Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch has been on a roll the last
several races, and he's hoping his momentum continues this weekend at Kansas
Since finishing 34th and 23rd in the first two races (Daytona and Phoenix),
Busch has scored five consecutive top-five finishes, including victories in
two of the last three events. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 125 of 200 laps
to win last month's race in Fontana, Calif. He won again this past Saturday at
Texas after running in front for 171 of 334 laps.
Kansas has not been one of Busch's best racetracks in the past. He has
finished no better than seventh in 11 Sprint Cup starts at this 1.5-mile
track. His only other top-10 finish here came one year ago when he placed
"I thought we were running decent there last year," Busch said. "I was
leading, and I spun myself out while I was leading so, that was dumb. So
hopefully we have a good car like that this time around. I don't make a
mistake like that."
After its spring race last year, Kansas received a new coat of asphalt on its
surface. The track was also reconfigured with variable banking of 17-20
degrees in all four turns.
When the series most recently competed here last October, every driver in the
qualifying field eclipsed Matt Kenseth's track record of 180.856 mph, with
Kasey Kahne topping out at a blistering 191.360 mph.
But Kahne's record at Kansas might be "dust in the wind" with NASCAR's new
Sprint Cup race car, the Gen-6, running at this track for the first time.
"Kansas is newly repaved, and it's got a winter on it now, so we'll see how
that changes things," Busch said. "I still expect it to be fast. It's a place
that you want to run well at, because it is a Chase race. So we've got to
develop our notes in Kansas (this) weekend."
Since the Gen-6 made its competition debut at the start of the season, there
have been new track qualifying records set at Bristol, Martinsville and Texas.
Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards, who hails from nearby Columbia, Mo.,
recently tested at Kansas, which he considers his home track.
"Kansas is a really tough racetrack right now to figure out where you need
speed, because it's so smooth, and it's so fast," Edwards said. "We saw 208
miles an hour or something like that in testing. That's a very fast racetrack,
especially since it doesn't have a lot of banking. It's not a really high-
banked track. It's just very smooth and has a ton of grip. It's very, very
Martin Truex Jr. has been perhaps the best driver at Kansas lately. Truex
finished second in both races here last year. In the spring event, he put on a
dominating performance by leading 173 of 267 laps, but Denny Hamlin passed him
for the top spot with 31 laps to go. Hamlin went on to score the victory.
Six months ago, Truex challenged Matt Kenseth for the lead in the closing
laps, but Kenseth held him off at the finish by 0.5 seconds for the win.
Truex also finished second at Texas. He held the lead late in that race, but
Busch beat him off of pit road during the last round of pit stops with 20 laps
left. Truex has finished in the runner-up spot six times now since his lone
Sprint Cup win almost six years ago at Dover.
"It seems like our mile and a half big track program is pretty good and kind
of like Kansas, so I look forward to going there," Truex said. "I think it's
going to be a lot different from last year, but it's the same racetrack."
Brian Vickers will once again drive the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in
place of Hamlin, who continues to recover from a compression fracture in his
lower back. Hamlin suffered the injury during an accident on the final lap of
last month's race at Fontana.
Forty-five teams are on the preliminary entry list for the STP 400.
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Sunday, April 21. Race: STP 400. Site: Kansas
Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 1:00 p.m. ET. Laps: 267. Miles:
400.5. 2012 Winner: Denny Hamlin. Television: FOX. Radio: Motor Racing Network
(MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
The Sports Network