Idriver Handicaps:/I Kansas

Who's HOT at Kansas
  • Jeff Gordon is the statistical leader in wins (two), laps led (169) and finishing average (5.0).
  • Ryan Newman has one win and two runner-up finishes and has led 117 laps.
  • Jamie McMurray has finished in the top 10 in the two races he has competed in.
  • Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart each have an 8.5 finishing average, the best among the "Chase" contenders.
  • Joe Nemechek won the Cup pole and both the Cup and Busch races last year.

    Who's NOT
  • Michael Waltrip has a 28.5 finishing average and has yet to lead a lap at Kansas.
  • Ken Schrader has finished 26th or worse in all four starts at Kansas.
  • Sterling Marlin is coming off three consecutive finishes of 33rd or worse at Kansas.

    Who Else to Watch
  • Jeremy Mayfield is coming off three consecutive top-10 finishes at Kansas.
  • Ricky Rudd finished second in this event last year for his third top 10 at Kansas.
  • Kasey Kahne qualified second, led 39 laps and finished 12th in his only start at Kansas.
  • Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch were among the drivers that tested at Kansas last week.
  • Dale Jarrett scored his first win in 98 races last week and will look to continue the magic with Todd Parrott, who helped Elliott Sadler to a fourth-place finish at Kansas in 2004.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers, finished first and fourth, respectively, in July at Chicagoland Speedway – a track similar to Kansas.

    1. Tony Stewart
    Avg. Start: 13.3
    Avg. Finish: 8.5

    Last year, Stewart ended a streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway after he finished 14th. Stewart, who has yet to lead a lap at Kansas, captured his best finish, of fourth, in 2003. This weekend, he will be back in the same car (chassis No. 83) that he captured his emotional victory with in the Brickyard 400. This chassis made its last start (12th overall) at California in September, where it finished fifth.

    Quotable: "There are too many variables out of your control in a plate race. At Kansas, we're back in control. There are still things out there that can screw up your day, but they're minimal when compared to what we dealt with at Talladega."

    2. Ryan Newman
    Avg. Start: 9.5
    Avg. Finish: 9.5

    Newman never finished worse than second in his first three starts at Kansas Speedway, which included a win in 2003. Last year he saw his 1.7 finishing average fall to 9.5 after he hit the wall on lap 208, relegating him to a 33rd-place finish. Kansas is one of seven tracks where Newman has yet to win a pole. He scored his best start of third in 2002.

    Quotable: "The points battle right now is definitely exciting for us, but we're not going to relax. There are seven races left in this thing and anything could happen."

    3. Rusty Wallace
    Avg. Start: 15.8
    Avg. Finish: 8.5

    Wallace finished in the top 10 in his first three starts at Kansas Speedway. In 2001, he led 117 laps en route to a fourth-place finish. The next season, he finished a career-best third. He is currently tied with Tony Stewart for the best finishing average among the "Chase" contenders. Wallace will make his 700th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start this weekend in the same car (PRS-098) that finished 15th at California on Labor Day weekend.

    Quotable: "Having the 700th start at Kansas City makes it even more special. The fact that my career started just down the road in Missouri and this being my final race there in the Midwest where it all began, I'm really pumped up about this weekend."

    4. Jimmie Johnson
    Avg. Start: 2.3
    Avg. Finish: 16.3

    Johnson has competed in the last three races at Kansas Speedway, starting each time in the top five. His best finish of seventh at the track came in 2003, in a race where he started from the pole and led 20 laps. Last year, he finished 32nd with a DNF. The team will bring chassis No. 48339 this weekend. The car was raced at Michigan in June and tested at Kansas last month.

    Quotable: "We felt really good about our test session at Kansas. We think we're going to be in great shape. And we think everything we learned at the test is going to cross over and produce a good finish for us."

    5. Greg Biffle
    Avg. Start: 19.0
    Avg. Finish: 17.0

    This weekend's race marks Biffle's fourth visit to Kansas Speedway. He earned his best Kansas finish of third last season, leading 64 laps at the track. He also earned his best start (sixth) at that event. In his first two starts he finished 36th and 12th, respectively. Biffle will race the same car (chassis No. RK-239) that won the June Michigan race.

    Quotable: "I like racing at Kansas, it's a nice facility and the track suits my driving style. As always, track position will be important so we'll look to qualify well and stay up front."

    6. Carl Edwards
    Avg. Start: 16.0
    Avg. Finish: 22.0

    Last year, Edwards started 16th and finished 22nd in his only start at Kansas Speedway. He will drive a brand new chassis (RK-320) in the Banquet 400. Edwards also has three top-10 finishes in the Truck Series at Kansas, which includes a win in 2004.

    Quotable: "I'm really excited to race at Kansas this week. It's my hometown track so it will be neat having so many family and friends there. I think we have a really good car for this weekend."

    7. Matt Kenseth
    Avg. Start: 23.0
    Avg. Finish: 23.0

    Kenseth has one top-10 finish in four starts at Kansas Speedway. His finishing average is the worst among all "Chase" contenders. He led 14 laps in the 2001 event, which resulted in his only DNF at the track. Kenseth and the Dewalt team will bring a new car (chassis RK-48) to Kansas that was tested last week.

    Quotable: "We are relieved to be finished with Talladega. Our car was really good and we were able to come home with a solid third-place finish. It was disappointing, though, to lose the lead on the last lap and not end up in Victory Lane."

    8. Jeremy Mayfield
    Avg. Start: 17.8
    Avg. Finish: 13.3

    Last year, Mayfield made his best start in four races at Kansas Speedway after qualifying third. He went on to lead 72 laps en route to a fifth-place finish. His best finish of third came in 2003 in a race that saw him lead 37 laps for the first time at the track.

    Quotable: "We're looking forward to Kansas Speedway. Evernham Motorsports as a whole has been really good on the mile-and-a-half tracks."

    9. Mark Martin
    Avg. Start: 22.0
    Avg. Finish: 17.8

    Kansas Speedway is the only track in the "Chase" where Martin has yet to post a top-five finish. His best finish of sixth came in the first race at the track in 2001. Since then he has posted a 25th-place DNF and two 20th-place finishes. The team is bringing a fairly new chassis (RK-315) to Kansas. The only other track where it raced was Dover last month, where it finished fourth.

    Quotable: "I'm definitely looking forward to getting back out on a 1.5 and seeing what we can do. Those types of tracks have been our bread and butter and we are hoping that we can get a strong finish this weekend and see what happens from there."

    10. Kurt Busch
    Avg. Start: 24.0
    Avg. Finish: 21.5

    Busch has two top-10 finishes in four races at Kansas Speedway. Busch's best finish, a sixth in 2004, came after starting 22nd - his third qualifying effort of 21st or worse. The Sharpie paint scheme will make its last run of the season on the same chassis (No. RK-65) that won at Pocono in July.

    Quotable: "It's a very fast race track. They built it almost too fast - similar to Chicago. It was a sister track supposedly to Vegas, but Vegas is flat enough to where you can run any multiple groove you want."

    11. Kevin Harvick
    Avg. Start: 23.5
    Avg. Finish: 17.0

    Last year, Harvick finished 35th at Kansas Speedway, his only DNF in four races. Harvick's best finish of sixth came in 2003. He led his only laps at Kansas in 2002, when he held the No. 29 out front for 48 laps en route to a 11th-place finish. Harvick's crew chief, Todd Berrier, will appeal his two-race suspension after last weekend and will join the team this weekend. The team will be bringing a brand new chassis (No. 151) to the track this weekend.

    12. Jamie McMurray
    Avg. Start: 12.5
    Avg. Finish: 7.5

    On what he considers to be his 'hometown track,' McMurray, who hails from nearby Joplin, Mo., has posted two top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway. In 2004, he finished seventh after starting 10th in a race where he led 19 laps. The team is racing chassis No. 208, which was last raced to an eighth-place finish at the fall California race.

    13. Elliott Sadler
    Avg. Start: 22.8
    Avg. Finish: 21.8

    Last year, Sadler scored his first top 10 at Kansas Speedway with a fourth-place finish. He also led his second and third career lap at the speedway in that event. The 2002 event marked his only other finish (18th) inside the top 20 at Kansas. In 2003, he recorded a DNF, finishing 42nd, after blowing a right front tire and hitting the wall.

    14. Dale Jarrett
    Avg. Start: 11.5
    Avg. Finish: 27.5

    Jarrett's best finish in four races at Kansas Speedway came last season when he finished eighth. It was the first time he finished a race at Kansas after a crash (2001) and engine failures (2003, 2004) knocked him out of the race. The UPS team will drive a new car (chassis No. 58) that was tested at Kentucky twice in the last two weeks.

    15. Joe Nemechek
    Avg. Start: 20.5
    Avg. Finish: 15.5

    Last year at Kansas Speedway, Nemechek experienced one of the best weekends in his racing career. After winning the Busch Series race on Saturday, Nemechek then won the Cup pole position and the Cup race in the same weekend. He became the first driver to win all three in one weekend. He led 41 laps en route to that Cup win, his last one in the series. Previously, his best start of 12th and best finish of fourth came at the track in 2002. His team is bringing the same chassis that they took to both Michigan races this year. The car captured one pole award and a sixth and eighth place finish there.

    16. Jeff Gordon
    Avg. Start: 12.3
    Avg. Finish: 5.0

    Gordon is the statistical leader in wins (two), laps led (169) and finishing average at Kansas Speedway. He led 116 laps in the 2002 race en route to his second of back-to-back victories. Last year's 13th-place finish marked his worst finish at the 1.5-mile speedway.

    17. Brian Vickers
    Avg. Start: 25.0
    Avg. Finish: 19.0

    Vickers will be behind the wheel of chassis No. 294 when he makes his second start at Kansas Speedway. This car previously finished second and 14th, respectively, at Pocono this season.

    18. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Avg. Start: 8.5
    Avg. Finish: 16.5

    Earnhardt Jr. will make his fifth start this weekend at Kansas Speedway. His first start ended in a DNF, his only one at the track. He came back the next year to win the pole and finish sixth, his best finish at the 1.5-mile speedway. In the first three races at the track, Dale Jr. led a total of 22 laps. Besides his best finish, he has one other top-10 finish there. The team is bringing a brand new chassis (No. 38) to the race.

    19. Kyle Busch
    Avg. Start: 34.0
    Avg. Finish: 37.0

    Busch, who will be making his second start at Kansas Speedway, will drive the same car that he finished 10th at Indy with. The car will carry the CARQUEST paint scheme.

    20. Jeff Burton
    Avg. Start: 22.8
    Avg. Finish: 17.0

    Burton will be seeking his first top-10 finish at Kansas Speedway in the same car (chassis No. 155) that finished 35th at California in September.

    21. Kasey Kahne
    Avg. Start: 2.0
    Avg. Finish: 12.0

    Kahne will be making his second Cup appearance at Kansas Speedway this weekend. In his first race, he started second, led 39 laps and finished 12th.

    22. Michael Waltrip
    Avg. Start: 25.5
    Avg. Finish: 28.5

    Waltrip's best finish in four starts at Kansas Speedway is an 11th, which came last season. Prior to that he had two finishes of 38th or worse.

    23. Ricky Rudd
    Avg. Start: 17.3
    Avg. Finish: 8.8

    Last season, Rudd captured his best finish at Kansas Speedway after finishing second to race winner Joe Nemechek. It was his second top five and third top 10 in four starts.

    24. Bobby Labonte
    Avg. Start: 12.5
    Avg. Finish: 21.0

    Since his first start at Kansas Speedway in 2001 when he posted a DNF, Labonte has continued to improve his finishes, scoring his best finish of 16th last year after starting fifth. The year before he led two laps at the track. The team will bring chassis No. 114. This car has never been raced.

    25. Casey Mears
    Avg. Start: 16.5
    Avg. Finish: 27.5

    In two starts at Kansas Speedway, Mears has started both times outside the top 10 and finished both times outside the top 20. His best finish of 24th came in 2003. Last year, he led 14 laps after starting 21st. While running fourth with 70 laps to go in that event, his right-front tire blew, relegating him to a 31st-place finish. The team will bring chassis No. 206 to Kansas. The car will be making its seventh appearance for the season. Most recently, the team took it to California in September. It will feature a special pink Breast Cancer Research paint scheme for the second race in a row.

    27. Sterling Marlin
    Avg. Start: 20.8
    Avg. Finish: 26.5

    Kansas Speedway hadn't been too kind to Marlin up until last season when he finished fifth. In his first three starts at the 1.5-mile speedway, he posted three consecutive DNFs with finishes of 33rd or worse.

    RacingOne Staff Picks:

    Pete Pistone: Ryan Newman
    Rick Benjamin: Greg Biffle
    Ron Lemasters: Tony Stewart
    Jeff Wackerlin: Brian Vickers

    Jeff (Greg Biffle-California, Kevin Harvick-Bristol, Jeff Gordon-Martinsville, Tony Stewart-Daytona, Ryan Newman-New Hampshire)
    Rick (Jeff Gordon-Talladega, Greg Biffle-Michigan, Kurt Busch-Richmond)
    Ron (Tony Stewart-Infineon, Tony Stewart-Indianapolis, Tony Stewart-Watkins Glen)
    Pete Zip, Zero, Nada

    Banquet 400
    Kansas Speedway

    TV: NBC, 1:30 p.m. (ET).
    Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
    Race length: 267 Laps, 400 miles.

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