The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series blows into Kansas Speedway for eighth race of the 2012 season, the STP 400. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, April 22, 2012; 1:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high of 73; wind out of the ENE at 5 mph. There is a ZERO percent chance of precipitation on race day.
The Track: KansasSpeedway
Kansasis a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It has 15 degree banking in the corners and 10 degree banking in the tri-oval and five degree banking on the straight-aways.
Key to Race: KANSAS ISN'T JUST THE NAME OF A BAND
Kansasis another 1.5 mile oval which favors teams like Roush-Fenway and Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle are the only two-time winners and Jimmie Johnson has taken three poles in the 12 Cup races the track has hosted.
46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots on Saturday, April 20 at 12:10pm. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson dominated the fall 2011race as well as the 2008 race. He has nine top 10 finishes in 11 career starts at the track. He will be tough to beat.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won at Kansas last spring and finished third in the fall. He is a terrific option on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won the 2007 race and also the 2010 trip to Kansas. He has finished 12th or better in the last 10 races at the track. We love his chances.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Fresh of a visit to the meet the President of the United States, Stewart heads to a track he has had a lot of success at during his career. He is a lock to crack the top five.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has top 10 finishes in six of the last eight races at Kansas. He does very well at 1.5 mile ovals and is a great pick.
6 to 10
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished inside the top six in four of the last six starts at Kansas. He should back inside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has two career wins at Kansas and has finished 13th or better in 10 of his 12 starts at the track.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has had one of the top cars at Kansas in four of the last five races. He will be someone to use in most leagues again this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has cracked the top 12 in four of the last five races at Kansas. He should crack the top 12 once again.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished second at Kansas last fall. He is an interesting pick this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has usually brought fast cars to his home-track. He is a good pick.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has had five top 10 finishes in 12 career starts at Kansas. He will just miss the top 10’s this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Kansas has never been one of Rowdy's better tracks. Look for him to take some unnecessary chances that will either help or hurt your fantasy team.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin won the 2005 race at Kansas. He will drive his usual smart race and should finish near the top 15.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman’s past trips to Kansasdefine hit-or-miss. He has four top 10 finishes in 12 career starts and eight 15th or worse results at the track. We think he will be back inside the top 15.
No. 22 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. cracked the top 20 in three of the past five races at Kansas. This is a good weekend to sneak “The Dinger” onto your roster.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has improved nearly every trip he makes to Kansas. Look for him to flirt with the top 15 this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has three consecutive top 20 finishes at Kansas. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 51 Kurt Busch: Busch led 158 laps at Kansas last season, but that was before he was bounced from his ride at Penske.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya was great at Kansas in 2009, but has been average since. We aren’t going to pick him to crack the top 15 this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose is consistently inconsistent. He should be a top 25 finisher once again this weekend…or maybe he won’t. He is a tough fellow to pick.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 10 just twice at Kansas in his career. There are far better options this weekend.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has been very inconsistent in his five career starts at Kansas. He is a risky pick this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been very average in four of the past seven races at Kansas. We predict more of the same from him.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has cracked the top 20 in five of his six career starts at Kansas. He is worth using this weekend as a fourth driver in deep leagues.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has cracked the top 16 in five of the last eight races at Kansas. He is a great sleeper option this weekend.
No. 83 Landon Cassill: Cassill hasn’t done much at Kansas in his career. There are far better options.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte's best career finish at Kansas is 16th. He won't come near that this weekend.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged just a 27th place finish at Kansas during his career.
No. 12 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. is an interesting pick in the No. 12 car. Use him in the deepest leagues.
No. 10 David Reutimann
No. 43 Aric Almirola
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 32 Reed Sorenson
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 49 J.J. Yeley
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 33 Tony Raines
No. 74 Stacy Compton
No. 79 Tim Andrews
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Greg Biffle
4. Tony Stewart
1. Casey Mears
2. Sam Hornish Jr.
Bust of the Week: