Sprint Cup Series
Race: STP 400
Track: Kansas Speedway
Location: Kansas City, Kan.
Date: Sunday, April 22
TV: FOX (12:30 p.m. EST)
Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval; Banking/Turns: 15°; Banking/Tri-Oval: 10.4°; Banking/Backstretch: 5°
2011 Winners: Brad Keselowski (June); Jimmie Johnson (Oct.)
2012 Race Length: 400.5 miles/267 laps
Track Qualifying Record: 180.856 mph (Matt Kenseth, 2005)
Race Record: 138.077 mph (Greg Biffle, 2010)
Camping World Truck Series
Race: SFP 250
Track: Kansas Speedway
Date: Saturday, April 21
TV: SPEED (1:30 p.m. EST)
2011 Winner: Clint Bowyer
From the Spotter’s Stand
After Kansas Speedway’s 10 seasons as a one-stop shop on the Cup schedule, NASCAR (and International Speedway Corp.) brought a second race to Kansas City in 2011.
The new June date was a welcome addition for Brad Keselowski, who crossed the finish line running on fumes after squeezing 57 green-flag laps out of his last tank of gas to earn his second career Cup win, beating out his old boss Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In the traditional fall event, Jimmie Johnson joined Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle as the only two-time winners in Kansas’ 12-race history. The 1.5-mile tri-oval has been good to Johnson, who has nine top 10s in 11 runs and has led a track-record 501 total laps — including 197 in October — which is 155 more than the next-best all-time, Biffle.
Crew Chief’s Take
“The thing about Kansas that makes it a little different is the pavement, and how the surface has started to wear out, which is a good thing for us when we’re racing. Of course, they’re going to repave the place after this race, so we should enjoy it while we’ve got it.
“As with many of the circuit’s 1.5- and 2-mile ovals, bump stops on the shocks play an important role at Kansas. A team must find an optimal setting for the bump stops or the car will be negatively affected by being too low — which drags the splitter and affects handling — or too high — which gets air under the car and results in a lack of front-end downforce.”
Classic Moments at Kansas
It was 2001, and Jeff Gordon was rolling. Well on his way to a fourth Winston Cup title, Gordon and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team led 53 laps in the inaugural race at Kansas Speedway in the Protection One 400.
Gordon and Rusty Wallace, who led 117 laps, were in a dogfight for the lead with just under 50 laps to go, but a caution brought the field to pit road. On exit, Wallace was busted for speeding and sent to the end of the longest line for the restart.
Ricky Rudd, in the No. 28 Havoline Ford, assumed the lead and led 14 laps until Gordon and Mark Martin got by him with 23 laps remaining just prior to a vicious wreck by Dale Jarrett that briefly knocked him unconscious.
Gordon held on from there, beating Ryan Newman, in his sixth career start, by .413 seconds.
For complete fantasy coverage of Kansas Speedway and each track on the Sprint Cup circuit, visit Pennell’s Picks, posted each Thursday at AthlonSports.com.
by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro