Tonight is the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway. It is the 12th race of the 2019 season and the 2nd night race of the year. This will be the first night race that will display the full aero package meant to keep the cars closer together and emphasize drafting. We could finally get what NASCAR has been looking for all year long as the cold air will allow high grip, making drivers be able to hold down the throttle longer in the corners. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s for the entire race and there is even a slight threat of rain but it should miss the track.
Kevin Harvick is on the pole and he is seeking his first win of the season. He has not struggled when it comes to finishing but Stewart-Haas as a team expects wins and the team has not done that yet this year, but they have a great chance with Harvick and Clint Bowyer starting on the front row. Unfortunately for them, Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez failed inspection and will have to start at the back of the field with Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and others. These penalties will move William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace, and the Busch brothers up four starting positions.
Speaking of Bubba Wallace, his best starting position of the season should give him a shot of positivity as he recently opened up about battling depression. He has been dealing with some personal issues and it does not help that he is struggled with Richard Petty Motorsports since joining the team at the start of the 2018 season. Through 11 races this year, Wallace has no top 5s or top 10s, 2 DNFs, and an average finish of 26.9 with his best finish coming at Martinsville where he finished 17th. With a top-10 starting spot tonight, Bubba looks for his best finish of the season.
With many drivers moving to the back of the field due to failing inspection, it will be interesting to see how they move their way up to the front in what drivers, media, and fans are expecting to be a pack-heavy race with lots of drafting. We have seen glimpses of what NASCAR wants at tracks like Atlanta and Texas, but the package overall just has not provided the excitement that was expected so far. That could turn around tonight at Kansas.
My pick: Kevin Harvick
Dark Horse: William Byron
TV: FS1, Radio: MRN
Time: 7:30 pm ET