NASCAR Preview: 2020 Hollywood Casino 400 Picks

The next round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is here starting with the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway this Sunday. It’s no surprise which drivers are favored to win outright at the 1.5-mile speedway by oddsmakers starting with Kevin Harvick who comes in at +300.

Harvick has nine wins this season and sits atop the Playoff standings heading into the race weekend. Harvick struggled some on the Roval last week and didn’t have his best Talladega race the week before but he still is one of the most dominant cars in the Cup Series. Plus, he’s consistent which matters in the Round of Eight.

The Round of Eight is exactly that – four of twelve remaining drivers were eliminated from the Championship battle last week. Sixteen started the playoffs. Four of the remaining eight drivers will be cut after the next three races. That means being consistent and near the front collecting, points may be as important as winning a race.

The other driver that fits the same mold as Harvick is Denny Hamlin who comes in at +450 with Martin Truex Jr. The two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates remain in the playoffs while fellow JGR driver Kyle Busch was eliminated last week.

The top five favorites to win the Hollywood Casino 400, according to Intertops, have all won at Kansas. Combined, they’ve each won eight of the last ten races at this track.

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Kevin Harvick +300

Denny Hamlin +450

Martin Truex Jr +450

Chase Elliott +550

Brad Keselowski +800

Championship Playoff Drivers:

Eight drivers remain in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs following last week’s race at the Charlotte Roval Road Course. The cut-line after the Bank of America Roval 400 is four. Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon were eliminated last week.

1. Kevin Harvick

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Brad Keselowski

4. Chase Elliott

Cutoff Line:

5. Joey Logano

6. Martin Truex Jr

7. Alex Bowman

8. Kurt Busch

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2020 Hollywood Casino 400 Preview

Track: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas

Type: Tri-oval, 1.5 miles, asphalt

Turns: 4

Banking: Turns; 17-20° (Progressive), Front: 9-11° (Progressive), Back: 5°

Race Distance: 399.954 miles, 109 laps

Defending Track Winner: Denny Hamlin

TV/Radio: NBC / MRN

Start Time: Sunday, October 18, at 2:30 PM Eastern

Wins by Manufacturer at Kansas: Chevrolet 12, Ford 8, Toyota 7, (Dodge 2).

2020 Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Predictions

Denny Hamlin + 450

Denny Hamlin has owned Kansas for the last two races as he went back-to-back last year winning both races at Kansas. He has three wins overall at Kansas in the Cup Series and has amassed eight top-five and nine top-ten finishes at the track.

Chase Elliott +550

Chase Elliott has been hot as of late and one of my most solid picks. I don’t often go with drivers to win in consecutive weeks – especially when the race moves from a road course to a high-speed tri-oval. However, Elliott won at Kansas in 2018 and has finished fourth or better in his last six trips to the track.

Brad Keselowski +800

Brad Keselowski has finished in the top-ten six times over his last ten starts at Kansas. Heading into Kansas he’s third in the Playoff standings and he finished second at Kansas earlier this season.

Others I Like

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch: You can’t count out Harvick on any track. He won at Kansas in 2018 and finished fourth at the track earlier this season. Kyle Busch has been eliminated from the Championship playoffs but that may lift the weight off his shoulders enough where he can grab his first win of the season.

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One Fantasy Driver

Here’s the guy I round out my fantasy team with this week – Martin Truex Jr! Over the last ten races at Kansas, he’s finished in the top-ten six times and led 457 laps which – depending on your fantasy league – equals points.

2020 Hollywood Casino 400 Odds

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Kevin Harvick +300

Denny Hamlin +450

Martin Truex Jr +450

Chase Elliott +550

Brad Keselowski +800

Ryan Blaney +1200

Joey Logano +1200

Kyle Busch +1400

Alex Bowman +2000

Kurt Busch +2500

Aric Almirola +3300

Erik Jones +4000

Clint Bowyer +4000

William Byron +5000

Jimmie Johnson +5000

Tyler Reddick +6600

Matt Dibenedetto +6600

Cole Custer +8000

Austin Dillon +8000

Christopher Bell +10000

Matt Kenseth +12500

Ricky Stenhouse Jr +15000

Ryan Newman +20000

Chris Buescher +25000

Darrell Wallace Jr +40000

John Hunter Nemechek +50000

Ty Dillon +75000

Ryan Preece +100000

Michael McDowell +100000

Daniel Suarez +150000

Brennan Poole +200000

Josh Bilicki +200000

James Davison +200000

Corey Lajoie +200000

Reed Sorenson +200000

Joey Gase +200000

Timmy Hill +400000

Quinn Houff +400000

J.J. Yeley +400000

About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.