Previewing The STP 400 at Kansas Speedway

By Nick DeGroot On Thu, Apr. 18, 2013

Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

NASCAR roars into Kansas Speedway this weekend for the 8th race of the 2013 season. It seems like we are saying this at every track this year but once again, you can expect record speeds by the Gen-6 this weekend. Kansas was repaved last summer and we all remember the wild show it put on in the fall.

Sixteen cars posted DNF’s and fourteen cautions flew in the crash marred event that Matt Kenseth ended up winning by just four tenths over Martin Truex Jr. The 12-year old track has featured fourteen races producing ten different winners.

The 1.5 mile venue is owned by the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and seats 81,687 people. It’s classified as a “D-Shaped Tri-Oval” much like its sister track, Chicagoland Speedway. Here are some stats and facts that you should know as we gear up for this mid-western throw-down!

Kansas Speedway Track Facts

Track Size: 1.5-miles

Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 17-20 degrees

Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 17-20 degrees

Banking/Frontstretch: 10 degrees

Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees

Frontstretch Length:  2,685 feet

Backstretch Length:  2,207 feet

Race Length: 267 laps / 400 miles

Capacity: 81,687

 

Kansas Speedway Stats

Inaugural Race Winner: Jeff Gordon by .413 tenths over Ryan Newman

Only Driver to Sweep the Weekend: Joe Nemechek winning both the NNS and NSCS events in 2004

Most Wins By a Driver: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle who have all won twice

Most Wins By a Team: Roush Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports who each have 4

Most Wins By a Manufactuer: Chevrolet has won 7 of the 14 events (Ford-4, Dodge-2, Toyota-1)

Youngest Kansas Winner: Ryan Newman at 25 years, 9 months and 27 days in October of 2003

Oldest Kansas Winner: Mark Martin at 46 years, 9 months and 0 days in October of 2005

Pole Sitters: Only twice has a pole sitter won from the pole (Joe Nemechek-2004, Jimmie Johnson-2008)

Starting Positions By Winners: 2 from the pole, 4 from 2nd-5th, 2 from 6th-101th, 4 from 11th-20th, 2 from 21st or worse

Worst Starting Position By Race Winner: 25th by Brad Keselowski in 2011

Youngest Kansas Pole Winner: Jason Leffler at 26 years, 0 months and 14 days in September of 2001

Oldest Kansas Pole Winner: Mark Martin who was 50 years, 8 months and 25 days in October of 2009

Most Starts Without a Win: 14 by Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Kurt Busch

Track Qualifying Record: Kasey Kahne at a 28.219 (191.360mph) in October of 2012

Track Race Record: Denny Hamlin-144.122 mph (02:46:44) in April of 2012

Least Amount of Cautions: 3 in April of 2012

Most Amount of Cautions: 14 in October of 2012

Average Number of Cautions: 7

 

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Kansas

1.) Jimmie Johnson…………………… 119.5

2.) Greg Biffle………………………….. 113.0

3.) Matt Kenseth………………………. 106.4

4.) Jeff Gordon………………………… 101.5

5.) Tony Stewart……………………….. 100.8

6.) Carl Edwards………………………… 95.1

7.) Mark Martin…………………………… 91.3

8.) Kevin Harvick……………………….. 90.6

9.) Martin Truex Jr…………………….. 90.5

10.) Brad Keselowski……………………. 90.1

 

Best Average Finish at Kansas

1.) Jimmie Johnson——-8.0

2.) Greg Biffle————–9.5

3.) Brad Keselowski——-9.8

4.) Carl Edwards———–10.8

5.) Jeff Gordon————-11.0

6.) Tony Stewart———–11.7

7.) Kevin Harvick———-12.9

8.) Denny Hamlin———–14.0

9.) Clint Bowyer————14.0

10.) Kasey Kahne———–15.0

 

Most Wins at Kansas Speedway

1.) Jimmie Johnson——–2 (2008 & 2011)

2.) Greg Biffle—————2 (2007 & 2010)

3.) Tony Stewart———–2 (2006 & 2009)

4.) Jeff Gordon————-2 (2001 & 2002)

5.) Matt Kenseth———–1 (2012)

6.) Denny Hamlin———1 (2012)

7.) Brad Keselowski——1 (2011)

8.) Mark Martin———–1 (2005)

9.) Joe Nemechek——–1 (2004)

10.) Ryan Newman——1 (2003)

 

Most Top 5’s at Kansas Speedway

1.) Jeff Gordon———8

2.) Greg Biffle———–7

3.) Tony Stewart——-6

4.) Jimmie Johnson—5

5.) Matt Kenseth——-5

6.) Carl Edwards——-4

7.) Denny Hamlin—–3

8.) Ryan Newman——3

9.) Martin Truex Jr.—-2

10.) Kasey Kahne——-2

 

Most Top 10’s at Kansas Speedway

1.) Jimmie Johnson———11

2.) Jeff Gordon————–10

3.) Greg Biffle—————9

4.) Tony Stewart———–9

5.) Matt Kenseth———–8

6.) Carl Edwards———–8

7.) Kevin Harvick———6

8.) Dale Earnhardt Jr.—-6

9.) Kasey Kahne———-5

10.) Mark Martin———5

Considering all that, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon look like the biggest threats to take the victory this weekend. Biffle has finished inside the top 10 in seven of the last eight races, Johnson is currently on an eight race top 10 streak at while Gordon has had some lackluster results the past three races. Another driver you have to watch out for but isn’t very high in most of the stats is Matt Kenseth. He won the first race at Kansas after the repave, is riding a streak of three straight top-5’s and hasn’t finished worse than 7th since 2009. A dark horse would have to be Martin Truex Jr. He doesn’t have a great record here but he did finish second in both races last year. Make sure you keep an eye on both him and Kenseth this weekend.

Drivers you may want to stay away from include Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose and the 2005 winner of this race, Mark Martin. Ambrose has never led a lap at Kansas, has a best finish of 9th and a best starting position of 18th. Martin did win at Kansas but that is just about the only bright spot on his resume at the track. Martin finished 20th or worse in nearly half the races he’s participated in and has only broken inside the top-20 twice in his last five races.  Busch’s stats really surprised me and I had to look at a few times thinking no way are these his stats. His average finish of 21.0 is very low for him and in his whole career, Busch has posted two top 10’s and no top 5’s at the track. He hasn’t led very many laps either proving he’s never really a factor.

I expect that this race will be very fast paced and will feature out of control race cars a lot like last fall’s event. The track has a lot of grip and you can expect to see bottom feeders as well as drivers riding the cushion just inches away from smacking the wall. I don’t think it will have wrecks every 10 laps like it did last year but I don’t see long runs forcing them to make green flag pit stops either.

Busch has been great in 2013 and will have his best race to date at Kansas blowing his best finish of 7th out of the water but he won’t win.  I am going with a very hungry driver who is desperate to reach victory lane, Truex Jr. He will finally get that second career win this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne will be major factors throughout the race but I am going with Truex Jr. to steal the show Sunday!

Feel free to post who you think will win the STP 400 below!

Nick DeGroot (88 Posts)

Nick has left Speedway Media and joined Motorsport.com as a manager, content editor, and reporter. His passion for motorsports dates all the way back to his childhood. He's a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association, & before joining Motorsport.com, he worked with National Speed Sport News, Pole Position Magazine, and of course, Speedway Media. You can also hear him on "That Dang 'Ol Racing Show" every Monday night. Nick was born & raised in Syracuse, NY before recently moving to Miami. His entire life revolves around racing and it should, because it's in his blood. His father is a former tire changer/mechanic at the Sprint Cup level and his older brother spent a short tenure with RCR. Another interesting fact about Nick is that although he was raised in Yankee territory, his cousin is the former catcher/captain and current special assistant to the general manager of the Boston Red Sox....Jason Varitek.


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