0 DNF’s on intermediates this season, but he also has 0 DNF’s in 8 starts at KY.