The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Midwest this weekend with a visit to Kansas Speedway.
The sport hasn’t raced on a traditional 1.5-mile track since Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, though races in between included a trip to Atlanta that used the superspeedway rules package.
Kansas will be back on the Cup Series playoff schedule this fall, so teams will be putting a lot of emphasis on what they can learn on Sunday afternoon (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
RACE TO THE POLE
Cup teams will be split into Groups A and B for practice and qualifying in Kansas. Their Saturday begins with a practice at 4 p.m. ET (FS1), where each group will be allocated 15 minutes of practice. Once practice is complete, groups will move on to single-seater qualifying where each driver will be allowed a single timed lap. The five fastest drivers from each group will advance to the second qualifying round, where the 10 competitors will once again set off for single-seater laps. The fastest of these 10 drivers will win the Busch Light Pole Prize.
RELATED: Cup qualifying order | Kansas Timetable | Cup Series Ranking
– In 1997, Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, were chosen as the site for a new Midwest Expressway at the intersection of Interstates 70 and 435. In December, International Speedway Corp. (ISC) has announced plans to build a 1.5 mile expressway. to accommodate approximately 75,000 people.
– Architecture firm HNTB designed the facility and Turner Construction provided construction management. Construction of the 1,200-acre, 1.5-mile highway began in May 1999.
– In July 1999, 13,750 preferential tickets were put on sale and quickly purchased. Demand prompted ISC to expand the planned 32 suites by an additional 36, increasing capacity from 75,000 to 82,000.
– Completion was scheduled for 2000 but was delayed by weather conditions and lawsuits from neighboring landowners. Paving began in September 2000 and the expressway was completed in early 2001. The estimated cost of the project was $250 million.
– The first Track Cup race was held in September 2001 and was won by Jeff Gordon.
– Sunday’s race marks the 33rd running of the Cup Series in Kansas.
Source: Race Insights
As the teams progress with the Next Gen car, one observation made was an increase in load on the left rear corner of the car, partly due to the independent rear suspension and partly due to aerodynamic displacement towards the rear of the vehicle. To account for this, Goodyear recommended teams set their left rear tire pressure 2 PSI higher than the left front tire.
“The amount of air pressure in the tire should directly correlate to the amount of load on that corner of the car,” said Goodyear racing director Greg Stucker. “If the amount of load increases – as it does on the left rear of this Next Gen car – you need to increase the load capacity of this tire, which is done via air pressure. If you drive below our recommended pressures, the tire may flex too much, suffer damage and lead to air loss.
This week’s left side tires were also used two weeks ago at Dover while the right side compound was used at Darlington Raceway, Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas. This tire combination will be used at Texas Motor Speedway for All-Star Race weekend as well as the Nashville Superspeedway.
KANSAS HISTORY LINES
– Hendrick Motorsports saw its four drivers visit Victory Lane (William Byron, Atlanta and Martinsville; Kyle Larson, Auto Club; Alex Bowman, Las Vegas; Chase Elliott, Dover). It is the first time that an organization has won with four drivers in the first 11 races of the year.
– Hendrick Motorsports has won 22 times since the start of 2021, twice as many as any other organization at this time.
– Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won the last four races at 1.5-mile speedways, including the most recent race in Kansas. No team has ever won five races in a row on 1.5 mile tracks.
– Tyler Reddick clinched his fifth Cup Series runner-up spot last week at Darlington, but is still looking for his first career victory. Only one driver has finished second all-time without a win.
– Richard Childress Racing’s 208 laps this year between Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick is the most laps run by the team in a season since 2013, which was Kevin Harvick’s last season before he left for Stewart-Haas Racing.
– Nine races in 2022 have been won with a pass for the lead in the final 10 laps, the most races in 12 Cup races.
– Ten different drivers have won in 12 races in 2022, only the seventh time there have been at least 10 winners in 12 Cup races.
Source: Race Insights
WILL YOU BET YOUR DRIVER WILL WIN?
As Kansas’ most recent winner, Kyle Larson heads into the weekend as the favorite at 6-1 odds, according to BetMGM. No one has led more laps at Kansas in 2021 than Larson, who led 262 of a total 534 laps.
Behind Larson in odds so far are Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch, who both come in as 8-1 favorites. Busch is the defending winner of this event and Elliott has finished in the top six in six of Kansas’ last seven races.
If you’re looking for a long shot this weekend, it might be a week to consider Brad Keselowski, who enters at 66-1 odds. Yes, his season didn’t go like most of his previous years. Driving the #6 RFK Racing car, Keselowski has only one top 10 and has finished 20th or lower in each of the last three races. But Keselowski has three top five finishes in his last four starts at Kansas. Maybe the 2012 champion can turn this into a major positive Sunday.
RELATED: Chances for Kansas
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