NSCS: STP 400 from Kansas preview

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Information:

Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012

Location: Kansas Speedway

Time: 1 p.m. EST

Distance: 267 laps/ 400.5 miles

Broadcast: TV— Fox with broadcast starting at 12:30 p.m. EST

Radio—MRN

Analysis:

The two races at Kansas Speedway in 2011 were about as different as the two winners that won them.

Brad Keselowski won the first race, the very first Kansas NASCAR Sprint Cup series race to be held at Kansas before the month of September, on a daring fuel mileage stretch. Despite having his partner lead the most laps, Keselowski didn’t take the lead until there were only eight laps left.

It only took those eight laps for Keselowski to drive to victory, but Keselowski had to conserve gas to find victory lane.

When the series returned to the tack for its more traditional October chase race date, it was five time Sprint Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson that won the race. Unlike Keselowski in June, Johnson dominated the October race and didn’t have to worry about fuel at the end of the race.

Instead of fuel, Johnson had to survive a green-white-checkered finish and a hard charging Kasey Kahne to win the race.

In June, Keselowski had to hold off hard charges from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win.

For Keselowski, his June victory was just the second of his career, and it would prove to be the start of an impressive streak that jolted Keselowski from a lower teens points driver to an eventual wild-card driver in the chase.

Johnson’s win in October was just the second, and ultimately, the last of his 2011 season.  That win was the 55th of his career.

In June, there were only five cautions that lasted 22 laps, and towards the end there were a lack of cautions, that ultimately set up the long green flag run at the end that allowed Keselowski to drive to the win.

Johnson’s race win in October was less about strategy and more about the car. Johnson started that race in 19th, but it took him just 24 laps to drive to the lead. Johnson led the most laps in October and clearly had one of the better cars that weekend.

Keselowski’s win, however, was heavily reliant on race strategy and less about having a strong car, although Kurt Busch, Keselowski’s teammate did have the strongest car for most of the race.

When it comes to Kansas, it can be hard to predict what type of race it’ll be. It could be like June and come down to fuel mileage, or it could come down to whoever has the strongest car and can find their way to the lead.

By the Numbers:

  • 25th—the furthest back a Kansas winner has started. (Brad Keselowski in June 2011)
  • 11th—the average starting position (rounded up) of a Kansas winner.
  • 7— the number of wins that Chevrolet has at Kansas (leads all manufacturers)
  • 4—the number of wins that Rick Hendrick drivers have at Kansas Speedway, leads all car owners.
  • 4—also the number of drivers that are tied with most wins at Kansas (Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart all have two wins at the mile and a half track.)
  • 2— the number of times that a pole winner has won at Kansas. (Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Joe Nemechek in 2004)
  • 0—the number of wins that Toyota has in the Sprint Cup series at Kansas.

Fantasy Drivers:

“A” drivers:  Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart

“B” drivers: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, A.J. Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer

“C” drivers: David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Aric Almirola

Entry List:

  1. Jamie McMurray
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Kasey Kahne
  4. Marcos Ambrose
  5. David Reutimann
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Sam Hornish Jr.
  8. Casey Mears
  9. Tony Stewart
  10. Clint Bowyer
  11. Greg Biffle
  12. Matt Kenseth
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Mike Bliss
  15. Joey Logano
  16. A.J. Allmendinger
  17. Scott Riggs
  18. Jeff Gordon
  19. Josh Wise
  20. Paul Menard
  21. Kevin Harvick
  22. David Stremme
  23. Jeff Burton
  24. Reed Sorenson
  25. TBA
  26. David Ragan
  27. Dave Blaney
  28. David Gilliland
  29. Ryan Newman
  30. Juan Pablo Montoya
  31. Aric Almirola
  32. Bobby Labonte
  33. Jimmie Johnson
  34. J.J. Yeley
  35. Kurt Busch
  36. Mark Martin
  37. Martin Truex Jr.
  38. Tony Raines
  39. Regan Smith
  40. Tim Andrews
  41. Landon Cassill
  42. Joe Nemechek
  43. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  44. Travis Kvapil
  45. Michael McDowell
  46. Carl Edwards

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