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If you have been listening to Kurt Busch's radio transmissions throughout the last two months, it would appear as if Penske Racing was a team on the brink of disaster and in desperate need of restructuring. Yet Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Penske Racing was the class of the field.
Busch gave the team its second consecutive pole of the season, following up teammate Brad Keselowski's effort last weekend in Charlotte. Leading four times for a total of 152 laps, for much of Sunday's race it appeared Busch would lead Penske Racing into victory lane. Instead, it was Keselowski that stretched the fuel mileage and gave team owner Roger Penske his first points win of the season.
Penske Racing: 1st, 9th
Despite Busch's critical comments on the radio over the past few weeks, Penske Racing has seen a resurgence as of late, and that was evident Sunday afternoon.
According to team owner Roger Penske, the changes within the organization have helped, but were not a direct result of Busch's comments.
"I don't think that anyone making comments publicly or internally are going to turn the team around in two or three weeks," Penske said. "Remember, when you've got two drivers and probably 30 cars that you can't just do things overnight, because we don't run the same car like we do on the IndyCar side. And I think it's progress.
"It's the crew chief and the driver working together," he said. "I think it's the transparency between the two teams. We've added more engineering capability this year. I think we're starting to see it now that we didn't have last year."
Hendrick Motorsports: 2nd, 4th, 7th, 21st
Although Hendrick Motorsports finished the day with three cars in the top 10, the Hendrick cars were unusually quiet at Kansas Speedway.
For the second week in a row, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the team's flagship driver. With a strong car, Earnhardt Jr. had to overcome a spin that left him mired in traffic. Using pit strategy, Earnhardt Jr. appeared to be on his way to his first win since Michigan in 2008 if Keselowski had run out of fuel.
Jeff Gordon had a solid day to finish fourth, his first top 10 since his third-place run at Talladega in April. Running up front for much of the afternoon, Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson struggled to keep up with the ever-changing track.
Richard Childress Racing: 11th, 18th, 19th, 25th
Sunday was a fairly uneventful day for the Richard Childress Racing bunch, with no driver finishing inside the top 10.
Aside from the on track action, RCR leaves Kansas Speedway with a black eye – no pun intended – stemming from an physical confrontation between team owner Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch.
NASCAR will likely hand down further penalties and sanctions to Childress early this week, and for a team that is poised to make yet another championship run, this is not the kind of drama they need moving forward.
There wasn't too much significant movement in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings this week, but the biggest gainer just so happened to be Sunday's big winner.
Brad Keselowski moved up a series-high four positions in the standings, which put him in 21st place – just seven points away from a top-20 spot that could potentially give him a wild-card berth under NASCAR's new Chase format.
Jeff Gordon also had a good day, moving up three spots to 13th. But aside from Keselowski and Gordon, the only other driver to gain multiple positions in the standings was Brian Vickers (up two spots).
The news wasn't as positive for STP-sponsored AJ Allmendinger, who fell three positions in the standings to 16th after the STP 400.
Allmendinger's teammate Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton and Joey Logano also dropped two spots apiece.
Here are the updated NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after Kansas:
Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway saw the finish come down to a fuel mileage race for the second week in a row. This week, however, teams also battle the high temperatures that caused the track to become slick, making it difficult to pass.
Here is what a few of the drivers had to say following the race:
Brad Keselowski (race winner on earning Wild Card spot in the Chase): "If we deserve to be in it we'll get in it. If we don't, we won't. But right now we're on a good path to deserve to be in it. That's really what matters the most to me... I'm a big fan for the rule NASCAR implemented putting winners in the last two spots. I think that serves the sport very well. And hopefully we'll be able to capitalize on it. But there's no guarantees of that. I feel pretty confident that it's going to take really two wins to guarantee your way into it."
Paul Wolfe (Keselowski crew chief on fuel gamble): "We were only about three‑quarters of a lap short. So we didn't need to save much. But the way it played out, there was nobody really pressuring us. So we went into really conservative mode. And I can't really answer how much Brad thinks he saved. Only he knows that... We knew it wasn't ‑‑ it really wasn't close. I didn't feel it was a very big gamble. We had ourselves in a pretty good position."
Roger Penske (on if Kurt Busch's comments at Richmond led to positive changes in the team): "Well, I don't think that anyone making comments publicly or internally are going to turn the team around in two or three weeks... It's the crew chief and the driver working together. I think it's the transparency between the two teams. We've added more engineering capability this year. I think we're starting to see it now that we didn't have last year."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (on being apologetic for finishing second): "In the grand scheme of things I've got a lot of people that are ‑‑ there's a lot of people who will remind you throughout this sport of how fortunate you were and how lucky you were in and all those things.... So I like to beat them to the punch and let them know I realize how fortunate I was today to get second place."
Denny Hamlin (finished third): "Usually it takes a really slow car to save gas to be honest with you. It helps. I mean, when your car is ‑‑ when you're running back in traffic and stuff like that it helps you save gas. Your car's not handling as well. You know you're out of the gas more, and you're not getting back in it as soon. So typically you see when guys win on fuel mileage, it's guys knowing huge factors during racing unless the cautions work out just right for them. I think those guys had extremely good fuel mileage anyway. They obviously worked on it. He did a great job to save... So I thought that me and (Earnhardt Jr.) were the only ones on that fuel strategy. When he passed me I thought that was for the win. So (Keselowski) evidently saved a ton of fuel."
Brad Keselowski (on heat): "Nobody loves it. Some people tell you they love it just so they can look tough. But I don't know anybody that really loves it. But there's a part of that certainly plays in."
Denny Hamlin (on heat): "Just sit in there for four hours. It's really, really hot. These cars, the Car of Tomorrow, the Car of Today, whatever it is, they are hotter than the cars we used to run. The exhaust is closer to the floorboard. So I mean we're sitting right on our exhaust that's a thousand degrees. All these cars are completely sealed off. We've got our window nets now to where they pretty much seal the left side of the car so there's no air getting in or out of the car. So it's just extremely hot. Your feet are just boiling throughout the day... I mean, it's just, you know, sitting in a sauna for four hours and it's pretty much what you got."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't find Sunday's second-place result at Kansas Speedway to be overly disappointing, even though he narrowly lost a fuel-mileage race for the second week in a row.
Actually, Earnhardt Jr. said, he felt lucky just to finish where he did.
"It's just rolling the dice, man, that's what it was," he said after the race. "You know how the dice is – sometimes it works for you and sometimes it don't."
On Sunday, the Hendrick Motorsports driver didn't quite have all the luck on his side; race winner Brad Keselowski claimed that honor.
But there were still some positives for Earnhardt Jr., mainly in the finish itself – the runnerup result was Earnhardt Jr.'s first top-five finish at a 1.5-mile track since the 2008 Coca-Cola 600.
"We've had some runs where we drove ourselves into the positions where we finished," he said of his season so far, which has left him third in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. "We finished well by running well and by getting lucky. And that's what championship teams do. "
Earnhardt Jr. wasn't particularly enjoying his day at Kansas around the start of the STP 400, but crew chief Steve Letarte steadily improved the car for him.
The No. 88 was working its way up through the field when, as Earnhardt Jr. neared the top 10 past the midway point of the race, he suddenly spun out on his own.
"I went to searching for more speed and busted my butt up there on (Turns) 3 and 4," he said. "And (lost) us all the spots we worked for all day."
But, Earnhardt Jr. added, the move allowed Letarte to "play the strategy game" with fuel; and it just so happened that the cautions fell in the No. 88 team's favor for the rest of the day.
Asked his reaction when Letarte informed him that the race was turning into a fuel-mileage event for the second straight week, Earnhardt Jr. chuckled and replied, "Not again."
"Man, he was telling me that whole run, 'We're good,'" Earnhardt Jr. said. "Then we got within 10 to go and he said, 'Back it down, back it down.
"I said, 'I can catch the 2, he's real slow.' And he's like, 'Back it down, back it down, back it up to the 11.' (I said), 'What? I thought we was good.'
"He said, 'No, we're going to run out right at the flag stand.' And it did. The gauge was red. It ran out (on) the back of the straightaway."
Afterward, Earnhardt Jr. found himself weakened by the excessive heat at Kansas – weather that was a bit unexpected for the track's inaugural spring race – and said he looked forward to returning home for some rest.
"I want to lay by the pool and drink some vodka or whatever," he said. "I'll probably chug a lot of water tonight so I'm hydrated for tomorrow. I heard drinking pickle juice is good for you or Pedialyte. I'll give it a shot. I got some of that. "
Another week, another NASCAR race determined by fuel mileage and another oh-so-close finish for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his fans.
After Kevin Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 in a fuel-mileage race last week – passing Earnhardt Jr. in the final turn – it was Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski who made his gas last to win Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Keselowski captured his second career Sprint Cup victory by milking his fuel for the final 57 laps.
"It's been a little while, but we've been so close lately," he said in Victory Lane. "... You can only put yourself in that position so many times before you catch a good break. And we got a great break today."
Here are the full results from Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway:
Busy morning at Kansas, eh? Kyle Busch and Richard Childress have dominated the talk at the track, but now it's time for the actual race.
Talk about it here with other fans and SB Nation's Jeff Gluck – watching from home today – as the action unfolds at Kansas Speedway.
Make sure you have the auto-refresh box checked so you can see all of the latest comments about the STP 400.
Kyle Busch spoke to SPEED's Wendy Venturini on Sunday morning, his first public comments since Saturday's fight with rival team owner Richard Childress. Here's a transcript of the interview:
Wendy Venturini: Tell us what you can about what happened.
Busch: "There was an incident yesterday in the Truck Series garage as I was leaving my hauler on my way to the motorhome lot. Unfortunately, there was an altercation between myself and Richard. NASCAR is looking into it to decipher through all the facts of what happened and make a decision based on all that."
Venturini: In your opinion, is this something that's been brewing between your camp and RCR?
Busch: "That's not something I can answer. I wasn't the aggressor or the instigator here. All I can say is I was just trying to head back to my hauler and deal with my own business."
Venturini: Where do you go from here? What do you do to move forward?
Busch: "I think the best thing to do is just put it behind you the best you can. It might be a thought on everybody else's mind, but when you get a helmet on and get back behind the wheel of a race car and you get down to business, that's what matters most.
"I've got a bunch of guys on my team that pull for me and love what I do. They work their guts out all weekend long to get me a good race car. We've struggled a little bit, but we've made some gains on it and qualified well, so hopefully we can translate that into a good run today."
Venturini: Any words from Joe Gibbs on the meeting he had with NASCAR early this morning?
Busch: "He just said he talked to them. He didn't go into specifics about it, really. (He said) we were just trying to figure out the message of everything and exactly how and what happened. Other than that, we're looking forward to today's race and trying to concentrate on moving forward."
Venturini: Is it difficult to concentrate on today's race with all of this going on?
Busch: "It is and it isn't. Maybe that's a strategy, I don't know. Like I said, once you get a helmet on and you get down to business, that's all that matters."
NASCAR considered ejecting team owner Richard Childress from the track after he repeatedly punched driver Kyle Busch following Saturday's Truck Series race, but elected to allow Childress to remain at Kansas Speedway to oversee his teams in today's STP 400.
Busch, meanwhile, "did nothing to provoke or to cause...(or) warranted the actions of Richard Childress," NASCAR President Mike Helton said in a Sunday morning news conference.
Childress will face a penalty from NASCAR on Monday, Helton said.
"We'll quickly come back with our reaction as it relates to NASCAR member Richard Childress," he said.
The news conference followed a Sunday morning meeting between NASCAR officials, Childress, Busch and Busch's Sprint Cup Series team owner, Joe Gibbs.
Officials had Gibbs at the meeting because they wanted to make sure both he and Childress told their teams that no further actions against one another would be tolerated.
Busch had made contact with RCR driver Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap of Saturday's Truck race – apparently drawing Childress' ire – but Helton said Busch did nothing on the track to violate the probation he earned for a post-race incident with RCR's Kevin Harvick at Darlington.
Additionally, Helton said Busch's actions in the Kansas garage – where he was assaulted by Childress, according to sources – were nothing that would have crossed the line of his probation.
"Unless you know something we don't know, I'm not sure what (Busch) did in the garage that would have been in question," Helton said in response to a reporter who asked why Busch wasn't penalized for his role in the Childress altercation.
Helton said NASCAR decided not to eject Childress from the track – although it was considered – because there is no other RCR team official at Kansas. There will be restrictions on where Childress can travel on the track property today, Helton said.
"We decided to let Richard stay, because there does need to be leadership of an organization represented," Helton said. "... We decided we'd be better if there was an authority from the team here."
Here is the official statement on the incident from NASCAR:
NASCAR has reviewed the incident involving Richard Childress and Kyle Busch after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday at Kansas Speedway. We have met with all parties involved and have determined what happened yesterday is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by NASCAR.
Richard Childress's actions were not appropriate and fell far short of the standard we expect of owners in this sport. We have met with Childress this morning and made our position very clear to him. Further, we expect he will make it clear to all in his organization to ensure this situation does not escalate any further. We will announce our actions regarding this incident Monday.
Kyle Busch remains on probation with NASCAR and we continue to watch his actions carefully. However, we have determined that Kyle's involvement in this incident does not violate his probation and no further action is required.
As we wait for the parties involved to offer their first comments on the fight between Kyle Busch and Richard Childress – or Childress' assault on Busch, depending on how you look at it – the entire incident seems to be a lose-lose situation for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
If the details we've heard so far are indeed accurate – and we haven't heard anything to indicate they aren't – the Busch/Joey Coulter incident at the end of the Kansas Truck Series race was the last straw for Childress.
The six-time champion team owner, tired of Busch damaging his vehicles, apparently knew exactly what he wanted to do – and it wasn't to have a conversation with the driver they call "Rowdy." He allegedly removed his watch prior to approaching Busch, which meant he anticipated a physical confrontation.
At that point, Busch was allegedly assaulted. He was put into a headlock, punched several times and was soon curled up on the ground. When he attempted to get up, Childress reportedly took another swing.
Here's the thing: From the moment Childress approached, there was no possible positive outcome for Busch.
Since Busch didn't fight back, he's now viewed as a guy who got his ass kicked by a 65-year-old grandpa. Childress gets portrayed as a hero in the eyes of many fans, who took to social media channels to express their joy that Busch was beaten.
The other option for Busch was to fight back, which would have been even worse. Can you imagine the headlines if he'd punched a retirement-aged NASCAR legend in the face? He might have lost sponsorship, points and perhaps his job.
Childress' decision to fight meant Busch's best option was to simply take his whooping. It was better than being the driver who gave an old man a broken nose.
It will be interesting to see how Busch reacts to this. If he comments about it, what will he say? Would he dare to press criminal charges? Will he brush it off and let NASCAR handle it?
The aftermath of Saturday's throwdown should be very revealing. We'll keep you posted on any new developments.
It's NASCAR race day at Kansas Speedway, and we've got the actual race start time, the starting lineup and some other facts about the STP 400 for you below.
Start time: The command to start engines will be given by 'The King,' Richard Petty, at 1:08 p.m. Eastern time (that's 12:08 p.m. Central). After a few pace laps, the green flag will wave at precisely 1:17 p.m. Eastern. So if you want to skip the pre-race show and just tune in for the actual race, flip your TV on at 1:17.
Race name/distance: The STP 400 is the first-ever Kansas Speedway spring race, as Kansas was awarded a second Sprint Cup date this season (Fontana lost one). International Speedway Corp. is building a casino on the track's property, which prompted the second date. The race is 267 laps around the 1.5-mile track for a total of 400.5 miles.
TV and radio: FOX is televising the Kansas race, which marks the last "Boogity, boogity, boogity" of the year for Darrell Waltrip and Co. After this week, FOX turns over the Sprint Cup broadcast rights to TNT for six races. The radio broadcast can be found on your local Motor Racing Network (MRN) affiliate. Click here to see a list of MRN stations where you can listen.
National anthem: Country singer Matt Gary is performing the national anthem. He has a song called, "I'm Just Sayin'." Actually, we've never heard of Matt Gary. We're just sayin'.
Tickets: There are still plenty of tickets available for the STP 400, according to the Kansas Speedway web site. As of Saturday night, a block of 19 seats together could still be purchased online.
Weather: According to the unofficial NASCAR weatherman, Sunday will be mostly sunny and very warm with a high of 88 degrees in Kansas.
Last time: There was no last time, at least in the spring race; this is the first one ever. But last year at Kansas, Greg Biffle thumped the field and won by eight seconds in what was mostly an uneventful race aside from the memorable Kyle Busch/David Reutimann incident.
Starting lineup for today's STP 400 NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway:
Kyle Busch was put into a headlock and punched several times by famed team owner Richard Childress before falling to the ground, according to several people with direct knowledge of an altercation that occurred after the Kansas Truck Series race on Saturday.
Busch, who had raced hard with Richard Childress Racing's Joey Coulter late in the event, was confronted by Childress in the garage following the race.
According to several sources, Childress removed his watch and handed it to grandson Austin Dillon before walking up to Busch.
Upon approaching the driver, Childress – a 65-year-old grandfather – initiated the altercation without a discussion, placing Busch in a headlock and punching him two or three times.
Busch then went to the ground in a defensive position to avoid further injury, but Childress attempted to punch Busch again after he rose.
This obviously isn't the first time Busch has had an issue with someone related to Richard Childress Racing. Busch has found himself in several disagreements with RCR's Kevin Harvick, including a notable incident at Darlington in which Busch moved Harvick's car on pit road to try and avoid getting punched.
We'll obviously keep you up to date as more details about this story come in from those in Kansas.
Kurt Busch was the fifth driver to make a qualifying run Saturday at Kansas Speedway, but his lap of 30.901 seconds at 174.752 mph was good enough for Penske Racing's second consecutive Sprint Cup Series pole. Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano rounded out the top five.
Tony Raines and TJ Bell failed to qualify for the STP 400.
Here is how they qualified:
Tony Stewart's annual charity dirt race at his Eldora Speedway, the Prelude to the Dream, is coming up on Wednesday – and it's grown to be one of the most memorable events of the racing season.
Stewart gets participation from almost all of the biggest names in NASCAR for the pay-per-view dirt race, and 2010 winner Jimmie Johnson provided some insight on Friday as to why exactly the drivers enjoy going so much.
Check out this quote from Johnson:
I think the earliest I've ever left is probably 2 or 3 in the morning after the race, just to go to the airplane and get home at sunrise. It's just from sitting around and shooting the breeze with the guys and talking racing and hanging out and spending time with these other drivers that you really don't ever get a chance to.
I joked with (Stewart) over the years that he needs to build like a little makeshift bar in the infield and make the winner of that night's (race) even buy beer for everybody and pizza and sit there and hang out, because pizza ends up showing up and beers coming out of the cooler and everybody sitting around talking.
Tony is usually on a four-wheeler driving around visiting with everybody. I just keep telling him, 'If you just pick a spot, let's all drag the coolers to one place and hang out or do something.' The guys that work the garage and drive these race cars could use that time to hang out.
That says a lot, doesn't it?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has quietly developed a love connection at Hendrick Motorsports this season, one that has helped him perform better on the track.
The relationship hasn't been publicized much, but Earnhardt Jr. wasn't shy in discussing the object of his affection on Friday at Kansas Speedway.
It seems NASCAR's most popular driver has a thing for a car named Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-617.
"I got this one car that I really like a lot," he said. "It's tough when you really become dependent on one single car. You sort of get narrow-minded about how you're going to run in other cars versus the one you like the most."
Clearly, driver and car have a bond. Earnhardt Jr. and Chassis No. 88-617 have already spent 1,500 miles together this season, and that long of a road trip always offers a chance for a personal connection.
He can even remember the first time they met. It was in Las Vegas, and the relationship got off to a rocky start.
"We weren't good in practice (at Vegas)," he said. "So it isn't the kind of car where no matter what you do, it runs good. I mean, we can screw it up. But we've been able to adjust it; it likes adjustments and it seems to respond to adjustments."
So far, Earnhardt Jr. and Chassis No. 88-617 have raced three times – and have three top-10 finishes to show for it.
They were eighth together at Vegas. Ninth at Texas. And, last week, they had a near-win that turned into a seventh-place finish at Charlotte.
Unfortunately, due to the time it takes to refurbish a car after a grueling race, Chassis No. 88-617 couldn't accompany Earnhardt Jr. to Kansas this weekend. Instead, he's driving Chassis No. 88-657 (also known as his 14th-place car at Darlington).
That's OK, though. Earnhardt Jr. said he's trying to keep an open mind about the other cars in the No. 48/88 shop.
"I'm sure we're going to have some cars we're going to be happy to take into the last half of the season and run every week," he said, sounding in part as if he's trying to convince himself.
The truth is, he just keeps coming back to Chassis No. 88-617. Although maybe his feelings for the car aren't so personal after all.
"I only like it because we've run well with it," he said.
Sitting second in Sprint Cup Series points with three victories, Kevin Harvick believes a spot in the 2011 Chase is essentially a lock. That safety net has allowed Harvick and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team to go for bonus points and wins, just as they did last Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"When it comes to strategy calls, the only calls you even consider are the ones that could let you win," Harvick said. "I think that was very evident last week."
Harvick says the team has been trying a lot of different packages over the last few weeks, trying to find the perfect balance between comfort and speed that will pay off at the end of the year. The team has been especially focused on finding that balance at Dover, Charlotte and Kansas – three tracks that host Chase races.
"When we got to the two wins, it was the topic of conversation in the competition meetings," Harvick said. "You look at last week; I mean, seventh or eighth in the points you're not making those calls at the end of the race. You can't afford a 25th-place finish, run out of gas. In the position that we were in, you're able to just do those things. You don't think twice about it.
"That's what you should be doing, trying to gain more wins so you gain more bonus points at the end of the 26th race."
Ryan Newman was asked Friday by a reporter at Kansas Speedway whether it was hard for NASCAR drivers to stay within the speed limit on public roads in light of Kyle Busch's recent 128 mph speeding ticket.
"No. Not if you're a professional," Newman said. "Just like a hockey player: Is it hard for him not to go fight somebody in a grocery line?"
But Newman, who said he uses a '66 Chevy pickup truck as his "running around" vehicle, acknowledged speeding himself – when circumstances permitted it, he said.
"If you go down the interstate, very rarely do you find somebody doing less than the speed limit," he said. "But it's that level of respect and that level of responsibility of where you fit in. ... But when you're three times the speed limit, that's way past crossing the line."
Curiously, Newman then volunteered that he has driven three times the speed limit on public roads in the past.
"I've gone three times the speed limit," he said, "but in the right place and the right time – when there's no cars around, or people, or roads or anything else."
Kyle Busch acknowledged that his crash in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 – and resulting 32nd-place finish – was a product of "driving over my head" when he found himself trapped in traffic after a pit stop with roughly 90 laps to go.
"I'm like, 'I gotta make something happen,'" he said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "I got 90 laps to get back up to the front, or I'm not going to be able to make anything. So then I started driving over my head a little bit and spun out once, then figured, 'Well, that wasn't good enough, so let me do it again' – and then wrecked my car."
Busch said looking back now, "You've got to be a little bit smarter than that sometimes and just let the race play out."
"I didn't do that," he said.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 55 laps, but said he's still learning to accept the result when the circumstances of the race simply don't work out for a fast car to get back to the front.
"Some days it's your day and all the stars align, and some days it's just not," he said. "It wasn't (my day), and I was trying to make it. So you just can't do that."
There are a couple different "firsts" happening in NASCAR this weekend, so here's a look at the weekend schedule for both Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.
After hosting one race per season in either September or October for its entire existence, Kansas will hold its inaugural spring race this weekend. Meanwhile, about 500 miles to the northeast, Chicagoland is having its first-ever Nationwide Series standalone race.
Here's the combined weekend schedule (all times EASTERN):
12:20 p.m. – Camping World Truck Series practice (1 hour)
1:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series practice (1 hour, 20 minutes)
3 p.m. – Camping World Truck Series final practice (1 hour, 20 minutes)
4:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series final practice (1 hour, 30 minutes)
6 p.m. – ** Nationwide Series practice (1 hour, 30 minutes)
8:30 p.m. – ** Nationwide Series final practice (1 hour)
10:40 a.m. – Camping World Truck Series qualifying
12:10 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series qualifying
2 p.m. – Camping World Truck Series race (167 laps, 250.5 miles)
4:35 p.m. – ** Nationwide Series qualifying
8 p.m. – ** Nationwide Series race
1 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series race (267 laps, 400.5 miles)
** – at Chicagoland Speedway
Carl Edwards, the Missouri native who wants a win at Kansas Speedway more than at any other track, has yet to win at the Kansas City, Kan. venue.
With his momentum this season, Edwards is possibly very close. But if Edwards falls short of a win again – as he did in the thrilling 2008 finish at the 1.5 mile track – he just hopes one other driver doesn't beat him to Kansas Speedway's Victory Lane: Kansas native Clint Bowyer.
"He can't win there before me," Edwards deadpanned last week. "That would be terrible."
In reality, Edwards would probably think it's terrible for any driver to win at Kansas when Edwards himself wants to win so badly there. But, citing the historic Kansas-Missouri rivalry, the Roush Fenway Racing driver said it's his duty to uphold Missouri pride.
"There's a healthy rivalry that dates back about 150 years with us and the guys right across the border there," Edwards said. "One of us is gonna win it before the other; I would definitely like to be the one to win that first. There would be a lot of pride. I think between Clint and I that would be a big deal."
Naturally, Edwards is among those who thinks racing at Kansas twice per season from now on is a fantastic idea. This weekend will mark Kansas' inaugural spring race after previously only holding one race per season in September or October.
International Speedway Corp., which owns Kansas and is controlled by the France family, is building a casino on the track's property. The casino was the reason ISC decided to move one of Fontana's dates to Kansas.
"I think the fans really love racing," Edwards said. "If you look at Iowa, the fans there (in the Midwest) are really hungry for NASCAR racing. They're real racers. ... I'm glad they have two races and I think they deserve them."
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