NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Kansas Speedway
NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: AdventHealth 400
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 15
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,117,591
TV: FS1, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: SRS Distribution 250
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 21
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,630,383
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250 miles (167 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Heart Of America 200
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 14
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $716,932
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)
NASCAR Cup Series
Kansas Speedway sets the stage for the NASCAR Cup Series
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and the introduction of the Next Gen car are a quarter of the way through the 36-race schedule, and already the competition has produced eight different pole winners and 10 different race winners – making this season tied with the 2001, 2014 and 2019 seasons for second-most race winners through 12 races in the Modern Era (1972-Present); behind 2000, 2003 with 11 different winners. Now the series turns its attention to Kansas Speedway for this Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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 September 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 32 NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway; one event from 2001 – 2010 and two races per year since 2011. The 32 Cup Series races have produced 16 different pole winners and 16 different race winners (2001-2021).
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads the series in poles at Kansas Speedway with five (fall 2013, 2014 sweep, spring 2018, spring 2019).
This weekend, six of the 16 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas pole winners are active this weekend.
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 16 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas winners are active.
This weekend’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway is scheduled for 267 laps (400 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage is 80 laps, the second stage is 85 laps and the final stage will be 102 laps.
The NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity at Kansas Speedway is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 14 with practice from 5 – 5:35 p.m. ET directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 5:35 p.m. ET – both events will be televised on FS1.
Hendrick Motorsports looks to win third consecutive race on 1.5-mile track this season
Next up for the NASCAR Cup Series is the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway, this Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The series is a quarter of the way through the 36-race season and Kansas marks the third time in 2022 the Next Gen car will compete on a 1.5-mile speedway. The previous two 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule this season were won by Hendrick Motorsports drivers – Alex Bowman (Las Vegas) and William Byron (Atlanta) – and this weekend at Kansas the organization will look to keep the streak alive and get their third win of the year.
Hendrick Motorsports won the first two NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway with NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002). The organization actually leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Kansas with eight victories among four drivers: Jeff Gordon (three: 2001, 2002 and 2014), Jimmie Johnson (three: 2008, 2011 and 2015), Chase Elliott (one: Playoffs 2018) and Kyle Larson (one: Playoffs 2021).
2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Kyle Larson, is the most recent NASCAR Cup Series winner at Kansas Speedway, taking the checkered flag in last season’s Playoff race.
Kansas offers one last chance before Texas to earn a spot in the All-Star Race
This weekend at Kansas Speedway is the last chance for a driver to win their way into the 2022 All-Star Race by virtue of a points-paying race victory before the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the special event next weekend.
Drivers eligible for the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race consist of:
- Cup Series drivers who have earned a points-paying race victory in either 2021 or 2022.
- Previous NASCAR All-Star Race winners who are competing full-time this season.
- Previous NASCAR Cup Series champions who are competing full-time this season.
Drivers who currently have clinched a starting spot (through Darlington) and making return visits to the NASCAR All-Star Race are AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Cindric and Bubba Wallace.
After Kansas this weekend, drivers who have not already secured their spot in the All-Star race will have four more shots at Texas next weekend. The NASCAR Open will immediately precede the NASCAR All-Star Race and will consist of three stages (20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps). Each segment winner will advance to the NASCAR All-Star Race as will the winner of the Fan Vote. Fans can vote for their favorite driver who has not qualified for the NASCAR All-Star Race by visiting NASCAR.com for details.
Joey Logano adds name to the Playoffs; 10th different driver to win this season
Team Penske’s Joey Logano was not going to be denied the win last weekend at Darlington Raceway as he shoved William Byron out of the way in the closing laps of the race. Logano grabbed his first series win at Darlington, first of the 2022 season and 28th of his NASCAR Cup Series career. The win also cemented Logano in the postseason joining his rookie teammate Austin Cindric who clicked his ticket to the Playoffs with his season-opening win in the Daytona 500. Logano is the 10th different winner this season, leaving just six spots still up for grabs in the Playoffs.
This season is the 11th consecutive year in the NASCAR Cup Series Logano has put up a victory (2012-2022). Through 12 races this season, he has amassed one win (Darlington), four top fives and six top 10s. He is currently fourth in the driver standings, 79 points behind Chase Elliott in the standings lead.
Logano heads to Kansas Speedway this weekend as one of the eight former winners in the field. Logano has made 25 series starts at Kansas posting two poles, three wins, eight top fives and 10 top 10s.
Winless winners a quarter of the way through 2022
A quarter of the way through the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and 15 drivers are riding winless streaks that date back to prior to the start of the year and three of the 15 are former Kansas Speedway winners heading into Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
NASCAR Cup Series Drivers On A Winless Streak That Started Prior To 2022
Among the three drivers that have previously won at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series currently riding a winless streak that dates back before the start of 2022, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick has the longest winless streak to overcome this weekend at 55 races; dating back to Bristol Motor Speedway in 2020. But Kansas is one of his best tracks. In 32 starts, he has put up a series leading five poles, tied for the series-most wins at three and also has 12 top fives and 19 top 10s. He also leads every single pre-race Loop Data category at Kansas – Average Finish of 7.750, series-best, Average Running Position of 8.529, series-best, Driver Rating of 109.9, series-best, 649 Fastest Laps Run, series-best, 6,126 Laps in the Top 15 (82.3%), series-most, and 1,124 Quality Passes, series-most.
Next on the list of former Kansas winners riding a large winless streak is RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski, who hasn’t won in the series since Talladega (April) last season – 38 races ago. Keselowski is hoping to get his first win with his new team – RFK Racing. Keselowski has made 24 series starts at Kansas posting one pole, two wins, seven top fives and 13 top 10s.
Martin Truex Jr. is the third different driver to formerly win at Kansas and is currently riding a winless streak that dates back to prior to the start of the season. Truex’s last win was at Richmond Raceway last season (Sept.) – 20 races ago. Now the New Jersey native returns to Kansas to snap his winless streak. Truex has made 27 series starts at Kansas posting two poles, two wins, nine top fives and 14 top 10s.
Loop Metrics loving the Next Gen car
A quarter of the way through the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and the Next Gen car has producing some great racing and the stats back it up.
The Next Gen car has produced some close, action-packed competition. Looking at the racing at the front of the field, with the exception of Richmond, every race (i.e. all but one of the NASCAR Cup Series 12 races thus far) has had a tighter gap between the car leading the race and the car running in second – not just at the checkered flag, but throughout the entire race. In fact, the Median Time Differential Between 1st and 2nd in 2022 is just half of what it was in the previous five-year average of races at these same tracks (0.6 seconds vs. 1.2 seconds).
Not only are the competitors much tighter throughout an event, but it’s never been closer at the finishes too. The average Margin of Victory of the first 12 races of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is 0.420-second, the closest average Margin of Victory through the first 12 races of a season since advent of electronic scoring in 1993. The next closest margin of victory was 2014 with 0.651-second. Plus, the first 12 races of the 2022 season have produced a Cup Series record of 10 races concluding with a Margin of Victory of less than a second.
On top of all that, the level of competition at the front of the pack has been raised as well. The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 637 green flag passes for the lead; the series-most through the first 12 races of a season since the Loop Data statistic was initially tabulated in 2007 (the last 16 seasons).
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: 2022 AdventHealth 400 – Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend’s event.
Joey Logano vs. William Byron
This matchup almost writes itself, as Logano put Byron into a wall to secure his first win of the season at Darlington. Joey called it revenge for Byron allegedly pushing him up the track earlier in the race, but nonetheless Byron was none too pleased with how the final lap of the race went down. Byron’s car fell off quick in the last five laps, and Joey took advantage – closing a one-second gap in that span. Byron had plenty to say about Logano’s move in his post-race interviews, calling him a moron and saying that, “he does this stuff all the time.” We expect these two to get tangled up again this season, so Byron will get his first chance at bettering Logano this week. He only has one top-five finish here, but given his consistency, he’ll be a driver to watch out for as he looks to secure his third win of the season. Logano, on the other hand, heads to one of his stronger tracks, with a win and two top fives in his last eight races at Kansas.
Kyle Larson vs. Denny Hamlin
One could argue that these two had the fastest cars at “The Lady in Black” last week, but both had disappointing finishes. Larson finished last in the race after his engine blew as he was battling back in the top 10 from an early spin. Hamlin had to start from the rear of the field but worked himself all the way up to the lead with 70 laps left. Another mistake in the pits, this time a gun malfunctioning on his lug nut, put Hamlin in the 18th position on a restart. From there, he got caught up in a big wreck that ended his chances of winning. Looking to this weekend, Kansas has been a friendly track to both of these drivers. Hamlin has posted two wins in his last eight races, while Larson is coming off a dominating win in the most recent race there. Can either of these drivers find some good luck and get themselves their second win of the season this week? If they both can, you can expect a thrilling battle for the checkered flag between two championship contenders.
Aric Almirola vs. Erik Jones
Erik Jones was fast once again at one of his best tracks last week at Darlington. He was contending in the top five all day until late trouble halted his chances at his first win of the season. Almirola took a different approach in racing to an 11th-place finish. He was his usual self, racing clean and smart, ultimately finding himself in contention later in the race. Almirola seems to find himself in or near the top 10 every week, no matter what kind of track they are at. As Jones leaves Darlington disappointed his hot rod didn’t post a better result, he heads to Kansas, where he owns three top fives in his last eight races. Both of these drivers have shown they have a fast car this year and will be looking to put all the pieces of the puzzle together this week.
Kevin Harvick vs. Tyler Reddick
If this race was two years ago, Harvick would be the odds-on favorite for the race at Kansas. He has been nothing less than dominant at one of his favorite tracks. He owns a win and five top fives in his last eight races here. While he hasn’t broke through for his first win yet this year, he has been consistently improving off a slow start. Coming off a fourth-place finish at Darlington, he has the momentum he needs to prevail at one of his best tracks. Tyler Reddick had another week where he so easily could have won, but ultimately finished second. It’s been a theme that Reddick would like to forget in search of his first career win in the NASCAR Cup Series. Both of these drivers will be hungry to find a much needed checkered flag on Sunday.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier conquers Darlington once again
JR Motorsport’s driver Justin Allgaier was riding a 34-race winless streak before last weekend’s race at Darlington Raceway, but after a dominant performance at the 1.366-mile track the veteran has now made his way back to Victory Lane and in the process clinched his spot in the 2022 Xfinity Series Playoffs.
It was only a matter of time before Allgaier posted his 17th series win considering his runner-up finish the week before in Dover and his four consecutive top-10 finishes at the start of the season. His history at Darlington Raceway (one win, four top fives and nine top 10s in 13 starts) only added to his odds.
Allgaier will have this weekend off to soak up his Darlington win before returning to the track at Texas Motor Speedway for the SRS Distribution 250 on May 21 at 1:30 p.m. ET (FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) where he posted two top-five finishes in last season’s races.
Xfinity Playoff Bubble: Fewer and fewer spots available
Seven drivers have already clinched their spots in this season’s Playoffs with their respective wins – Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill – leaving just five spots left with 15 races to go in the regular season.
Although yet to post a win this season, JR Motorsport’s Sam Mayer currently sits in the eighth-place position with a 69-point cushion ahead of the Playoff cutoff. Mayer has had a top-five finish in all but one of the last six races this season and could very well work his way to a win joining JRM teammates Gragson, Allgaier and Berry.
In the ninth-place position is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst who is 54 points ahead of the cutline. Just one point shy in the 10th-place position is RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg who is 53 points up on the Playoff cutline. Sieg has posted one top five and seven top 10s in 11 starts this season.
Rounding out the last two slots in the current Playoff outlook are Landon Cassill (+35) and defending series champion Daniel Hemric (+22).
Just outside the postseason cutoff is driver of No. 23 Our Motorsports Chevrolet, Anthony Alfredo (-22). The 23-year-old has yet to post a series win, but he’s posted one top five, three top 10s and eight top 15s this season.
Alfredo is the only driver outside the Playoff cutline currently within striking distance of the postseason. Jeb Burton (-62), Sheldon Creed (-68), Brett Moffitt (-72), Brandon Brown (-80), Myatt Snider (-127) and Jeremy Clements (-127) are all more than 60 points back from Daniel Hemric in the 12th and final Playoff transfer position.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: Hill opens up points lead
Not much has changed for this season’s rookies in these first 11 races, except Austin Hill continues to open up his points lead on his rookie competitors.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill still leads the way in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings after posting one win (Daytona), four top fives and five top 10s on the season. Hill is the only rookie with a win this season. Hill currently holds an 84-point lead over his RCR teammate and fellow rookie Sheldon Creed.
Although Sheldon Creed suffered some engine trouble early on in last weekend’s race at Darlington that left him in last place, he remains in second in the battle for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. He’s posted five top 10s this season and currently sits in 15th-place in the series driver standings.
Kyle Sieg is third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie standings following Darlington; 203 points back from Austin Hill. Sieg has posted a best finish of 16th (Las Vegas) this season. He’s ineligible for the Playoffs as he isn’t competing full time in the series but racked up 99 points in his eight starts this season.
Jesse Iwuji has posted four starts this season and has accumulated 24 points he is currently ranked fourth in the rookie standings.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Camping World Truck Series prepares to race ‘under the lights’ at Kansas Speedway
The 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season has lifted off with a plethora of robust competition producing six different winners in the first seven races. Now the Truck competitors set their sights on Kansas Speedway for the Heart of Americas 200 the eighth race of the season this Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway has hosted 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, dating back to the inaugural event on July 7, 2001. The first Camping World Truck Series race at Kanas was won by Ricky Hendrick driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.
The 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway have produced 15 different pole winners and 19 different race winners.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. leads the series in poles at Kansas with three. ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton is the only active driver this weekend with a series pole at Kansas (2019).
Kyle Busch (2014, 2017, 2021) and Matt Crafton (2013, 2015, 2020) are tied for the NASCAR Camping World Truck series-most wins at Kansas Speedway with three each. Crafton is the only active driver this weekend that has won at Kansas.
Camping World Truck Series practice will run from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET, directly followed by Cometic Gaskets Pole Qualifying at 1:30 p.m. ET – both events will be televised on FS1.
John Hunter Nemechek gets first win of 2022; locks into Playoffs
Kyle Busch Motorsport’s driver John Hunter Nemechek grabbed his first win of the 2022 season last weekend at Darlington Raceway. The big victory helped him jump three spots in the championship driver standings – from fifth to second – and in the process joined his KBM teammate Chandler Smith by securing his spot in the Playoffs.
Nemechek is the fourth different driver to secure his spot in the Playoffs by virtue of a win this season joining Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes and Chandler Smith.
Currently, Nemechek sits runner-up in the series driver standings; 30 points back from Ben Rhodes in the lead. Nemechek’s season has started off slow in comparison to last year where at this time he had already won two of his five victories. This season, Nemechek had put up one win and four top fives in seven starts. He also has led the second-most laps with 154 laps out front (16.74%) just behind Rhodes with most at 166 laps in the lead (18.04%).
Watch for Nemechek to try to make it back-to-back wins this weekend at Kansas now that he has kicked open the gate to Victory Lane this season. Nemechek has made four Truck Series starts at Kansas collecting three top-five finishes. He finished fifth in this race last season.
Playoff Bubble: Kansas Speedway the halfway point of regular season
Kansas Speedway marks the eighth race on the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and the halfway point of the 16-race regular season. This year has been a feverish pace with four different drivers locking themselves into the postseason by virtue of wins, leaving just six spots left up for grabs.
Following Darlington, Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Ben Rhodes (Bristol), Chandler Smith (Las Vegas) and John Hunter Nemechek (Darlington) have all earned a spot in the Playoffs with their wins.
Heading into Kansas, Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen currently sits fifth in the Playoff outlook, the highest ranked driver without a win this season. Friesen is currently 75 points up on the post season cutline. Kansas has been a bit of a struggle for Friesen in the past. In six starts at Kansas he has just one top-five finish (2018). He finished 14th in this race last season.
The other five drivers above the Playoff cutline are Carson Hocevar (+56 points above postseason cutline), Ty Majeski (+54), Christian Eckes (+52), Grant Enfinger (+35) and Tanner Gray (+21).
Tyler Ankrum is the first driver outside the Playoff cutoff, 21 points behind Tanner Gray in the 10th and final postseason transfer position. Ankrum is hoping to make some points up on his competitors this weekend at Kansas, his only career victory came at a similarly shaped 1.5-mile track – Kentucky Speedway. Ankrum has made five starts at Kansas posting a best finish of 11th in 2019.
Of the drivers below the Playoff cutline heading into this weekend at Kansas, expect the spotlight to be shining the brightest on ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton. The veteran two-time series champion is currently outside postseason cutline, 23 points behind Tanner Gray in 10th.
Looking to Kansas, Crafton is the only driver in the series to compete in all 23 of the previous Kansas Speedway races. He also is the only former Kansas Speedway winner entered this weekend; he has three victories (2013, 2015, 2020) at the 1.5-mile speedway.
First-time winners happen at Kansas Speedway
First-time winners are always fun to see, and Kansas Speedway has been producing them since the 1.5-mile track opened its gates to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2001 with Ricky Hendrick winning the inaugural event.
Five of the 19 different NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kansas Speedway winners were first-time winners in the series (26.3%). The most recent was Niece Motorsport’s Ross Chastain who grabbed his first Camping World Truck Series win in 2019.
Of the 35 drivers entered this weekend at Kansas Speedway, 22 different drivers are looking for their first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Jesse Iwuji returns to the Trucks – Reaume Brothers Racing has tapped Jesse Iwuji to pilot the No. 43 Toyota this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Iwuji will be paired with crew chief Gregory Rayl. Iwuji will be attempting to make series season debut this weekend. Iwuji last raced in the series on October 30, 2021 at Martinsville Speedway.
Iwuji made his series track debut at Kansas in 2021; he started 38th and finished 38th.
Deegan back to where it started in the Trucks – Hailie Deegan returns to Kansas Speedway, the track where she made her Camping World Truck Series debut back in 2020. Deegan busted on the scene of the Truck in 2020 at Kansas starting 34th and racing her way up to a 16th-place finish setting a new record for best finish by a female making her series debut.
Fast forward to this season, Deegan is 28th in points having put up an average finish of 26.4 through seven races.
Watch for Deegan to bounce back this weekend from her slow start to 2022. Kansas is one her better tracks. In two starts at the 1.5-mile facility she has put up an average finish of 14.5. And last season tied Jennifer Jo Cobb (2014) for the best finish by a female at Kansas Speedway in the Truck Series with her 13th-place finish.
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