Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 11/12/14

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2009 in Avondale, AZ. (Photo by Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

NASCAR heads to the heartland this weekend, with Kansas on deck.  There are cornfields, legends of Oz, too many references to red shoes, and far too many ways to lose cash at a trackside casino.  Odds are good that Dorothy will receive a mention as well, and that the following drivers will do well in Sunday's race.

Row 1 Pole Position: Greg Biffle Coming off of his return voyage to victory circle in Texas last weekend, Biffle enters Kansas with a series-best average finish of 8.3 at the Kansas half-mile.  Biffle's held true to early season promise, and he should be kept in the center of one's radar as a favorite once again.   Outside pole: Jimmie Johnson Jimmie led a quartet of Hendrick top-tens last weekend with a second-place effort.  Five-Time's Kansas stats are, more or less, second only to Biffle's, and with even more Hendrick 200th win blood in the water, Team 48 will be tough to beat.  Row 2 Position 3: Jeff Gordon Gordon finally found finishing resolution to race speed last weekend, netting a top-5 finish instead of finding ill luck derailing a race's worth of excellent effort.  He's in a trio of drivers, including the two above, who generally have stellar stats at Kansas, and with two wins to his resume, Gordon is a prime favorite. Position 4: Matt Kenseth Kenseth continues to impress on Friday and Sunday, qualifying well and racing even better.  He has a handful of top-fives and top-tens at Kansas, and Roush usually excels as a whole at the heartland venue.  Kenseth should continue with a fine display of top-10 form. Row 3 Position 5: Brad Keselowksi Keselowski parlayed a fuel mileage circus to win last year's spring event, and he doubled up on top-fives with a third in the Chase Kansas race.  He's run excellently in most races in 2012, with a few mechanical maladies tarnishing his actual results on paper.  If his car is in one piece at race's end, Bad Brad should be in the top-10.
Position 6: Martin Truex Jr. Truex Jr. continues to deny past personal statistics at various tracks and ride Michael Waltrip Racing's current high to stellar finishes.  He's a career-best fourth in the points after another top-10 effort (sixth) at Texas, and he must be kept on the roster until further notice.  Row 4 Position 7: Dale Earnhardt Jr. As many times as teammate Johnson has seemingly flirted with a win in 2012, it's still Junior who's looking down at his buds from third in the points standings.  He seems hard-pressed to run outside of the top 10, and like Truex Jr., Dale Jr. gets the nod until signs point otherwise.  He should be good come Sunday. Position 8: Tony Stewart Stewart's been a funny case in 2012, leading the series in wins (two) but also frequently decking his results with ignoble finishes outside the top 20.  It's been a hot or cold start for Stewart in 2012, but this week's rankings look at his two Kansas wins and eight top-tens; look for a hot weekend for Smoke.  Row 5 Position 9: Carl Edwards Carl has eased his way into 2012, hovering around tenth in the series standings with four top-tens and simply stable results.  Kansas is a good track for him, with four top-5's and seven top-10's marking his rap-sheet.  Look for Team 99 to score a quiet top-10 run. Position 10: Mark Martin Martin continues to enjoy the successful swells of Michael Waltrip Racing, cracking the top-20 in points having run two less races than anyone around him.  He has three top-10's in five starts this year, and odds are he'll contend for another one come Sunday. Row 6 Position 11: Kevin Harvick Not surprisingly, Harvick has simply done his thing in 2012, with four top-10's and quiet consistency landing him in fifth place in the points.  Don't necessarily expect a winning performance this weekend, but look for race-long, solid efforts and yet another stable result. Position 12: Clint Bowyer Like the rest of Michael Waltrip Racing, Bowyer is on top-10 watch until further bulletins warrant notice.  He has decent, but not superb, stats at Kansas, a second-place effort in 2007 being his best finish.  Expect top-15 contention. Lucky dog: Kyle Busch
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