Thursday, April 29, 2021

Kansas NASCAR Betting Preview: 2021 Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas


The NASCAR Cup Series has produced nine different winners in its first 10 races duplicating a feat that has been done only three other times in the modern era of NASCAR (1972 - present).

It’s parity galore for NASCAR 2021 with all three manufacturers having at least three wins as the series rolls into Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile layout for Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400.

Yes, that’s a real sponsor name created by fans of Busch beer.


  • Date: Sunday, May 2, 2021
  • TV-Time: FS1, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Kansas Speedway
  • Location: Kansas City, Kansas
  • Distance: 400.5 miles, 267 laps
  • Defending Champion: Joey Logano (Oct. 18, 2020)

A few things we have to understand before lining your Kansas betting portfolio with wagers.

This is the fourth race of the season on a 1.5-mile track and also the fourth non-superspeedway race using the race package with engines producing 550 horsepower.

Hendrick Motorsports won the first two with William Byron at Homestead and Kyle Larson at Las Vegas while Team Penske won at Atlanta with Ryan Blaney.


The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted Larson as the 5/1 co-favorite to win in part because he’s been the best driver using this week’s race package -- three top-fives, led laps in all three, and led the most laps in two of them.

Martin Truex Jr. is a two-time Kansas winner and is also a co-favorite, but it’s more about being the only driver to have multiple wins this season.

However, both those wins came using the 750 HP package at Phoenix and Martinsville. His only top-five in the 550 HP on a 1.5 this season was at Homestead where he finished third and led 17 laps. He was sixth at Las Vegas and ninth at Atlanta.

Denny Hamlin is the third and final 5/1 co-favorite based on winning two of the last three Kansas races and three overall. He’s also had top-fives on two of the three 1.5s while also leading laps. Eight top-fives in 10 starts overall this season and still no wins after winning seven times last season.


  • Denny Hamlin +550
  • Kyle Larson +600
  • Martin Truex Jr. +700
  • Brad Keselowski +850
  • Chase Elliott +900
  • Kevin Harvick +900
  • Joey Logano +900
  • More NASCAR Futures
  • (Odds Subject to Change)
Kansas Win Joey Logano
Joey Logano captured last year's playoff race at Kansas and he's expected to be in the mix again on Sunday. (AP)


Of the three co-favorites, there’s no question in my mind Larson deserves to be the lone favorite and initial focal point because of his work on 1.5s this season and he says one of those tracks they already ran at is closest to how Kansas runs.

“I’m excited to get to Kansas,” Larson said. “It’s a track I’ve run well at in the past. It seems I’ve always had speed there. Our Hendrick Motorsports Chevys have had really good speed on the mile-and-halfs this year, so that makes me even more excited to get there. Kansas is the track that I feel is the most similar to Las Vegas where we won earlier this year.”


I have a bet on Larson to win, but he won’t be the driver that I’ll make the most money on. I’ll fare the best with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell who is set at 30/1 odds in his No. 20, and then two other Hendrick drivers with Alex Bowman and William Byron both at 20/1 odds.

“All 1.5-mile tracks are definitely not the same,” warned William Byron about blindly labeling all 1.5s the same. “Kansas is probably the most similar to Las Vegas but, even in that aspect, Kansas has less grip. It’s a very temperature-sensitive racetrack. You have to be able to run the bottom effectively but then be able to run the top lane just as strong the longer the race goes along. I think we were good in both races last year, but I think the June race was the best shot we have had at winning there. I’m excited to get back and see what we can do this time.”

Byron has finished 10th or better in his last three Kansas races with a best of fifth-place in the fall of 2019 and he’s also led laps in his last four starts there. The No. 24 driven by Jeff Gordon won the first two Kansas races in 2001 and 2002 and won again in 2012.


Kevin Harvick is 12/1 to win at Kansas



Kansas Advance

No. 4 Busch Light #ForTheFarmers Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview


●  Event:  Buschy McBusch Race 400 (Round 11 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 2

●  Location:  Kansas Speedway in Kansas City

●  Layout:  1.5-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  267 laps/400 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 107 laps

●  TV/Radio:  FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


●  “What’s in a name?” That’s what Juliet said about Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and it’s what NASCAR fans are likely saying about the name of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas – the Buschy McBusch Race 400. Back in February, Busch Beer opened a fan contest to name the May 2 race at Kansas, allowing fans to submit their ideas in exchange for a $1 donation to Farm Rescue, a non-profit supporting family farmers across the United States. After the field was narrowed down to four finalists – The Busch Latte 400, Nectar Of The Cobs 400, For The Farmers 400 and Buschy McBusch Race 400 – a fan vote resulted in the race being named the Buschy McBusch Race 400. Shakespeare’s legacy lives on.


●  Busch Light, the beer brewed for America’s heartland and a longtime supporter of agricultural communities, has clad Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Mustang in a corn-themed, Farm Rescue paint scheme for Sunday’s race at Kansas. The design emulates Busch’s corn can, and purchasing a Busch or Busch Light corn can benefits Farm Rescue, with $1 of every purchase going back to the non-profit. Since its inception in 2005, Farm Rescue has helped nearly 700 family farms sustain operations in times of crisis. These efforts are made possible through a network of volunteers from across the United States. Busch has been a partner of Farm Rescue since early 2019.


●  Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home. And for Harvick, home is an intermediate racetrack. With apologies to those in Harvick’s hometown of Bakersfield, California, the veteran racer has made the intermediate tracks that comprise the majority of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule his home. Of Harvick’s 58 career NASCAR Cup Series wins, 23 have come at intermediate-style racetracks. Kansas is a sweeping, D-shaped oval that has produced high speeds and daring, side-by-side racing since its debut in 2001. Harvick has competed at the track for every one of its Cup Series races – one of only three drivers to do so – and has amassed quite the history in his 30 career starts. Three wins, four second-place finishes, nine top-threes, 10 top-fives, 17 top-10s and 949 laps led make Harvick one of the most successful drivers in Kansas’ relatively young history. His average start is 13.5, his average finish is 9.3 and he has a lap completion rate of 98.6 percent.


●  Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Kansas with three victories apiece. Only Harvick, Hamlin and Logano are still active, and only eight of the 15 Cup Series winners at Kansas are active. Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400 marks the 31st Cup Series race at Kansas.


●  The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has become the fourth different year in the Modern Era (1972-Present) with nine or more different winners in the first 10 races, joining 2003 (nine winners), 2000 (10 winners) and 1991 (nine winners). Will we see a 10th different winner Sunday at Kansas? There are eight former Cup Series winners entered in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 and five of them have yet to win this season – Harvick, Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman.


●  Bet the farm on Harvick? Since joining the NASCAR Cup Series in 2001, Harvick has won in the first 10 races of a season in 12 of his 21 seasons (57.1%). Last season through the first 10 races he had already won twice – Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway – and in 2018 through the first 10 races he had won three times – Atlanta, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. But so far in 2021, Harvick is winless. However, with the trend of different race winners and with Kansas being one of Harvick’s best tracks statistically, perhaps it’s time for Harvick to be NASCAR’s newest victor. His three wins are tied for the series-most, his 10 top-fives are the most among active drivers, as are his 17 top-10s, and he leads every pre-race Loop Data category: Average Finish of 8.154 (series-best); Average Running Position of 8.691 (series-best): Driver Rating of 109.7 (series-best); 640 Fastest Laps Run (series-best); 5,613 Laps in the Top-15 (81.3 percent, series-most) and 997 Quality Passes (series-most).


Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light #ForTheFarmers Ford Mustang 


Seven top-10s in the 10 races run this year – some drivers would love to have those stats, but after a nine-win season last year, top-10s are merely OK. From a competitive standpoint, where are you so far this season?

“Something I tell everybody year after year – whether we’ve had a good year or a bad year – you just never know what the next year is going to bring until you get on the racetrack. The things that people don’t see during the offseason are the things most people don’t see – whether NASCAR changes a little rule here, or Goodyear makes a little bit of a change to a tire there. Sometimes it suits you and sometimes it doesn’t. Last year, everything went our way. This year, it hasn’t really gone our way. Our Busch Light team has really done a great job of scratching and clawing for every position that you can get on the weekend. It’s bought us time week after week to get our cars back to where we want them to be. It’s not a position that we haven’t been in before. It’s definitely part of the sport and part of the things you have to do to keep yourself going – you sometimes digging yourself out of a hole and figuring things out. It’s a big science project, I can say that for sure. I think there are a lot of engineers on a lot of computers burning the midnight oil trying to make sure we start making some headway on getting our cars back to where we need them.”


What, exactly, are you dealing with when it comes to your racecars?

“We’re just a little bit off on the speed side of things. We just have to methodically work through the problems and get the cars back to where they need to be. It’s a long year. From our standpoint, we’ve been the dominant car, we’ve been the not-so-dominant car, we’ve been good, we’ve been bad, we’ve done it perfectly, and we’ve made mistakes. This is not a scenario that we’ve not been in before. You just have to make sure you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and make sure you get the most out of the weekends right now so you don’t dig yourself into a hole you can’t get out of during the first 26 weeks.”


When you don’t have the speed you want, do you have to drive differently?

“You have to get every single point you can get every single weekend just to make sure you don’t put yourself in a hole that you can’t get out of. The one weekend I kick myself in the butt for is Las Vegas because we should’ve finished eighth or ninth there and I wound up knocking both front fenders off. We’ve all been in this position before. Our season is so long that you really have to focus on making sure you’re in the right spot when you get to the end of race No. 26. We’ve been on both sides of this fence – we’ve been slow starters, we’ve been fast starters, we’ve run good all season – we’ve experienced it all. We definitely have to be in this particular mindset until we 100 percent get it fixed. I think everybody’s doing a great job of just making sure that we’re doing that right now. Getting the most out of each weekend is very important.”


When you don’t have the performance you want or are accustomed to, you’re scrutinized. How do you stay unaffected by that scrutiny?

“I respect the fact people outside our team have a job to do, but that doesn’t mean I have to pay attention to it or put any stock into what is said and what is not said. And, honestly, I don’t have time to worry about that stuff. It really doesn’t make any difference in the communication I have with my team, because that’s the most important thing right now – to make sure you pick out those details of every single weekend, to make sure you’re part of the process of putting the right pieces back in place. A lot of people have a tough time doing that, but I have no problem. It makes some people mad with the way we go about those types of things, but it’s the best thing for the team to be as low key as possible in these types of situations. We keep our heads down and work on fixing our problems, and that’s important.”


You mentioned it before – no matter how a season has started, you and the No. 4 Busch Light team have managed to be consistently good over the course of a season. How have you been able to do it year after year?

“That goes back a number of years just in how I was taught to race. When I started racing, whether it was go-karts or Late Models, if I wanted to go to the racetrack next week, you had to survive with something that was raceable. I learned that really fast my first year in Late Models. I think I only got to run seven races because I wrecked the car every time we went out on the racetrack and it took us a month to fix it because we couldn’t go out and just buy the parts and put it all together – we had to fix everything. That was something that was just ingrained in my head, not only from the time I started racing for my father, but the whole time I was at RCR (Richard Childress Racing). When you have a 15th-place car and you can finish 10th with it, that’s a victory. But don’t try to force it trying to make a 15th-place car a first-place car because then you try to wreck it. Being able to have that reality in your head and know that sometimes finishing 15th is way better than finishing 30th and having the car wadded up. Finishing races is very important, and knowing the capability of your car. In today’s world, not a lot of people realize that. When you can realize that and have a 15th-place car and finish ninth with it – which happens a lot because so many people just make so many mistakes – you can really capitalize on a weekend when you’re not really where you need to be from a performance standpoint.”


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Hendrick Motorsports driver quotes prior to Kansas

Kyle Larson (11/2), driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on 1.5-mile success:
“I’m excited to get to Kansas. It’s a track I’ve run well at in the past. It seems I’ve always had speed there. Our Hendrick Motorsports Chevys have had really good speed on the mile-and-halfs this year, so that’s makes me even more excited to get there. Kansas is the track that I feel is the most similar to Las Vegas where we won earlier this year.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on 1.5-mile success this year and characteristics of Kansas Speedway:
“Kansas is unique. It’s getting some age, which is interesting to say about Kansas since it’s new compared to other tracks. But while it has aged, it’s still relatively flat and not super bumpy, and that’s unique to the shape and geometry of the track. We have a strong intermediate program and there are some things learned this year that will apply this weekend at Kansas.”

Chase Elliott (10/1), driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on Kansas
: “We had a pretty good run at Kansas last fall, so we should have some notes that we can bring back this weekend. Kansas is a track, to me, that just feels different compared to other mile-and-a-half tracks. With the way the corners are shaped and with it being progressively banked, the top side is going to become dominant and, in my opinion, those tracks typically put on good shows.”

Elliott on varying tracks coming up on the schedule: “We are looking forward to all the tracks coming up – new and old. It doesn’t matter to me where we go, where we race or what style of racetrack. I always enjoy the challenge of everything that comes with it and trying to run well. I feel like that’s how our entire team approaches it. We are looking forward to all these places coming up, especially with the diversity of tracks over the next month or so. We expect there to be challenges. We’ve certainly had some this year, but we look forward to trying to improve on all those things and make ourselves better as we go along.”

William Byron (20/1), driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the racing at Kansas: “All 1.5-mile tracks are definitely not the same. Kansas is probably the most similar to Las Vegas but, even in that aspect, Kansas has less grip. It’s a very temperature-sensitive racetrack. You have to be able to run the bottom effectively but then be able to run the top lane just as strong the longer the race goes along. I think we were good in both races last year, but I think the June race was the best shot we have had at winning there. I’m excited to get back and see what we can do this time.”

Byron on his connection and success with crew chief Rudy Fugle:
“Everyone talks about the drivers being the stars, but it takes more than just us to be successful. If you look at the top five or six teams, they’ve all been together with their crew chiefs and having success for multiple years now. It’s important to find those guys that can really click for you and that you can have success with long term. I feel like Rudy and I are just building the foundation for what is next to come when it comes to us working together. We’re in a really good place right now. We’re just starting to get our rhythm which is definitely a good thing for us. We have started the year strong and we’re only going to continue to build momentum from here.”

Alex Bowman (20/1), driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on strong runs at Kansas: “Kansas is a track where I feel like we have a really good notebook. We have been great here in the past and our intermediate program at Hendrick Motorsports is strong. I feel like we always have a chance to win when we come here and that is credited to the No. 48 team. Last week didn’t end how we would have liked it to, so we are hoping for some redemption on Sunday.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on what makes Kansas unique: “The ability to move around multiple grooves makes Kansas Speedway a track where we look forward to running. Goodyear does such a good job with the tire there. There is fall-off, and pit strategy definitely comes into play there. Do you short pit or go long? Unlike some tracks, I think all the drivers say that they can’t wait to get back to Kansas. Not like you can’t put any extra effort into races, but I think a lot of guys circle that on the calendar and think they can have a lot of fun there.”

Kyle Busch is 12/1 to win 2021 Buschy McBusch 400 at Kansas



In the 'MIX'


HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (April 28, 2021) – Over the last seven seasons, Kyle Busch has been in the mix for a win at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City more times than not.


This wasn’t always the case, though, for Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S MIX Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), as he struggled his first seven seasons competing at the 1.5-mile oval. Busch will hope to record another strong finish at Kansas, a place where he struggled mightily during his first 14 visits, albeit on two completely different racing surfaces. However, looking at his past 13 starts in the Heartland of America, Busch has scored eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s, an astounding turnaround from his early years there.

The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will be looking for his first win of the season and continue his recent string of strong runs at Kansas in Sunday’s 400-mile race. Busch will also have a bit of an added incentive on Sunday as he will be celebrating his 36th birthday. As a matter of fact, Busch became just the second driver to win a Cup Series race on his birthday when he found himself in victory lane at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in 2009. Three drivers total have accomplished the feat as Cale Yarborough won on his birthday in 1977 and 1983 and Matt Kenseth won on his birthday in 2012. Busch hopes to tie Yarborough as the only driver with two birthday victories.


The Kansas oval was built in 2001 and originally featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns. But it underwent a massive renovation leading into its October 2012 event. The changes included repaving of the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The oval’s geometric shape also was changed to feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.

To say that Busch didn’t take well to the new surface would be quite the understatement. From October 2012 to 2013, he had three consecutive DNFs (Did Not Finish) there, with accidents ending his day each time, for final results of 31st, 38th and 34th.


Feeling snakebit on the new Kansas surface, Busch and his M&M’S team took a different approach starting with the April 2014 race by starting from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked Kansas with the hopes that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in the race, the result and effort was much different than the three previous trips. Instead, they were competitive enough to turn the corner in terms of results.


In the October 2014 Cup Series race, Busch brought home a third-place finish at Kansas. Those who know Busch knows he has never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum kickstarted by his first Kansas top-five has remained to this day. Finally, with the surface starting to wear, Kansas has become a place much more agreeable to Busch’s driving style as he brought home his first victory there in NASCAR’s top series in May 2016, putting an exclamation point on the aforementioned strong runs there and igniting a slew of top-five and top-10 finishes there ever since.


Busch will debut the M&M’S MIX scheme as the latest addition to the M&M’S lineup this weekend. M&M’S MIX combines three different flavors of M&M’S in one bag. There are two different types: Classic Mix, which features Milk Chocolate, Peanut and Peanut Butter, and the Peanut MIX, which combines Milk Chocolate Peanut, Dark Chocolate Peanut and White Chocolate Peanut. Race fans can pick up M&M’S MIX at local retailers and check out the No. 18 M&M’S MIX Camry in Kansas.


So as Busch heads to Kansas this weekend, there’s no doubt he’ll be in the “MIX”, as he aims not only for his second Kansas win, but to add a second victory on his May 2 birthday during his impressive career.


KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S MIX Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 


Have you looked forward to racing at Kansas more since you won there?


“I do. Also, I did even the last few times before we won there when we had some really strong runs. We finished in the top-five, I think, five races in a row and we have also been in the top-10 a lot, so it’s a place where we’ve really picked it up. Last year, at least in the first race, I thought we had the car to beat and ended up getting a speeding penalty that mired us back in traffic and we weren’t able to recover like we had hoped. We seemed to have gotten a setup or ahold of that place and hoping we can continue our strong runs and our fast pace of being able to have a shot to win with our M&M’S MIX Toyota.”


What’s the biggest challenge that Kansas Speedway poses?


“I think the wind is usually a factor there. Sometimes it comes from the south, sometimes from the west, it’s like being in the Wizard of Oz. Kind of crazy to get there each year and try to figure out what’s best. But the wind also plays into our setups. We talk about how you have to set up the racecar with which way the wind is blowing and what we have to do from that aspect. It definitely adds a different challenge to what we all do.”


How are things coming along as you continue to work and gel with your new crew chief Ben Beshore?


“We are improving, for sure, with our baseline setup and being able to come off the truck better. At Vegas, it was a bit of a struggle to start, but we improved a lot and we finished well. Through all the things that we learned there and the debrief we had, we showed up to Atlanta way more ready to go when the race started with a good package there. With some of the stuff we learned there, we’ve even gone into some of the short tracks, the 750 (horsepower) races, even more prepared. It’s just week to week and trying to get better and come off that truck better to start the race. That way we are more able to get those points in the first two stages, I feel like we’ve had a lot of 11th- to 13th-place finishes in the first stage, but hoping we can get more stage points as we come off the truck to start the race better overall.”


Where is your team on the 1.5-mile tracks right now? Is it as important as it used to be with less of those races and more road courses than ever before?


“Years past, you definitely wanted to be good at the mile-and-a-half tracks because you always looked forward to Homestead as being the final race of the year. I think there were five out of 10 races with the 1.5-mile, 500 (horsepower) packages in the playoffs, where this year, now, some of that’s changed. You kind of have to look at the 750 package as being your main focus and priority and being better at those races. You still want to be better at both, though, being able to win now at Kansas and get those five bonus points and you hopefully can win some stages and get some stage points – that’s important. That’s basically what knocked us out of the playoffs last year, so we need to be able to get more of those earlier in the year. A lot of different winners with nine guys winning and those guys have those points, so we want to be part of that group and be at least equal heading into the playoffs.”


What do you see with your progress so far this year?

“We certainly want to get back to leading laps and contending for race victories, and we just haven’t quite had that yet. So far this year, I feel we are stepping in the right direction. We are probably in the fifth- to ninth-place part of the field right now and I think we are close to getting into that third through sixth, and then we can progress to leading laps and we can start talking about wins. Would like to be in the mix this weekend with our M&M’S MIX Camry and get those bonus points and give us even more momentum.”

Brad Keselowski’s Talladega win makes all three Team Penske drivers in the Playoffs & All-Star Race

Calling Team Penske the hottest organization in the NASCAR Cup Series this season wouldn’t be an understatement, especially after Brad Keselowski collected his first win of the season at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend giving all three Penske drivers a victory this year locking them into the Playoffs and the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway (June 13).

Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney kicked the trips to Victory Lane off this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/21/21) then Joey Logano followed it the very next weekend in the inaugural race on the Bristol Dirt (3/29/21) and Keselowski rounded out the trifecta of winners last weekend at Talladega.

Looking to Kansas Speedway this weekend, don’t be surprised if Team Penske’s success continues. Joey Logano (2014, 2015, 2020) is tied with Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002, 2014), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2011, 2015), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2016, 2018) and Denny Hamlin (2012, 2019, 2020) for the series-most wins at Kansas with three each. Brad Keselowski (2011, 2019) also has multiple victories at the 1.5-mile track. Though Blaney has yet to win at Kansas, he has made 12 series starts at the track posting six top-10 finishes; including a best-finish of third in 2017. He finished seventh in the first Kansas race last season.

Keselowski will be looking to keep the recent momentum flowing this weekend at Kansas. Keselowski has made 22 series starts at Kansas posting one pole, two wins, six top fives and 12 top 10s. He finished runner-up to Denny Hamlin in this race last season.

Kansas could be the place Kevin Harvick rights the ship

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick since running full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2001 has won in the first 10 races of a season in 12 of his 21 seasons (57.1%). Last season through the first 10 races he had already won twice (Darlington, Atlanta) and in 2018 through the first 10 races he had won three times (Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Phoenix). But this season, Harvick finds himself winless riding a drought that stretches back to Bristol Motor Speedway last season (Sept. 9, 2020) 17 races ago. The Bakersfield, California native, Harvick, heads to Kansas Speedway, statistically one his best tracks, to end the winless drought.

Harvick has made 30 series starts at Kansas posting five poles (series-most), three wins (tied for series-most), 10 top fives (series-most among active drivers) and 17 top 10s (series-most among active drivers).

Harvick also leads every key pre-race Loop Data category heading into this weekend at Kansas Speedway - Average Finish of 8.154, series-best, Average Running Position of 8.691, series-best, Driver Rating of 109.7, series-best, 640 Fastest Laps Run, series-best, 5,613 Laps in the Top 15 (81.3%), series-most and 997 Quality Passes, series-most.


Standings leader Denny Hamlin is the best among the winless

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin continues to hold the top spot in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings this season, but is still looking for his first victory of the year 10 races in. As the defending winner of the first Kansas race last season and one of only four drivers to post consecutive wins (2019, 2020) at the 1.5-mile facility - Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002), Matt Kenseth (2012, 2013), Martin Truex Jr. (2017 sweep) – Hamlin is looking to end his winless drought that has reached 15 races dating back to Talladega Superspeedway last season (Oct. 4, 2020).

With a stout 87-point lead on his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. in second in the series driver standings, Hamlin has a firm grasp on the points lead heading into this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

This season, Hamlin has chalked up eight top-five finishes in the first 10 races. Even without a win his consistency to finish upfront has him leading the series in several key season-to-date Loop Data metrics – Average Running Position (6.736), Driver Rating (117.0), Laps In The Top 15 (2,279 laps; 90%), Laps Led (736 laps; 29.1%) and Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap (96.15%).

Now the Chesterfield, Virginia native turns his attention to Kansas Speedway, a track he has three victories at (2012, 2019, 2020) and is tied for the lead in the series in wins with Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002, 2014), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2011, 2015), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2016, 2018) and Joey Logano (2014, 2015, 2020). In total, Hamlin has made 25 series starts at Kansas posting three wins, eight top fives and nine top 10s. His average finish at Kansas is 14.5 (sixth-best among active drivers). Hamlin finished 15th in last season’s Kansas Playoff race.


Winners aplenty this season

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has become the fourth different year in the Modern Era (1972-Present) with nine or more different winners in the first 10 races; joining 2003 (9 winners), 2000 (10 winners) and 1991 (9 winners). Which bodes the question, Will we see a 10th different winner this weekend at Kansas?

There are eight former NASCAR Cup Series winners entered this weekend at Kansas and five them have yet to win this season – Denny Hamlin (three Kansas wins), Kevin Harvick (three Kansas wins), Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman (each with one Kansas win).

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch is the only active driver to win in all three NASCAR national series at Kansas Speedway – NCS (2014), NXS (2007, 2014, 2015, 2016) and NCWTS (2014, 2017). He finished 11th in the first Kansas race last season.

Four drivers entered this weekend have won at Kansas in both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Denny Hamlin (NCS, three wins; NXS, one win), Joey Logano (NCS, three wins; NXS, two wins), Kevin Harvick (NCS, three wins; NXS one win) and Brad Keselowski (NCS, two wins; NXS one win).

Five other drivers entered this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series race have won at Kansas Speedway either in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Chase Briscoe (2020), Christopher Bell (2017) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2012) or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Ross Chastain (2019) and William Byron (2016). Three of the five are looking for their first win of the season – Briscoe, Chastain and Stenhouse.

Interestingly, the 30 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Kansas Speedway have never been won by a first-time Cup Series winner. NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon is the only driver in series history to win in his first appearance at Kansas Speedway.

Kansas Speedway is up next for the NASCAR Cup Series

After a wild race at the behemoth that is Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series prepares for this Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400 (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Kansas Speedway, its fourth event of the 2021 season on a 1.5-mile track.

Groundbreaking for Kansas Speedway was held on May 25, 1999. The official opening of Kansas Speedway was in 2001, with the first NASCAR Cup Series race being held on Sept. 30, 2001. The event was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet). Gordon would actually win the first two NASCAR Cup Series races held at Kansas (2001, 2002).

During the 2012 season, between the April and October events, the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway track underwent a repave, adding variable banking in the corners bringing them to 17-20 degrees.

In total, there have been 30 NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway, one event from 2001 - 2010 and two races per year since 2011. The 30 Cup events have produced 16 different pole winners and 15 different race winners.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads the series in poles at Kansas Speedway with five (fall 2013, 2014 sweep, spring 2018, spring 2019).

Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002, 2014), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2011, 2015), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2016, 2018), Joey Logano (2014, 2015, 2020) and Denny Hamlin (2012, 2019, 2020) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Kansas Speedway with three victories each. This weekend, eight of the 15 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas winners are active.

Race Winners (8)



Denny Hamlin


2020, 2019, 2012

Joey Logano


2020, 2015, 2014

Kevin Harvick


2018, 2016, 2013

Brad Keselowski


2019, 2011

Martin Truex Jr


2017 sweep

Chase Elliott



Kyle Busch



Ryan Newman



This weekend’s Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway is scheduled for 267 laps (400 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages are 80 laps each and the final stage will be 107 laps.

This weekend’s starting lineup for the Buschy McBusch Race 400 was determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result last weekend’s winner and Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski will start from the pole and Hendrick Motorsport’s William Byron will join Keselowski on the front row.

Cole Custer is 200/1 to win at Kansas



Kansas Advance

No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview


● Event: Buschy McBusch Race 400 (Round 10 of 36)

● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday May 2

● Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City

● Layout: 1.5-mile oval

● Laps/Miles: 267 laps/400 miles

● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 107 laps

● TV/Radio: FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


● Fresh off their first top-10 of the season, Cole Custer and his No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart Haas Racing (SHR) head to the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400. It will be the milestone 50th career NASCAR Cup Series start for the series’ reigning Rookie of the Year.


● The 23-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, had solid runs in both Kansas outings last year, finishing seventh in July and 14th in October. The seventh-place finish in July was his fourth Cup Series top-10 in 19 starts. His bid for a second-consecutive Kansas top-10 in October was thwarted by a late-race speeding penalty on pit road.


● Last weekend’s 10th-place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway was Custer’s eighth Cup Series top-10.


● Custer has four Kansas appearances in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, the most recent three in the No. 00 SHR Ford and the first in the No. 5 entry for JR Motorsports, with a best finish of 11th in the 2019 event after leading a race-high 85 laps.


● In his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outing at Kansas, Custer qualified fourth and finished seventh in the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry.


● After last Sunday’s 10th-place finish at Talladega, Custer arrives at Kansas 23rd in the Cup Series standings, 268 points behind leader Denny Hamlin, and 51 points behind the 16th and final playoff position.


● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford Mustang for SHR is team co-owner Gene Haas’ newest holding, Haas Tooling, which was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at and shipped directly to end users. products became available nationally last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at have proven to be even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as CNC machines have become vital to producing personal protective equipment. Haas Automation, founded by Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.


● SHR revealed last week that Code 3 Associates returns to the No. 41 Ford Mustang for the July 11 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Code 3 Associates has been a hero to animals for more than 30 years. If disaster strikes, Code 3 will deploy its Animal Rescue Team to help in emergencies like hurricanes, fires and floods. Fans have the opportunity to have their name featured on the No. 41 SHR Ford and help Code 3 continue its rescue efforts by simply visiting and making a $41 donation.


Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


You’re coming off your first top-10 of the season at Talladega and head to the mile-and-a-half oval at Kansas. What’s on your mind?

“It was good to have a solid day at Talladega after all that can potentially happen to you on that track. We left there with the mindset of stringing together a bunch of top-10s and building some consistency. Kansas is a tough racetrack. You have to move around and work the different lanes. You have to have the speed, as well, obviously. Track position is going to be huge and how you work the strategy is important. It’s a track where you have to put everything together. You have to make sure you can work the lanes good, and work them from the bottom to the top of the track.”


You had a solid seventh-place finish in last year’s first visit to Kansas and almost scored another top-10 your second time there last fall. How was that experience for you?

“The guys fought all race long both times and we definitely were able to make something of it in the first race, even though it wasn’t the prettiest day. We were in a good position in the fall race. Right there at the end was the best I had been in the top groove all race long. But the speeding penalty set us back and we still ended up with 14th place, which was disappointing when we considered what might have been.”


This will be your third race of the season on a mile-and-a-half tri-oval. What can you carry over from the Las Vegas and Atlanta races from earlier this year?

“Every single track is different. You can’t bring the same thing to them. We struggled a little bit at both of those races earlier this year, but I think we have a really good idea on what we need to bring to these mile-and-a-half tracks. We’ve been working hard to put in all the preparation we can, but it all still comes down to making our best educated guess because we don’t have practice or anything to work our cars in before the race. You just have to hope you hit it right.”


You’re making your 50th Cup Series start Sunday. How would you gauge your progress, and your working relationship with your crew chief Mike Shiplett and your engineer Davin Restivo?

“Fifty races, that’s a cool number. But it’s just a fraction of what most of the guys out there have under their belts. It’s been cool to work with Mike and Davin because I’ve been working with them since the Xfinity Series. We’re making good progress, I think, and with the rules and the different tires and new tracks and everything, you’re always learning in the Cup Series no matter who you are. It’s nice to have our communication down and know what each other is looking for in our cars. It’s been good, it’s just a matter of perfecting these cars and getting better each time we are out there.”

Aric Almirola is 100/1 to win at Kansas


Aric Almirola

Kansas Race Advance

Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview


● Event: Buschy McBusch Race 400 (Round 11 of 36)

● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday May 2

● Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City 

● Layout: 1.5-mile oval

● Laps/Miles: 267 laps/400 miles

● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 107 laps

● TV/Radio: FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest

●  History at Kansas: In 18 starts, Almirola has seven top-10 finishes and has led 69 laps. Last year, Almirola finished sixth and 13th in the July and October races at Kansas, respectively. 


●  Last weekend at Talladega, Almirola raced toward the front until a vibration led to multiple pit stops to troubleshoot the issue. It was discovered the vibration was an aerodynamic one caused by a chip in the splitter. Almirola recovered to lead 16 laps in the final stage before securing a 15th-place finish. 


●  In Almirola’s last 10 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, he has earned four top-10 finishes, one top-five and has led 164 laps. 


●  Career Stats: Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 24 top-five finishes, 80 top-10s and 858 laps led in 363 NASCAR Cup Series starts.


●  Smithfield Foods celebrates 10 years of partnership with Almirola this season with a special campaign called Taste Victory.As one of the most active partners in NASCAR, Smithfield plans to engage fans all year long by hosting a microsite that provides the opportunity to win when Almirola wins or finishes inside the top-10. When Almirola wins, one fan wins $10,000, and 10 fans win a gift card for each top-10 finish. The microsite also doubles as an Aric Almirola fan page and entertainment source where fans can get behind the wheel of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with a custom racing game, and learn more about Almirola with fast facts, favorite recipes and custom content about his life on and off the track. Visit to learn more. Thanks to Almirola’s Feb. 11 win in his Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500, one lucky fan has already won $10,000. 


●  Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2021, Almirola continues to share his life beyond the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook.


●  The Smithfield Ford team sits 26th in the championship standings with 159 points, 287 behind leader Denny Hamlin. Almirola is 70 points behind 16th-place Chris Buescher for the final playoff spot. He moved seven points closer to the playoff cutoff line after his 15th place finish at Talladega. 


Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


What is it going to take to break through with a chance to win at the 1.5-mile tracks? 


“We just have to be more racey. We’ve got to be more competitive. I’ve got to be more on offense and less on defense. I feel like our mile-and-a-half program has been off and, because of that, every restart you’re just playing major defense. It’s hard to play offense because the car may not be driving good and doesn’t have a lot of speed in the car and it’s a handful and not as fast as the cars around you. So you’re just playing a lot of defense and, when we’ve been at our best, that’s not been the case. You fire off on every restart and you’re on offense. You’re picking and choosing lanes and putting your car in places where you need it to go to make passes, not to try and block a run or try and play defense. So, that’s one of the things that I hope to see when we get to Kansas, that we’ve made improvements with our cars, that we’ve got speed in it, and not only speed but drivability, and that we’ve got grip in the car to where we can take off and move around the racetrack and hold the throttle down. On these 550 (horsepower) packages on the mile-and-a-half tracks, it is so important to hold the throttle down. Any time you spend off-throttle is detrimental, especially to the competition.”


What are your thoughts when you head to Kansas?


“I’ve always enjoyed Kansas. I know that I did have a really bad accident there, but in my mind I just view that as a bad accident. It just happened at a place. It just so happened to be at Kansas. It could have happened anywhere. I don’t really put that on Kansas and so, every time I’ve been back since then, it’s never really been a thought that’s crossed my mind. I actually enjoy going to Kansas. I have friends in Kansas City who I enjoy spending time with that makes it even more enjoyable to be there and, on top of that, I love the racetrack. The racetrack is a really fun racetrack to run at for me and I’ve had a lot of success there and had a lot of really good runs there.”