September 29, 2008
Predicting Talladega is like buying a lottery ticket. Sometimes you win a buck, sometimes you win a little more – but most often you end up wasting money. Case in point the last 3 races at the track in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Back in 2005 Dale Jarrett came out of nowhere to steal the race, and Brian Vickers’ last lap “pass” that sent Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. spinning ruined a lot of days. Then we have the battle last season, in which Jeff Gordon made one of the gutsiest passes I’ve seen at a plate race to snag the win from Johnson with Tony Stewart right on his tail.
There is always a sort of feeling heading into the October Talladega race that you don’t feel in the spring. I’ve felt it for years, and the additions of the Chase have only heightened the anticipation, majesty, and… fear.
2007 – Jeff Gordon
2006 – Brian Vickers
2005 – Dale Jarrett
2004 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2007 – Jimmie Johnson – 2nd
2006 – Jimmie Johnson – 24th
2005 – Tony Stewart – 2nd
2004 – Kurt Busch – 5th
As has been the trend in the Chase, Johnson’s 2006 run has been the aberration in how to win the championship. In this case as you can see, throw out that year and the champ will finish in the top 5 at Talladega. This year, that seems to show that some combination of Johnson, Carl Edwards, or Greg Biffle battling for the win. Some smart money would also be on Gordon, Dale Jr., or Kevin Harvick, as the Chevy track record is particularly strong.
Talladega is good for a few surprises in the top 10. In recent years, drivers such as Tony Raines, Jeff Green, and Brendan Gaughan all recorded surprisingly good finishes here. One driver to look for is Mike Wallace in a fourth RCR car. Wallace is widely considered one of the best plate racers, and this car could be really good, or really bad. That’s half the fun of sleepers! For those that have taken a chance on my heavy sleepers, first of all, I apologize. This week I’m going to step out on that limb with David Gilliland. He has run well at plate races, and good be racing for a job next year, given that Paul Menard is headed to the Yates team.
In case you didn’t guess by the title of the column, the Talladega theme song is “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses. Reportedly the long-awaited album Chinese Democracy will be out November 25. Maybe we can get that free Dr Pepper after all.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media
September 29, 2008
I know that ”Dega is supposed to be the “wild card”. That I CAN buy because somebody – maybe several somebodies – who are in Cup contention, or appear to be (there are a lot of “ors” in this conversation) will almost, for sure get caught up in an Alabama Big One and, by that fact, be able to blame their failure to win the 2008 Sprint Cup on something other than their own culpability.
I try to use useful statistics when writing these Chase posts. But try as I might, I couldn’t find a stat that pointed me, specifically towards those drivers who have most consistently participated in Talladega “Big Ones”. Almost makes one think of conspiracy theories – but I don’t subscribe.
I can tell you, based upon NASCAR’s Loop data for the last seven races run at Talladega; of the 2008 Chase contenders, Greg Biffle sucks. No offense meant Greg, but I’m guessing you’ve spent more than your share of time as a pinball than you would care to admit.
Now the Biff has been as good as anyone in the first three Chase races and the top Roush-Fenway Racing cars – Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth – are stout. But the best Loop rated Roushketeer at Talladega is Jamie McMurray for cryin’ out loud! McMurray’s Driver Rating is fourth best – 92.1 – compared to Biffle’s 68.0.
The only regular Cup series drivers with worse DR’s that Biffles’s are Casey Mears, David Gilliland, Robby Gordon, Dave Blaney and, surprisingly, Mark Martin.
Plate tracks are different animals. The temptation is to discount Greg’s Talladega stats as “big one syndrome” or something. He has been really good these first three Chase races. But his loop stats for those races were very strong too. Some drivers – and teams – do extremely well on the plate tracks. The Earnhardts, Richard Childress Racing and DEI have dominated in the past. Roush has not. Biffle is not the pick this week.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media, inc.
September 28, 2008
Talladega Superspeedway is the biggest and scariest track in the Chase.
This Alabama track holds the distinction of the fastest qualifying time in NASCAR history when Bill Elliott turned 212.8 miles per hour in 1987. Speed has always been a concern at the 2.66 mile tri-oval. It’s inaguaral race in 1969 was wrought with controversy as the drivers of the Professional Drivers Association, boycotted the race due to concerns over the tires holding together at the speeds the track produced. The PDA was a short lived drivers union headed by Richard Petty. The boycott saw second tier drivers running that first race and gave journeymnan driver, Richard Brickhouse his only win in NASCAR’s premier series.
In 1987 Bobby Allison experienced a tire failure while going through the tri-oval , which sent his car airborne. His car tore out a portion of the frontstretch catch fence, nearly entering the crowd. NASCAR imposed rule changes to slow the cars after the incident, with a 1988 rule requiring cars running there and at Daytona to begin use restrictor plates. The plates limit the amount of air and fuel entering the intake manifolds of the car, greatly reducing horsepower of the cars and therefore their speed.
The reduced power affects not only the cars maximum speed but also the reponsiveness of the throttle. The racing seen at Talladega today is extremely tight; often three or four abreast. This tight side by side racing with huge packs of cars are what makes “the big one” possible. The big accident is what makes Talladega so unique and unpredictable. Dega has been dubbed as a “wild card” race because of the swiftness and unmercilesness with wich the track and plate racing can change a drivers day, season or career.
Talladega sports the series steepest banking at thirty-three degrees and the most unusual start-finish line. The checkered flag waves just past the tri-oval area near pit out. The positioning was done to aid in the sale of more high priced seats. The unique positioning has led to a differnt strategy in closely contested finishes, as the race isn’ off of turn four, but is to be set up for the race through the tri-oval. Talladega also has an out-of-bounds line along the bottom of the race track which drivers must stay above or be penalized.
There tends to be two plots of strategy by drivers; either get out front and stay ahead of the big one or hold out near the back of the pack until there is one-hundred miles to go then start racing to the front. Both tactics have been successful; but more so the thought of staying out front.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has won this race five times including four straight from the Fall of 2001 through the Spring of 2003. Jeff Gordon has also won there five times, most recently sweeping both races last year. This recent success of the Hendrick team along with new teammate, Earnhardt, Jr could make it tough for anyone not sporting a Hendrick Chevy to pull off a win.
photo credit: Paul Freeman
September 27, 2008
Kansas Speedway has been kind to the drivers of the General Motors brand.
When a track has had as little history as Kansas, its hard to try to make any conclusions from the limited data. But one thing is clear; especially if you figure in the Nationwide Series numbers, Chevrolets have won half of the races since Kansas opened in 2001. Jeff Gordon won the first two Cup races at Kansas in 2001 and 2002.
Joe Nemecheck swept the Busch and Cup races in 2004, driving his own Chevy to the win in the Busch race and taking the Nelson Bowers owned #01 to the Cup win. Tony Stewart holds the most recent win in a Joe Gibbs owned ride from 2007.
Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch round out the Chevy wins in the Nationwide Series coming in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The remaining fifty percent of the wins are divided amongst Ford and Dodge on the Cup side along with a lone Pontiac win in the Nationwide Series.
While Rick Hendrick owned cars lay claim to the majority of the Chevy wins, all but one of the combined Ford wins have come from Jack Roush owned vehicles. It’s tough to bet against Chase drivers from either Hendrick or Roush. Jimmy Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. can be looked on as favorites at Kansas. With Johnson being given the pole for Sundays race following the disallowing of Juan Pablo Montoya‘s time, JJ would have to be the favorite to pick up his first win at Kansas.
Greg Biffle continues to impress also as his two Ford wins to start the Chase put him in the cat-bird seat.
photo credit: Icon Sports Media
September 26, 2008
Fool me once, Greg Biffle, shame on you – but you’re not fooling me two weeks in a row. Neither are you, Matt Kenseth, my dark horse pick of last week, or Carl Edwards, who I called a “no-brainer,” or Jeff Gordon, who was “reasonably near the front” all day, just like I said. In other words, I had a heck of a week last week at Dover, when most of my picks finished right around where I expected them to.
Kansas, however, is a whole different animal. The Car of Today has never raced at the relatively new track, and as such, it’s a little more difficult to predict who’s going to finish where based on past races alone. A good barometer for where Chase drivers are going to finish might be the July race at Chicagoland Speedway, a track very similar in design to Kansas.
Here’s what to expect from each of the 12 drivers this week at Kansas:
1. Carl Edwards: Carl didn’t finish too well at Chicagoland, ending up 32nd after falling a lap down, although he did lead with as little as 60 laps to go. He finished 3rd here in 2005 and 6th in 2006, although he crashed out with Tony Stewart last year and wound up 37th. Keep in mind that from the first race at Richmond until now, a span of 19 races, Carl has only finished outside of the top ten three times. Based on momentum alone, it’s hard to go wrong with picking Edwards this weekend.
2. Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie’s average starting position at Kansas is a fantastic 5.5, but his average finish is 12.0, and he hasn’t ever really contended for the win here except in 2006, when Stewart passed him with five laps to go. Johnson has been pretty hot since finishing 2nd at Chicagoland, however, so he should at least be good for a top 10 finish.
3. Greg Biffle: In the last 6 races at Kansas, Da Biff has the most points of anyone, with 849. He won here last year, and he’s won the last two races this year. He also finished 4th at Chicagoland this year. Nobody in the garage has more momentum coming into this weekend, and a career average finish of 11.0 (which bumps up to 6.0 if you only count his starts in Roush Fenway vehicles) says that Biffle will contend for three wins in a row on Sunday.
4. Jeff Burton: Aside from a 5th here in 2006, there hasn’t really been much for Burton to smile about at Kansas. It’s not exactly easy to predict where Burton will finish this week either, because his finishes have been all over the place since joining RCR: 15th in 2004, 28th in 2005, the aforementioned 5th in 2006, and 36th last year. Burton also only finished 19th at Chicagoland, despite starting the race 3rd. Be wary of the AT&T team this weekend, if only because Burton could either be a huge hit or huge miss this weekend.
5. Kevin Harvick: Happy is 5th all-time in points scored at Kansas, with 827. He’s only failed to compete 109 laps at the track, and 107 were because his car overheated in 2004. In other words, Harvick is usually consistently towards the front at Kansas – although he’s never led more than 48 laps in a race, and his highest finish is 6th, he has an average finish of 13.0 when his car completes the race. Harvick also finished 3rd at Chicagoland this year. If you can pick up Harvick for insurance purposes, he shouldn’t let you down.
6. Clint Bowyer: Home track advantage? Clint’s finished 9th and 2nd in two starts at his home track, putting him third overall in that two-race span. In the Nationwide Series the past two years, he finished 5th in 2006 and 4th last year. He’s generally good at Chicagoland too, with an average finish of 13.7. One more kicker: Clint’s only failed to complete two laps from the first Michigan race up to now. Bowyer might be one of the smartest picks in the field for Sunday.
7. Tony Stewart: Stewart’s second all-time in points scored at Kansas, with 966 in 7 starts. Even though he wrecked out here last year with Edwards, but it’s his only finish at the track worse than 14th. His average finish is an excellent 11.1 with one win, two years ago. Stewart was also 5th at Chicagoland earlier this year. Expect Stewart to be up towards the front, if not contending for another victory, come Sunday.
8. Jeff Gordon: The only driver to outrank Stewart here at Kansas is Gordon, who’s scored 18 more points than Stewart in the same amount of starts. Keep in mind, that translates to an average finish of 10.6 (or, if you discount a failed fuel pump in 2006, an excellent 5.8) with two wins. He finished 11th in Chicagoland this year, leading 6 laps towards the beginning of the event. Gordon’s a great pick if you want a potential steal this weekend.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Seventh-best all time at Kansas with 810 points, Junebug’s only failed to complete two laps at Kansas since 2002. Although his best finish is 6th in 2002, his average finish is a respectable 17.1. Junior finished 16th at Chicagoland after starting 2nd, remaining on the lead lap all race. All signs point to a top-15 finish for Junior, if not a top-10, but don’t bet on a win.
10. Matt Kenseth: An average finish of 22.1 isn’t going to do much for you this weekend. Then again, when Kenseth’s on a hot streak coming into Kansas, he can pull off some decent finishes: in 2002, he finished 7th for his fourth straight top-10, and in 2005 he finished 5th, capping an eight race stretch in which his average finish was 7.3. Kenseth’s got some momentum from Dover and could surprise this weekend.
11. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin’s never finished on the lead lap at Kansas, despite only failing to complete four laps in three Cup starts at the track. He won’t wreck out, sure, but a best finish of 18th isn’t exactly top-tier material. Even in the Nationwide Series, his average finish is only 17.0 after three starts with no top-5 finishes. Hamlin also only finished 40th at Chicagoland this year, four laps down. Avoid him if you can.
12. Kyle Busch: Damaged goods – do not touch. Everyone knows about Shrub’s meltdown the past two races, finishing 34th at Loudon and 43rd at Dover. His average finish of 26.5 at Kansas, partially buoyed by wrecks in 2004 and 2007, doesn’t help matters. Busch may have won the Nationwide Series race here last year, but as we saw last week at Dover, Nationwide and Sprint Cup success do not go hand in hand. Even though Busch won at Chicagoland this year, that was during a period where the M&M’s team could do no wrong, winning six times in an 11-race stretch. Don’t even think about him.
So who would I pick to win this weekend? Good things come in threes – each owner in the Chase has three cars in it, Johnson’s attempting to win his third championship, and I think Da Biff can pull off his third consecutive win this weekend. Clint Bowyer, given that Kansas is his home track, could be another solid pick to run up front. For a dark horse, if you can ever call him that, consider Jeff Gordon, the best driver of all-time at this track. Gordon’s another driver due for a win this season, and Kansas may be his best opportunity yet.
September 25, 2008
Wow. Who would have predicted anything close to what has transpired thus far in the 2008 Chase? Pipe down Marc, no you didn’t.
- David Ragan: 18th, 1 lap down
- Ryan Newman: Worked up to 13th. Too bad this isn’t Horseshoes.
- David Reutimann: Had it, then a late pit error cost him a Top-10. After the penalty, he fought back to 17th. The first car 1 lap down.
- Brian Vickers: Never a factor, finished 31st.
How about Mikey? Nice run there, fella. Were you mad at something? Try it again sometime, and you’ll beat that speed limit.
Speaking of the 31st, that’s Halloween you know. Anyone know where the best NASCAR Halloween Party is going to be? Keep an eye out as we clear the dust off of Thunder Lounge, and prep to throw a Texas sized party in the infield.
So we’re darn sure in Kansas now, Toto. All bets are off for this one.
Historically speaking, Kansas has been a track that has been kind to those not in the Chase. Even as recent as last year, Mr. “Last Two” here took home the victory in nothing less that what is still considered a fiasco of a race. Remember all the smoke about Stewart missing the Chase? He won here then, too.
Can the streak of Chaser victories end at 2?
He’s bit me twice, but finished 6th at the same track back in July. Well, OK, it’s different in name, but what’s the difference between a chocolate chip cookie and a double chocolate chip cookie? They’re both chocolate chip cookies. Brian Vickers stands a chance to take some points.
Is that “Kid” Martin racing this week? That sneeky ol’ cat can hang it out on such tracks as well.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Beak is coming. And he stands a fair chance of doing very well here.
Thus far, with 20% of the big enchilada gone by, it’s all Chasers, all the time. How about that Roush Sandwich that was made out of Jimmie Johnson, right before Jack Roush swept the Top 3 at Dover last weekend? Sandwich downed, how about those three Roushketeers mixing it up and battling for the win? This car has it’s moments, hopefully more to come.
What we have seen thus far this season, is the same thing we’ve seen most of the season leading up to the Chase. The guys in the Chase are the ones consistently running up front. Getting the Top-5′s and 10′s, and bagging the wins. But that wasn’t always the case, and with 31 other cars on the track, it’s 31 vs. 12, and they’re hungry for that win as well.
September 24, 2008
The Biff is in the Chase this time and coming off a sweep of the first two rounds of the 2008 Chase to the Cup. He has the number one Loop Data Driver Rating for Kansas Speedway – 118.5 – and the second best combined Driver Rating – 106.5 – when averaging in the season-to-date stats. His average position in the three Loop Data races is 6.4 and he has run more laps in the top 15 – 702 for 94.4 percent – than anyone else. And only one driver has won more races than Biffle – 13 – on NASCAR’s intermediate tracks in the last five years. Greg Biffle looks pretty studdly this week.
And so does the only driver with more intermediate track wins than the Biff. That would be Jimmy Johnson with 23. Johnson has something else that Biffle wants. Greg is going for three straight Sprint Cup wins. The last driver to pull that off is Johnson, who won four in a row at the end of the 2007 Chase. Jimmy has the second best Kansas Driver Rating – 115.6 – but the top combined DR at 110.5. Johnson has one top five and four top tens, but is winless at Kansas.
Anybody but Johnson
Carl Edwards leads the Sprint Cup standings. His Driver Ratings for Kansas are a ninth best 90.2 for the Speedway and a combined fourth – 98.5 - when factoring in 2008 season-to-date. Carl is part of the surging Roush-Fenway organization. Along with Biffle and Matt Kenseth, Edwards heads a three pronged assault on the Cup by the Cat in the Hat. The trio took the top three spots at Dover International Speedway in race two.
Kenseth’s performance was the biggest surprise, based upon what had been happening with that team. The no. 17 had the second best Dover Loop stats, but it was hard to look his way before the race. A strong second at the Monster Mile makes this week’s outlook more positive. Matt’s DR is eighth best for Kansas and he has the second most top ten finishes on intermediates the last five years.
Is Kyle Busch Really Toast?
Kyle Busch still has the best season-to-date Driver Rating, despite finishing 34th and 43rd the last two races. But for the third straight week, his track specific DR is sub-top ten at 16th best 80.0, with just one top ten in four races. The Shrub has been good on intermediates, finishing top ten in nearly half of his starts. The question is, can the Joe Gibbs Racing no.18 right the ship. If Kyle was feeling championship pressure, that should be gone – at least for now.
Gibb’s team leader – I think he’s still the team leader – Tony Stewart has the third best Kansas and combined DR. He has won at Kansas and eight wins on intermediate tracks. Can Tony win another race before he leaves Joe Gibbs Racing for good?
Jeff Gordon is the only driver to win more than once at Kansas with two to go with ten other intermediate track wins the last five years. Gordon has the fifth best combined DR and he’s coming off a solid seventh at Dover. His average finish at Kansas – 10.6 – is better than all but Clint Bowyer’s 5.5.
I’m hearing a lot about the Richard Childress Racing drivers being tough this week. Bowyer actually has the fourth best Kansas DR at 106.5. But he’s only races here twice in the Cup Series. Bowyer finished eighth at Dover. Kevin Harvick’s DR is 11th for Kansas - 83.3 and Jeff Burton has a 22nd best 70.4. Their combined DRs are 86.6 and 79.9. None of the RCR guys has a Kansas Cup win and they have six intermediate track wins between the three of them.
Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 24th and with a Kansas DR of 82.0 and four intermediate track wins, Junior doesn’t look like a pick this week. I need to see this team finish a race strong before I can take them.
But if you want a wild, dark-horse pick, go with Hendrick Motorsports’ Casey Mears. Mears has the tenth best Kansas DR at 88.2 and a category leading Ave Finish of 4.7.
The pick to win here is Jimmy Johnson. Roush teams are good on the mile and a half tracks but Jimmy is the king.
Looking for other fantasy thoughts on this week’s Kansas action? Check out Backstretch Motorsports’ Pure Stats for week 3 or go to Roto Experts for their take. And check out Mike Maruska’s fantasy advice at One Bad Wheel.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media , Inc.
September 22, 2008
The key to championship success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is being good to great on the ubiquitous mile-and-a-half tracks. NASCAR’s intermediates – which include the two milers at Michigan and California and all of the one-point-fivers make up most of the Sprint Cup schedule. The best of the best do well on these tracks.
Jimmy Johnson is NASCAR’s best-of-the-best poster boy. In the 114 races run on intermediate tracks during the last five years, Johnson has 22 wins, 53 top fives and 78 top tens. And two Sprint Cup championships.
The driver with the next highest win total on the intermediates is Greg Biffle. And he has won the first two races of the 2008 Chase to the Cup. But this isn’t about who likely will do well at Kansas Speedway this week. This is about who won’t.
David Ragan has only raced once in the Cup series at Kansas. He started 18th and improved to a 16th place finish. Tells us nothing, really. But in 43 starts on the intermediates, Ragan has only seven top tens and three top fives. The top fives are great. His consistency level on these tracks probably cost him his first try at the Chase.
The guy who beat him out - Clint Bowyer – has raced in 67 races on the 1.5ers and has eight top fives – compared to Ragan’s three, not overwhelmingly superior. But Clint has 25 top tens, which is. Bowyer has made the Chase these last two years because of his performance on the type of track that constitutes the majority of the series.
Has David Ragan improved enough on the intermediates? I wouldn’t count him out this week, mostly because he drives for Roush-Fenway and they look very stout right now.
Robby Gordon has been close to horrible on these tracks. Sam Hornish Jr owns zero top tens and three DNFs. David Reutimann has had poor results as have the Yates Racing duo of David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil. Juan Pablo Montoya has four top tens and seven DNFs in 43 intermediate track Cup races.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media, Inc.
September 22, 2008
Kansas Speedway can sort out the have and have-nots in the Chase for the Cup. Only once has a Chaser won in Kansas, but champs run strong in the race, along with their competitors for the title. Case in point: last season, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson finished 2-3 behind winner Greg Biffle. In 2005, Biffle and Carl Edwards finished 2-3, with champion Tony Stewart right behind them in 4th.
2007 – Greg Biffle (non-Chaser)
2006 – Tony Stewart (non-Chaser)
2005 – Mark Martin
2004 – Joe Nemechek (non-Chaser)
2007 – Jimmie Johnson 3rd
2006 – Jimmie Johnson 14th
2005 – Tony Stewart 4th
2004 – Kurt Busch 6th
The hottest driver on the circuit right now is Biffle. He also just happens to be heading to the track that has suited him extremely well. Finishes of 3rd, 2nd, 12th, and 1st solidify his position. Could Biffle win three races in a row? It’s very likely. No driver is as hungry as he is right now. Biffle is bound and determined to go win all 10 races. He’ll have to contend with some hometown favorites to do that, of course. Both Edwards and Bowyer have extra motivation to win at Kansas – for Bowyer, it’s his hometown track. For Edwards, it’s close to his hometown in Missouri. Martin will also look to score a win at Kansas, the site of his last Sprint Cup win in 2005. The Army team seems to be running the best it has all year right now. Finally, the pattern of this race has gone Chevy-Ford-Chevy-Ford in the Chase. Will that hold form? Sunday we’ll see.
If you’re looking for sleepers, the driver with a surprisingly strong record at this track is Casey Mears. He has finishes of 8th, 2nd, and 4th since 2005. For those feeling brave, take a chance on young Joey Logano. Remember, his best finishes this year in the Nationwide Series have been on bigger tracks, including his poles at Nashville and Kentucky, along with his win at Kentucky – a 1.5 mile tri-oval similar to Kansas.
Finally, Kansas brings us closer to the end of the season. Kansas sorts out who still has a chance and who is racing for wins and more points money. We’re going back to the old-school with Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream.”
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media
September 21, 2008
Kansas Speedway is the epitome of the one and a half mile, cookie-cutter race track.
This International Speedway Corporation owned and built track is a 1.5 mile, D-shaped oval with fifteen degrees of banking in the turns, The 2685 foot frontstretch is banked 10.4 degrees with five degrees of banking on the 2207 foot back straight. Seating capacity is at 81,687.
Plans are for a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to be built overlooking one of the turns. The state of Kansas approved plans for the hotel and casino on September 19, 2008. It is expected that NASCAR and the track will add a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race no later than 2011 by moving a race from another ISC-owned facility.
Jeff Gordon is the only multiple winner at the Kansas City, Kansas facility; winning the first two Cup races in 2001 and 2002 for Hendrick Motor Sports. Ryan Newman brought his Penske Dodge home first in 2003. The next year saw Front Row Joe Nemecheck put his Nelson Bowers owned #01 Chevrolet into victory lane after starting on the pole. Nemechek has been the only driver to win from the pole in Kansas Speedway’s short history.
2004 saw the first Ford get a win as Mark Martin took his Jack Roush Taurus to the win while Roush Fords took the top four of five spots. Tony Stewart sent Chevy back to the front as he won the 2005 race, leading only five laps in a race that was dominated by Jimmy Johnson and Kyle Busch. Johnson and Busch led a combined 169 od 267 laps before Stewart pulled off the win.
last years Lifelock 400 was won by Greg Biffle in one of the most bizarre races in NASCAR history. Biffle only needed to lead thirty-seven laps in a race that was shortened from 267 to 210 laps because of darkness. After rain played havoc with the race; NASCAR repeatedly restarted the race and kept changing the number of laps for a “complete” event. Drivers and especially crew chiefs were chasing an ever moving target throughout much of the race.
Both Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth ran well in the craziness of that 2007 race. Look for a Roush car to do well at Kansas. Greg Biffle or Carl Edwards could be cars to beat as The Chase heads to the Midwest.
photo credit: Icon Sports Media