NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Monday, Oct 17, 2005 1:15 am, EDT

Banquet 400

Status: Final Kansas Speedway

Race Capsule

Kansas Speedway
  • What:

    Race 30 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS

  • When:

    October 9, 2005 2:10 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    401.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Matt Kenseth The 2003 series champion has been one of the hottest drivers on the circuit since mid-August, recording five finishes of third or better in the last seven events; continued that run with a third in Talladega last week, helping him regain two of the four spots he lost after an accident saddled him with a 35th in Dover two weeks ago; is seventh in the standings, 111 points off the pace; also ran third in the opener of the "Chase" in New Hampshire; managed just one top-10 in the final 10 events last year and began this season with only one top-10 in the first 12 races; ran 17th in this event last year and has managed just one top-10 in four career starts here.
Carl Edwards In his first full season in the premier series, is sixth in the standings as one of five Roush Racing drivers in championship contention; was one of few drivers to avoid the two major wrecks last week in Talladega and finished fifth; was his second straight top-10 after beginning the "Chase" with a 19th in New Hampshire; has recorded nine top-fives this season, including victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway; the native of Columbia, Missouri, which is 120 miles from Kansas City, will be making his second career Nextel Cup series start on his home track; ran 22nd here last year in his eighth career start; won a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on this track in 2003.
Greg Biffle Climbed a spot to fifth in the standings despite finishing 18 laps down in 27th last week at Talladega; is 98 points off the pace set by Tony Stewart; after opening the "Chase" with a fourth in New Hampshire on September 18, ran 13th in Dover the following week to end a streak of five finishes of sixth or better and tumble four standings places; tied with Stewart with five victories this season but has not visited victory lane since June 5 at Dover; entered 2005 with three career triumphs, including last year's finale; led 64 laps en route to a third in this event last year, the highest finish among this season's championship contenders.
Tony Stewart Reclaimed the top spot in the standings following a runner-up finish in Talladega last week; led 65 laps but was passed by Dale Jarrett just before the caution came out on the final lap; was his circuit-high 20th top 10 and 14th top-five of the season, vaulting him four spots in the standings; also held a late lead in the first race of the "Chase" before settling for second behind Newman; has run in the top 10 in all but one of the last 15 events, a stretch that included all five of his 2005 victories in a seven-race span; leads the circuit with 14 top-fives and 20 top-10s and is tied with Biffle for the series lead with five wins; has yet to lead a lap in Kansas but has posted three top-10s, including a fourth in 2003, in the four previous events here; the 2002 series champion needs one more victory to match his career high set in 2000.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion has plenty of work to do in order to become the NASCAR driver with back-to-back titles since Jeff Gordon in 1997-98; is bringing up the rear among championship contenders, 180 points off the pace; ran eighth in Talladega last week after finishing 35th and 23rd in the first two events of the "Chase"; finished in the top 10 in all but one of the final 10 races last year, including a sixth in this event; tied for third on the circuit with three victories this season, with the most recent coming in Richmond to move him into fifth in the standings on the eve of the "Chase."
Ryan Newman Has put together arguably his best three-race stretch of the season since becoming the final driver to secure a spot in the "Chase"; ran fourth last week in Talladega on the heels of a fifth in Dover and his first checkered flag of the season in New Hampshire; is second in the standings, just four points behind front-running Stewart; won this race in 2003 and is the only championship-eligible driver with a premier series victory here; leads the circuit with six poles this season after claiming the most poles in each of the previous three campaigns; qualified seventh for this event last year before winning four consecutive poles; ranks third among "Chase" drivers with a 9.5 average finish here and has led at least one lap in three of the four events on this track; hoping to rebound from a accident-induced 33rd here last year: "Last year at Kansas, the Alltel Dodge was incredible once again, but we ended up in the wall instead of victory lane. That was a hard one to swallow. We really missed our chance of getting another win there last year. We're not going to let that happen this year."
Emerged relatively unscathed in last week's UAW-Ford 400, finishing 14th; fell a spot to eighth in the standings, only one point behind seventh-place Kenseth; has one top-10 during the "Chase" - a seventh in Dover two weeks ago; took the checkered flag in Michigan on August 21 for his first victory since a dramatic triumph in Richmond last year that vaulted him from 14th to ninth just in time to make the inaugural "Chase"; struggled thereafter with only one top-five over the final 10 races of 2004 - a fifth in this event; also ran third in his event in 2003 and is looking for continued success at this 1 1/2-mile oval: "We're looking forward to Kansas Speedway. Evernham Motorsports as a whole has been really good on the mile-and-a-half tracks. We started third there last year and ran in the top three the majority of the race and ended up with a top-five finish."
Mark Martin Four-time series runner-up fell five spots to ninth in the standings after getting the worst of an early seven-car crash at Talladega last week; was relegated to a 41st-place finish, knocking him back to his lowest place in the standings since he was 12th after a 28th in the Coca-Cola 600 in May; has recorded 14 top-10s and seven top-fives this season but has not recorded a victory in a points race since June 6, 2004 at "The Monster Mile"; did win the non-points Nextel All-Star Challenge in May; the 46-year-old, who will be returning for the 2006 season before Jamie McMurray assumes his spot in the No. 6 Dodge Charger in 2007, ran 20th in this race last year - his worst result in the inaugural "Chase."
Jimmie Johnson Was to blame for the first of two major crashes at Talladega last week and finished 31st to fall from first to fourth in the standings; initially denied being the root of a seven-car accident on lap 20 but assumed responsibility after seeing replays of his Chevrolet running into Elliott Sadler's Ford; also was involved in an accident in this event last year, saddling him with a 32nd and dropping him to 247 points behind front-running Kurt Busch; proceeded to post six straight finishes of sixth or better, including four victories, to conclude the season just eight points off the pace in the closest finish in stock car racing history; also was runner-up to Matt Kenseth in the 2003 campaign; tied for third with three victories this season, including the second race of the "Chase" at Dover.
In his final season on the circuit, the 49-year-old is third in the standings, 76 points off the pace; will be making his 700th career start on Sunday in search of his 56th career victory and first since April 18, 2004 at Martinsville; finished 25th last week in Talladega, matching his third-worst result of the season; had run sixth in the opener of the "Chase" and third the following week in Dover for his second-highest finish of 2005; has run 15th or better in all but two of the last 18 events; has an 8.5 average finish at this track; a native of St. Louis, is happy start No. 700 - 10th all-time - is coming in nearby Kansas City: "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. Kansas is at the top of the list of my favorite new tracks and I'm really eager to get back there."