What do Kansas Speedway, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin have in common? The three leading contenders for this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup championship are the most recent winners at the Kansas City-area facility. Hamlin won in April – the last race conducted before the track was repaved and reconfigured. Johnson won last fall’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ event and Keselowski captured the spring race in 2011. Keselowski’s Kansas victory was his first as a driver for Penske Racing.
Johnson has Kansas Speedway’s best average finish (7.9) among active drivers.
Keselowski’s lead over Johnson is just seven points at the halfway point of the Chase. Hamlin is 15 points back in third followed by Bowyer and Kasey Kahne. Thirty-five points cover the top five.
The Kansas winner has captured the championship just once during the Chase era – Johnson in 2008. Reigning champion Tony Stewart was 15th in last year’s race and ranked seventh, 19 points behind Chase leader Carl Edwards.