Race: STP 400
Date: Sunday April 21st, 2013
Track: Kansas Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Texas turned into a dominating performance for Kyle Busch as he swept the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races. Busch led a good portion of the race, with 2nd place Martin Truex Jr. coming out very strong with his best performance of the year. Matt Kenseth ended up finishing 12th after running to the front, rounding out the top 5 for a good portion of the race. The Hendrick drivers did not fare as well this weekend, with Johnson finishing the strongest coming in 6th. Teammate Kasey Kahne was second for the team in 11th place. Jeff Gordon, who had a great run going for the majority of the race, ended up in the garage with 24 laps to go with what turned out to be a burned up hub. It was a bad break for those guys.
This weekend, the Hendrick team is hoping to have better luck as we head into Kansas. With 4 collective wins over its history since 2001, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are looking forward to solid runs this weekend. Kansas Speedway is another 1.5 mile track, but it’s slightly different being a tri-oval. Additionally, it has 15 degree banking in the turns, 10.4 degrees on the front stretch and 5 degrees on the backstretch.
The most exciting part of this race is going to be not only assessing the new cars but also seeing the new cars on a completely repaved track. Practice in October of last year revealed a very smooth track with a necessity for a harder more durable tire. With the tire issues at Texas, it will be interesting to see how Kansas deals with the issues. Although most drivers dislike repaves, the overall reaction from most drivers has been very positive. Kansas is a driver-favorite track with a lot of speed. Between the new surface and cars, I think that we will see every record broken between qualifying, practice, and race speeds.
When we look at winners, we can’t help but focus on those 2 Hendrick drivers with great records here. Johnson and Gordon are going to be contenders. Gordon is going to be my pick for this weekend. Johnson is going to be a strong competitor as well. Other guys to watch are Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. They run well here too, and with Kyle coming off a win, he’s bound to carry plenty of momentum. Here’s the rundown of your winners this week:
Winner: Jeff Gordon
Middle of the Road Pick: Greg Biffle
Dark Horse Pick: Aric Almirola
Biffle is also a defending winner at Kansas and has slowly been creeping into the picture this season. Aric Almirola has surprised a lot of people by remaining in the top 15 in points and being very consistent.
Here’s a look at your current top 12 in points after Texas:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Busch
4. Greg Biffle
5. Carl Edwards
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Joey Logano
10. Paul Menard
11. Matt Kenseth
12. Kevin Harvick
We are still seeing some names missing from that top 12 including Gordon, who has dealt with pure bad luck and inconsistency. Tony Stewart also needs to rebound this weekend so he can be in a better position in the points.
Kansas will undoubtedly prove to be an awesome race. Stay tuned for this weekend’s newly repaved Kansas Speedway. These cars are going to fly!