Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kansas Preview: 2014 5-Hour Energy Drink 400

Could this be week Larson finally wins?
The 11th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season takes us to Kansas Speedway for the third of 11 tracks with a 1.5-mile layout. We’ve already seen Las Vegas and Texas this season, and although the banking is much steeper at those two, we can apply what we saw there to this weeks event. For good measure, you can also take a quick glance at what happened at Fontana’s 2-mile layout on Mar. 23.

The chances are pretty good that best drivers from Las Vegas and Texas will find their way to the front quickly at Kansas. Last season it was Matt Kenseth winning at Las Vegas and then taking the Kansas checkers six weeks later and he would go on to win twice more on 1.5-mile tracks before the year was up. It was clear that both he and his teammates, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, were a notch above everyone else combining to win in seven of the 11 races I like to group together. Busch also won at Fontana two weeks after Vegas. 

From what we have so far this season, it appears that the team with a slight edge over everyone else is the Penske Racing duo of Joey Logano, who won at Texas, and Brad Keselowski who won at Las Vegas. And then we have Busch who won at Fontana again, which should give us a great starting point to figure out who has the best chances of winning Saturday night. However, Busch does not have a top-5 Kansas finish in 13 career starts.

Somehow, Busch has been able to obtain great speeds on these type of track while his Joe Gibbs teammates haven’t fared so well. The drop-off with Kenseth compared to last season is quite significant, and while Hamlin -- last week’s Talladega winner -- has fought hard for respectable finishes, he hasn’t had a car capable of winning on these tracks. The good news for Kenseth is that he always runs well at Kansas, whether with Roush Racing who he won with in 2012, or with Joe Gibbs.

Just like Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson is still searching for his first win of 2014. He’s the all-time leader at Kansas with a 7.5 average finish in 15 starts. No one else has averaged a finish better than 10th. He’s finished in the top-10 over his last 10 starts there, including wins in 2008 and 2011. The bad news for Johnson and his team is that they haven’t found their rhythm yet. No top-5s at Las Vegas, Texas or Fontana.

Read More Here......Top-5 Finish Prediction

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