NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Hollywood Casino 400 track trends, favs, sleepers, fades, etc

TRACK: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile oval) DISTANCE: 267 Laps – Stage 1: 80 Laps, Stage 2: 80 Laps, Final Stage: 107 Laps (400.5 miles)

This will be the 34th Cup Series race at the Kansas Speedway. The NASCAR Cup Series 1st started coming to the Sunflower State in 2001.

Recently paved which makes this a very difficult track to pass on too. Outside lane is better, but there is a chance to take the lead from the inside. Mostly a restart/track position track. You can gamble on 2 tires or depending on how late you are in the race, 0 tires. Clean air is key here.

  • 7 of the last 11 Kansas winners have come from the top five of the starting lineup including 3 of the last 4.
  • 11 of the last 13 Kansas winners started in the top 6 Rows.
  • Toyota has won 4 of the last 6 Kansas races including 6 of the last 11.
  • We’ve seen 9 different winners in the last 10 Kansas races. Only repeat winner is Denny Hamlin.
  • There’s been no OT finishes in each of the last 5 races including 11 of the last 13 in general.
  • The eventual race winner scored stage points in every first stage under the stage era with the exception of May.
  • The eventual race winner finished in the top 2 in 4 of the last 7 first stages. Both winners last year won the opening stage.
  • The eventual race winner finished in the top 5 in 5 of the last 6 2nd stages and 8 of the 11 overall second stages.
  • The odd thing is, just twice has the eventual race winner at Kansas actually won a second stage (2019 playoff race, May 2022).
  • Since 2011, every Kansas winner has won a series championship with the exception of Hamlin.
  • In fact, only Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Greg Biffle and Joe Nemechek have won at Kansas and not won a Cup title. Kyle Larson joined that list but only for a few months last Fall before he became a champion.
  • 3x has the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway has gone on to win the title that same season
  • Three non-Playoff drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway:
    • In 2004, Joe Nemechek won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas and was ranked 21st in the points at the time of the win.
    • In 2006, NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas and was 11th in points at the time of the victory.
    • In 2007, Greg Biffle won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas and was 14th in points at the time of the win.  

The worst finish in a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway by a driver that went on to win the championship later that same season was 15th by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart in 2011.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – MAY 15: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 15, 2022 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Favorites

Chase Elliott

He’s had six top six finishes in his last eight Kansas starts including being fifth and second last year. He was only 29th in May though and needing a good finish.

Kyle Larson

He dominated in leading the most laps but not winning last year’s spring race. He then would win the playoff race though. He was runner-up back in May for his 5th top 8, 4 of which being in the top 4, in his last 7 Kansas tries.

Denny Hamlin

The only driver to have won multiple times here in the last 10 races and was 4th back in the spring.

Martin Truex Jr.

Since 2017, he’s had a top 10 in all but one Kansas start including sweeping both race wins in 2017. He finished 6th in the spring race.

Kyle Busch

He won last May of 2021 and has 5 top five finishes in his last 8 Kansas starts including a 3rd place run in May.

Sleepers:

Alex Bowman

Bowman has 6 top 11 results on the 1.5-mile track in his last 9 tries including being runner-up in the spring race in 2019, eighth and fourth respectively in 2020 and 9th this past spring. He won on a similar track in Las Vegas back in March too.

William Byron

He has five top 10 finishes in his last 6 stats at Kansas including being ninth and sixth respectively last year.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick, has eight top two finishes at Kansas since 2013 including a 2nd place result in 2 of his last 4 starts there in general. He was only 15th in May.

Christopher Bell

He scored his first Xfinity race win at this very track a few years ago as well as being 10th and eighth in the last 2 Kansas playoff races and 5th in the spring race of this year.

23XI Racing

Bubba Wallace had a car capable of winning this past spring. He finished 10th. Kurt Busch instead did win in leading 116 of 267 laps in the process.

Tyler Reddick

He was seventh in last year’s spring race and won the pole for this past year’s spring race.

Austin Dillon

He was 10th in both races a year ago to go along with being 11th in the 2020 playoff race and 13th this past spring too.

Fades

Team Penske:

Austin Cindric is a rookie. Since 2011, every Kansas winner has won a Cup championship. Cindric was 11th in the spring. Ryan Blaney has had 5 of his last 7 Kansas races have seen him finish 20th or worse and 12th in May. For Joey Logano, he’s finished 15th or worse in 5 of his last 7 at Kansas.

Aric Almirola

No top five finishes in 21 starts puts him on this list.

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