NASCAR heads to Kansas for the first of two races at the intermediate track this season. Who can prevail on Sunday and win on a short week?
The NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Kansas this weekend with just two races remaining until the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro. The drivers have a shorter week to work with ahead of Sunday’s race due to last Sunday’s Dover rainout, which resulted in a chaotic race on Monday.
For starters, Martin Truex Jr. took the win, ending his 54-race winless streak and getting a big confidence booster after being so close to victory lane several times during his drought. A late call to take two tires at his final pit stop paid off as he fended off Ross Chastain in the last eight laps. Though Chastain was a factor in the end, it was what he did earlier in the race that drew major attention.
Ross Chastain strikes again
On Lap 81, while running in fourth, Chastain was navigating through lapped traffic and rear-ended Brennan Poole, who then spun up the track and into Kyle Larson, who was just behind in fifth. The move ruined Larson’s day and prevented him from fighting for a win that he was certainly in the mix for. Chastain admitted on his team radio that the hard contact was accidental, but that didn’t appease Poole, Larson, and many others who are aware of Chastain’s reputation for these types of incidents.
Poole said he “felt like he got ran over” when speaking to reporters after the crash. He added that the incident was “a joke” and in his post-race interview said that Chastain “needs to get his butt whooped.” Chastain apologized to Poole and Rick Ware Racing during his post-race interview, but Poole has yet to directly comment on the incident since then.
Later in the race as Chastain was lapping Larson, the Hendrick driver blocked him as much as he could, but he didn’t retaliate for the earlier hit. Heading into this weekend, there is certainly some bad blood, so be alert if Larson and Chastain are running close again on Sunday.
"That was a little too aggressive in my opinion."- Rusty Wallace https://t.co/5SMW0NEyPG pic.twitter.com/BKjnHgjTN4
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 1, 2023
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval located in Kansas City, Kansas. The track first held a NASCAR Cup Series race in 2001. It had one race per year on the schedule until 2010. Starting in 2011, it appeared twice annually on the NASCAR schedule. Five drivers (Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin) are tied for the most wins at the track with three, while six drivers have two wins.
Last year, the N0. 45 car won both races at Kansas Speedway. In the spring, Kurt Busch rode it to victory lane, while Bubba Wallace grabbed the win in the fall after Busch’s season-ending injury.
Sunday’s race will be 267 laps covering 400 miles. Stage 1 will be the first 80 laps of the race while Stage 2 will be the next 85 laps. Stage 3 will consist of the final 102 laps of the race. The forecast this weekend calls for temperatures in the low-90s with partly cloudy skies across the weekend, so we’ll hopefully avoid a rainout like we saw last week at Dover.
A new points leader has appeared in the standings, so let’s take a look at the top 10 heading into the weekend.
- Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing – 370 points
- Christopher Bell*, Joe Gibbs Racing – 367 points
- Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing – 332 points
- Martin Truex Jr.*, Joe Gibbs Racing – 330 points
- Ryan Blaney, Team Penske – 326 points
- Tyler Reddick*, 23X1 Racing – 319 points
- Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing – 317 points
- Kyle Busch*, Richard Childress Racing – 306 points
- Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing – 303 points
- Kyle Larson*, Hendrick Motorsports – 300 points
*= 2023 race winner
Last week’s prediction of a Kyle Larson win ran into a Ross Chastain problem, so let’s hope we don’t run into that again. That said, I’m going with Martin Truex Jr. to make it back-to-back wins. He finally got a win after a 54-race winless streak and I think his ability to drive freely with a win under his belt will net him two wins in six days at Kansas this weekend.
- Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing
- Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports
- Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing
- Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing
- Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
How To Watch – NASCAR at Kansas (All times ET)
- Practice: Saturday, May 6 – 5:05 p.m. – FS1
- Qualifying: Saturday, May 6 – 5:50 p.m. – FS1
- Advent Health 400: Sunday, May 7 – 3:00 p.m. – FS1 (Green flag at 3:15 p.m.)