I’m sure you have been very upset today, all 5 of you, worrying about when you could find out what has been going on this week in NASCAR and who I thought was going to win. Well don’t worry, I’m here to tell you about who continues to impress in qualifying, why Kansas is already getting a repave (and what else they are asking for) and perhaps an idea about Kasey Kahne’s problems this year. Click on through for it…
First, Kansas has been around 11 years in Sprint Cup so it’s pretty new compared to the other tracks. Here is a little info about Kansas Speedway for those of you that may not be very familiar with it. It’s a 1.5 mile tri-oval (Think Las Vegas) with 15 degree banking all around. Kansas has lower banking compared to some of the other “Cookie-cutter” 1.5 milers which of course makes it a little bit slower. If you watched Texas last week, then you hope this is going to mean that these guys will be able to get to each other a little easier and we’ll have a little more bumping and banging than we have seen (or not seen) lately. Kansas has recently had some issues which has caused them to pursue and schedule a repave after the completion of today’s event. Drivers have complained about it but they had to patch a pothole already this week so it does make sense for the track to move forward with a repave.
Speaking of repaving… this will be the 10th track since 2005 to be repaved and perhaps all that work to get to know a new version of a track is what the drivers and teams are weary of after doing it 9 times before in the last few years. When tracks get repaved, they don’t have the wear on the track anymore that creates character and a style of racing on the track that was previously known. New grooves can be found/created and drivers typically are more spread out it seems on repaved tracks. Bristol, for example, went from a one-groove racetrack to a place with multiple grooves. This changed the racing there and has made some people pretty upset; enough that they are likely to announce plans to change the track back to exact specifications as it was before the repave. As far as Kansas they are going to go with the “progressive banking” that they installed at Bristol a few years ago. Progressive banking is where the banking gradually increases as you move from the bottom of the track to the top. Many tracks would have the same degree of banking from the bottom line of the corner to the wall. Progressive will gradually increase it from a lower number to a higher number. This is done in hope of creating multiple grooves. NASCAR listens to fans often. Fans complain, NASCAR reacts. A few years ago, fans wanted more 3-wide racing, more passes, etc. NASCAR repaves tracks to get more grooves to appease fans and it didn’t exactly work out they way they wanted because of the new cars and better tires at the tracks. NASCAR will continue to react and continue to improve racing. We’ll have a new factor next year… another new set of cars with new aerodynamics.
– Kasey Kahne is going to be using his 3rd different spotter this week. A cause for some of his issues? This one is only supposed to be around a few weeks before he moves on to a 4th.
– Kevin Harvick qualified on the outside pole for Kansas. The focus for the team this season was to qualify better. They are currently starting races at an average position of 8.9. His previous career high was 13.5 which was also the only time he was under 15. For his career he starts at an average of position 18.2.
– Everyone knows or thinks Jimmie Johnson is the king of Kansas. Something I learned this week is that Greg Biffle has the best average finish. Although Jimmie has led 501 laps to Greg Biffle’s 346 laps. Those two are the top 2 at this track in laps led and are tied with Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon for the lead with 2 wins per driver.
– Brad Keselowski won here last year and has had 2 top 5’s in 4 career races here.
– Dodge still looking and Petty hints that they are considering it. However, it still remains likely that Petty is more likely to resign with Ford again and keep their partnership with Roush for engines. The 43 car is back in STP colors today and they have showed the old STP Dodge quite a few times on the prerace today.
– Harvick isn’t the only one that is better in qualifying. Dale Earnhardt, Jr has improved his average starting position by about 10 spots. It would seem that the team is looking to be there at the end of the season for a championship and hoping the wins will come with their consistency.
Truex. I picked MWR last week and I’ll do it again. The Toyotas have been running good from MWR.. much better than the Gibbs boys. Look for Truex in victory lane later today.