Found October 03, 2013 on Fox Sports:
With the Chase for the Sprint Cup already a three-man runaway after just three races, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Here are five things you need to know about the race: BOYS UNDER THE HOOD -- The most nervous guys in Sunday's race? That's easy: the engine tuners. Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile track very similar in layout to Chicagoland Speedway, where the Chase began last month. At the Chicagoland race, six drivers blew engines, including championship contenders Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano. Sunday at Kansas Speedway, the high temperature is only expected to hit 60 degrees. Cool weather means more grip in the track, which equates to higher speeds, higher engine revolutions per minute and a much higher chance of engine failure. That could be devastating to one or more of the title contenders. BIG DOGS HUNT -- The top two in the Sprint Cup points standings are great at Kansas Speedway. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth each have two race victories and six top-five finishes here. Johnson has the best average finish of any driver in the race at 7.643, and has led the most laps, 556. Kenseth is second in laps led with 479, and won here in the spring. Third-place Kyle Busch, however, struggles at Kansas, where he's never finished better than seventh, has led only 84 laps in his career and has an average finish of 22.417. Is this the week he gets left behind by Johnson and Kenseth? RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD -- Goodyear is bringing an all-new tire combination this week using its so-called "multi-zone" tread tire on the right side. The right-side tire features the same compound that Sprint Cup teams ran at Kansas earlier this season across the outside nine inches of the tread (traction zone) with a more heat-resistant compound on the inside three inches (endurance zone). Goodyear officials say the "left-side (tire) features a compound change designed to give the cars more grip." Again, more grip equates to more speed and potentially more engine failures. The first race with the multi-zone tires was at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month, with Kyle Busch winning. TRACK POSITION IS KING -- Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kenseth and Busch have won seven of the eight Cup races run at 1.5-mile tracks this season, while Johnson has seven top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile races this year, including a third-place finish at Kansas in the spring. But the dominance of the JGR Toyotas might be somewhat misleading. Six of the eight 1.5-mile races have seen the race-winning pass made either on pit road or on the first lap of green-flag racing after pit stops. And only three times did the driver who led the most laps win the race. There will be tremendous pressure on the pit crews to execute flawless stops and get their driver out in the lead. POINTS -- The way NASCAR's points system works, bad finishes hurt drivers a lot more than good finishes help them. Just ask Earnhardt Jr. When the Chase began, he was 15 points behind Kenseth. After his catastrophic engine failure in the Chase opener at Chicagoland, Junior fell 53 points behind Kenseth. In his next two races, Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth at New Hampshire and second at Dover. And he now trails Kenseth by 57 points. Seven of the 13 Chase drivers are already more than one full race behind in points. The only way anyone other than Kenseth, Johnson or Kyle Busch becomes champion this year is if all three leaders stumble badly over the final seven races. And so far, there aren't any signs of that happening.

Dale Jr. is quite the fan of barbecue

ROANOKE, Texas -- There's no doubt Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes his Sprint Cup career seriously. But there's something that may be almost as near and dear to the sport's most popular driver barbecue. It's not just a fad either. Earnhardt didn't mind starting his day in Kansas for testing and ending it at a promotional event for the November Sprint Cup race...

Kenseth Concerned About Test Results

Despite putting up the 13th best lap, Matt Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing team did not sound happy about what they learned during Thursday’s test session at the Kansas Speedway. You’d think the driver who’s won the last two races at the track would be excited out there. Instead[...]

Opinions differ on new Goodyear tire for Kansas

Chase leader Matt Kenseth could be forgiven for a relatively sour opinion of the tire that Goodyear brought to Kansas Speedway this weekend. It's not that he dislikes the ''multi-zone tread'' that made its debut Sept. 1 at Atlanta. It's just that the defending race winner at Kansas would have been happier with the status quo. ''I would have rather...

Dale Jr. concerned about his Redskins start

ROANOKE, Texas -- About the same time Sunday that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was vying for his first Sprint Cup win of the season, his favorite NFL team was winning its first game of the season. Unfortunately for Earnhardt, he finished second to teammate Jimmie Johnson at Dover. The good news for Earnhardt was that his Redskins rallied for a 24-14 victory win over Oakland. Earnhardt isn...

Did Dale Earnhardt Jr. let Jimmie Johnson win?

RFR in need of a boost at Kansas

This weekend we are in the heart of the Midwest. We are back to Kansas for the second time in 2013. Back in the third week of April, our current points leader, Matt Kenseth, went to Victory Lane at Kansas. I actually think if you go back and look at who the strong players were at Chicago, which was the first stop in this year's Chase, I am expecting more of the same here at...

Johnson not about to bow to JGR duo

So race number three of the Chase is in the books with Jimmie Johnson winning for the eighth time at Dover. Jimmie's results are phenomenal there. He's also led the most laps in all eight races. Sunday's victory moved him into second spot in the points and only eight points behind leader Matt Kenseth. In all reality, Matt, Jimmie and third-place Kyle Busch are in a virtual...

NASCAR at Kansas 2013: Weekend Schedule, Start Time, Practice, Qualifying, TV and Weather Info

Getty Images for NASCAR NASCAR heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Missouri this weekend. Both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series will be racing at the 1.5 mile track. The Nationwide Series will run the Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday — while the Sprint Cup teams hit the track on Sunday for the Hollywood Casino 400. The Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend, they...

Dover was bittersweet for Earnhardt

Sunday at Dover had to be a very encouraging day for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 team. I honestly would have to think long and hard to find another weekend where they were spot on from the moment they unloaded on Friday to the checkered flag on Sunday. They were good in all the practices. They sat on the pole after qualifying. He led 80 laps and finished second. That has...

Race Preview: Hollywood Casino 400

Rounds one and two went to Matt Kenseth, round three went to Jimmie Johnson. When the Sprint Cup Series comes to the Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, who will grab round number four in the Chase for the Sprint Cup? Coming into the weekend momentum is on Matt[...]

Tires a new twist at Kansas Speedway

With seven races to decide the Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR opened Kansas Speedway early for a half-day of tire testing on Thursday. Although the test was delayed by rain, an assist by Air Titan -- NASCAR's new drying system that was first introduced during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in February -- enabled 38 teams to take to the 1.5-mile track by early...

NASCAR: Kenseth, Johnson and Kyle Busch dominating Chase so far

It’s no secret that the 2013 Sprint Cup Chase got off to a rather rocky start. It all began with Richmond, whose results determine the Chase contenders for the following 10 races. This year Richmond, with the now infamous “Richmond Spingate” fiasco, was quite a game changer! The results: NASCAR handing down penalties and the addition of  the #13 Chase contender, Jeff Gordon...

NASCAR: Will a non-Chase driver break up the party at Kansas Speedway?

Chase Leader Kenseth Gets Second Shot At ‘Triple’  For Matt Kenseth, the third time was not the charm. The 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion failed last Sunday to fashion a record, third consecutive victory to start the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ but finished seventh to maintain his championship lead. Kenseth, who heads five-time champion Jimmie Johnson by eight...

Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Sprint Cup Series at Kansas

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head back to Kansas this week for the Hollywood Casino 400. The last race at Kansas in April was dominated by Matt Kenseth. He started on the pole and led 163 of the 267 laps on his way to Victory Lane. Kenseth must be on every team this week. If you are looking for a sleeper pick for your team this week, look no further than the Kansas native Clint...

Stat Line: Hollywood Casino 400

This week’s edition of Start ‘N’ Park Blog’s Stat Line breaks down the numbers behind Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 from the Kansas Speedway. History: Races: 15 Races Won from the Pole: 3 Last Race Won from the Pole: Matt Kenseth (04/21/2013) Race Record: Denny Hamlin 144.122 mph (04/22/2012) Qualifying Record:[...]
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