Author: Dwight Drum racetake.com
It’s a common motorsports consensus. Some seasoned drivers and their teams feel they do better on mile-and-a half tracks, even though each facility offers different characteristics. Six such tracks—Chicago, Kentucky, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Texas and Homestead—host Chase for the Sprint Cup races and the latter five are yet to be finalized in season 2011.
The next challenge is the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway presented by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) on the 1.5-miles tri-oval track with 15 degree banking in Kansas City, Kansas.
Fans not in the stands can view the race at 2 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.
Some call these track “cookie-cutter” because they are of equal length, but drivers expect variances.
The top five NSCS point leaders—Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson—shared their thoughts about Kansas. Comparing their words can sometimes help fans have a better understanding of the next event, race 30 of 36.
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet)
“The race track itself is a lot like a lot of the other race tracks we go to as far as the race track shape and size, so that doesn’t really set it aside from a lot of other places,” Harvick said. “The one thing that does set it aside is the way that the racetrack has aged, which is a good thing. You look at Charlotte (Motor Speedway), those types of race tracks, the asphalt has not changed much over the years and this particular racetrack, the tires wear out, it gets slick and the cars start to slide around, which makes the racing groove move up, which it has done here over the past couple of years so that part of it has changed a little bit differently than a lot of the mile-and-a-half tracks.”
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford)
“I absolutely love Kansas Speedway,” Edwards said. “It’s not far from my hometown and there is absolutely nothing better than racing in front of your family and friends at your hometown track. A win there would mean the world to me. We are going into Kansas tied for the lead with seven races to go and we are coming off a good finish at Dover. We’d like to build on that lead and Kansas would be the perfect track to do that.”
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)
“It seems like in the last couple of years it (Kansas Speedway) has really come around,” Stewart said. “It’s seasoned and it’s gotten to where we can get off the bottom and move around the racetrack more. That’s what you want as a driver. That’s what the teams want. You don’t want to be stuck following guys and not being able to move around and pass. It just makes you confident that you know you have options when you go into the corner where you can help yourself out as a driver. It makes this place a lot more fun to race when you’re able to move around and find different grooves.”
Kurt Busch (No. 22 Dodge)
“Kansas had always been a track where we just never could put it together and come out of there with a solid run and finish,” Busch said. “It was one of the couple of tracks that we’d never finished in the top-five and we still haven’t. I don’t know what it is about the Kansas track. It’s a flat mile-and-a-half that reminds me of Las Vegas when it was built and flat. It’s just a tough combination. If you’re just a tick off, you feel like you play catch-up most of the weekend and if you unload fast, you’re tough to chase down.”
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
“The track’s lost a ton of grip and it’s heading toward Atlanta from a grip standpoint,” Johnson said. “There are lots of grooves to race on and cars don’t really wear the tire off. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it could be a fuel mileage race but I don’t really want to think about it from that standpoint.”
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com.
Unless otherwise noted, quotes and information were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR and team representatives.
Author: Dwight Drum racetake.com