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Last Updated Monday, Oct 11, 2010 2:05 am, EDT

Price Chopper 400

Status: Final Kansas Speedway

Race Capsule

Kansas Speedway
  • What:

    Race 29 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS

  • When:

    October 3, 2010 1:16 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    267

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    401.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $6,012,504

Drivers to Watch

Kasey Kahne Kahne finished sixth at Kansas last year for his second top-10 finish in six starts. "We are looking forward to going to Kansas after the last couple of weeks," said Kahne. "We feel good about our intermediate program, and we want to finish the year on a high note." Kahne is leaving the team at the end of the season.
Paul Menard Menard has not fared well at Kansas -- two 27th-place finishes are his best finishes in three starts at the track. "Our mile-and-a-half program has been pretty good and we ran well last weekend in Dover, so I'm looking forward to getting to Kansas this weekend," said Menard.
Jeff Gordon Gordon was the week's biggest dropper as he fell four positions in the standings. The four-time Cup champion is 83 behind the leader, Denny Hamlin, and three behind seventh-place Jeff Burton. Gordon won the first two Cup events at Kansas, in 2001 and 2002, and has six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in nine starts there. He was second last year, continuing a streak of three straight top-five finishes. "Definitely, I love Kansas," Gordon said. "So now we go to Kansas and some other places that I think are much better tracks for us and we've got to capitalize on that. I like Kansas, I know that. I feel like our mile-and-a-half program is really strong this year. When I look at the 10 races in the Chase, Kansas is one that stands out, one that we are looking forward to going to. We ran well at Chicago, and it is probably the closest track to Kansas on the circuit. I just feel like other than Charlotte, we have been really good on the mile-and-a-halves this year. We recognize that we have to get better at Charlotte, but I can't wait to get to Kansas. It has always been a great track for us. I think we won the first two races there. With three top-fives recently, even when we aren't at our best, it seems to be one of our good tracks. I think we are much better this year than we have been the last couple of years."
Joey Logano Logano was 28th last year at Kansas, his best finish in two Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile facility. Logano did win the Nationwide event there in 2009. "Kansas is sort of a question mark on the schedule," said Logano. "Last year was just one of those races you'd like to forget. But we have some momentum going, and hopefully we will carry that with us this weekend."
Greg Biffle Biffle lost another position in the standings and is already 140 points out of the Chase lead and 57 behind eighth-place Jeff Gordon. Biffle drove to victory at Kansas in 2007 and has had other success there as well -- his record is five top-fives and no other top-10s in eight starts. He was third last year, the second consecutive year he finished in that position. "Kansas is a unique track that I have always enjoyed racing at," Biffle said. "I think I enjoy it because I've run well there. We finished third there the last two years and had a win there in 2007, so we know we can get to victory lane there. The last two weekends have not been a great start to the Chase for us, so we really need to get to victory lane to try to make up some of the points. This is a resilient team, though, and we are definitely going to give it all we have until the checkered flag drops at Homestead."
Ryan Newman Newman has one win and two runner-up finishes in nine starts at Kansas. His victory came in 2003. Newman is in the midst of his best streak of 2010 -- he has an average finish of 8.2 in the last five Sprint Cup races. "We're finding consistency, and that's always been a critical factor to attain success," he said.
Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya finished fourth last year at Kansas. "We normally run pretty good on the 1.5-mile tracks," said Montoya. "This is pretty close to Chicago, and we had a decent race there (finishing 16th) earlier this year. We just need to be a little bit better and we can have a real good run this weekend."
Matt Kenseth Kenseth has three top-10 finishes in nine starts at Kansas, including a fifth two years ago when he led 49 laps. "Kansas is a good track, but it's gotten to be a difficult place to pass," said Kenseth. "Our challenge is making sure we can work on the setups to combat the fact that we can get pretty tight due to the aerodynamics of these cars. We're just got to keep building upon what we've learned the past few weeks."
Kurt Busch Busch improved one position in the standings to fourth, 59 points out of the lead and 14 points behind little brother Kyle. Kurt, like Kyle, hasn't fared well at Kansas -- just two top-10 finishes in nine starts. He was ninth in the inaugural race in 2001 and sixth in 2004. He was 11th last year, the second time in three races that he finished 11th at Kansas. "Each race track has its own personality," Busch said. "It could be something that a driver struggles with -- like turn 1 at a specific track that is hard to overcome. Or it could just be (its) basic layout that challenges a team as far as how they find their grip and to get the car handling well. A track like Kansas with the altitude there and the way that things shake up in the Midwest with weather mixture, you never know if the engine has the perfect combination. Kansas is pretty different compared to Texas and Charlotte and Homestead. It's a challenging track. We only race there once a year. There are two tracks that we race at once a year -- Kansas and Homestead. There's that little bit of an uneasy feeling going there if you don't have a solid notebook because you only race there once a year and it's hard to find that speed."
David Ragan Ragan has one top-10 finish in three starts at Kansas. "I'm looking forward to getting back to a 1.5-mile track after all the short tracks we've been to lately," said Ragan. "Kansas is really similar to Chicago, and that was one of our good tracks recently so I expect good things this weekend."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin takes a 35-point lead into Chase race No. 3 at Kansas, where he is attempting to win for the first time. He has just one top-five finish -- fifth in this race last year -- and no other top-10s in five races there. "I think once we get to California is where we're going to get to the tracks that we should be very, very strong," Hamlin said. "At Kansas, I'm looking to have damage control, looking to have that same gap that I had going into the Chase. If I can do that, then I feel like I can race with those guys at California, Charlotte -- all those tracks and beyond. Historically, the last part of the Chase has been our strong point. Kansas is going to be a challenge for us simply because you only go there once a year. What we had last year is not going to work in our car and we know that. We're going to have to go there and basically just start from scratch, and hopefully we hit that setup as good as what we did last year."
Tony Stewart Stewart remained 10th in the standings, but the two-time Cup champion has fallen to 162 points out of the lead. Stewart won at Kansas in 2006 and last year and has four top-five and six top-10 finishes in nine starts, but sandwiched between his two victories were a 39th-place finish in 2007 and a 40th in 2008. Stewart credited crew chief Darian Grubb's decision to take two tires and an "awesome" pit stop at the end of the race as the main reason for his victory last year. "That was really what it boiled down to," Stewart said. "We got that track position at the end, and we had the luxury of being able to pick the inside or outside lane on the restart, and I kind of debated back and forth which side I needed to be on. But I kind of struggled when I was stuck on the bottom on restarts. So I took a gamble and went to the top and got enough of a lead on Kasey (Kahne) to get down to the bottom that by the time we got to (turns) one and two, I was able to run my line. We got enough of a gap right off the bat that it gave me the flexibility to run my own line, run my own pace and let those guys have to worry about catching us. We just kind of ran our pace. When somebody starts running you down, it's easy to overdrive your car trying to maintain a gap, and you end up making it worse on yourself. So even though I saw Jeff (Gordon) getting bigger in the mirror, I didn't want to burn the tires off of it in case we got a caution and we got a green-white-checkered, so we just ran hard enough to not abuse the tires. It's like he could get so close and then he couldn't get any closer. When he got up there, he got tight, and he had to run pretty hard to get by Greg Biffle and then to run us down. By then, he pretty much got the good off his tires and we got the luxury to kind of, on that restart, run our own pace and take care of it and make sure we made it last the whole way."
David Reutimann Reutimann finished eighth a year ago at Kansas for his first top-10 in three starts at the track. "Kansas is a little bit different than most of the intermediate tracks," said crew chief Rodney Childers. "It's really tight in turns three and four, and you really have to get the car turned quick and make it to where it will drive straight off the corner."
Kyle Busch Busch remains third in the standings, 45 points out of first and only 10 points out of second, but his record at Kansas has a left a lot to be desired -- just one top-10 finish, seventh in 2006, in six starts. Since then he has finished 41st, 28th and 12th. "I think championships just kind of solidify how good you are throughout a year and how you're able to beat the best of the best in the weekends that it matters the most -- the bad weekends," Busch said. "You can win all the races you can win throughout your career and stuff and be known for a guy that can go out there and win on a weekend, but to win over the whole year, that's 36 races that you beat everybody else. To be known as a champion is what everybody wants to be known as in this sport. For myself and for Joe Gibbs Racing, that's what we start the year off for is trying to go after the championship. Everybody is always like ... 'Oh well, I hope we can win five races this year.' That's not really what we're looking to do. We're more so concentrated on trying to win a championship."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt has four top-10 finishes in nine starts at Kansas. A year ago, he started second and led 41 laps before his engine failed late in the race. "We had a really good run there last year, and I know Lance (McGrew, his crew chief) and the guys are coming back with something similar," said Earnhardt.
Jimmie Johnson Johnson made the biggest gain in the standings, improving four positions in one week to second, 35 points out of the lead. Johnson won at Kansas in 2008 and also is a three-time pole winner. He has two top-five and six top-10 finishes in eight starts there and was ninth last year, continuing a streak of three straight top-10 finishes at Kansas. "For a mile-and-a-half track, I think that Chicago and Kansas are pretty similar," Johnson said. "In years past, mile-and-a-half tracks have been our bread and butter and have been really good for us. And Kansas has a really cool transition in and off the corners where you can run a second and third lane. It is pretty friendly, and you can search around and try to find a line. The asphalt has aged pretty quickly there, too, which has allowed us to run multiple lanes and move around. So in general, it is a track with options. For a mile-and-a-half race track, it has a lot of options, and I have enjoyed racing there over the years and have been able to get a win there."
Jamie McMurray McMurray finished in the top 10 in his first two Cup starts at Kansas but hasn't finished better than 17th in his last five starts at the track. "Racing at Kansas Speedway is always a bit of a homecoming for me since it's the closest track to my hometown of Joplin, Missouri," said McMurray. "I'd love to get a great finish in front of all my Kansas fans."
Jeff Burton Burton climbed two positions in the Chase and is up to seventh, 80 points out of first place and seven out of sixth. Burton continues the streak of drivers in the Chase who have not won at Kansas. He has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in nine starts. His only top-five was fifth in 2006 and his other top-10 was seventh in 2008. He was 23rd last year. "I like the Kansas race track," Burton said. "It's a fun place to go and I look forward to going there. I feel like this weekend will be our best chance to run well there. To be honest, I don't even know what my stats are there. I don't view Kansas as a place where we don't run well. I view it as a place where we don't have finishes. My focus when we go there is to be as prepared as we can be. Although it's not new, it's one of our newer tracks. Sometimes people adapt to things quicker than others. It may be a track that I just haven't gotten the handle of, but I feel like this will be our best chance to run well there. You can be out of the Chase in three races. You can either be out of it or you can position yourself to win it. Where we'll be, who knows. The reality is we're going to go to Kansas and race the best we know how, no matter what the situation we're in. We hope we're in the position to win a championship. Ten races is a long time. If you're not learning and applying from the first race to the fifth race to the 10th race, you're doing something wrong. Every race is an opportunity for us to learn as a team and as a driver. Hopefully we're there learning something that we can apply to winning a championship. I think you take each race for what it is. You go and race that race and not make it any more important than any other race. There are 10 races and they all pay the same amount of points. You can have a bad race in the beginning, or a bad race at the end, and they still have the same amount of points. You can't get caught up in the chess game of where I am now. It's an accumulation of all those points. That's not to say if you're 12th, 300 points back, you can say that you're going to win a championship. It's not going to happen. You have to be in position."
Kevin Harvick Harvick fell three positions in the standings but is only 65 points out of the lead and six out of fourth place. Harvick is yet another Chase driver who has never won at Kansas or finished in the top five. He has three top-10 finishes -- a trio of sixths in 2003, 2007 and 2008. He was 24th last year. "If we finish fifth every week, we will win," Harvick said of the Chase. "For us, I think we just have to keep doing the things that we did up until this point. We won a few races, had a lot of top-five and top-10 finishes. On the days where we really struggled, I felt like we, for the most part, made something out of those days. It was good enough to lead the points in the first 26 (races), so there is really no reason for us to change our strategy. I feel like the guys have done a great job of getting the cars prepared. We'll see what happens. Whether we win or lose, I think everybody has done everything we can control. We'll just go race now."
Martin Truex Jr. Truex is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Kansas. His best finish in four starts is 11th. "I hope we can run as well this weekend as we did last weekend," said Truex. "We had a great car. We just need a little luck and we can have a real good weekend."
Brad Keselowski Keselowski finished 13th last year in his only Sprint Cup start at Kansas. "Kansas is quite a bit different than some of the traditional mile-and-a-half tracks, like Charlotte and Texas," said Keselowski. "It's really similar to Auto Club Speedway in California. You can run all over the track at Kansas, from the high lane to the low lane."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer has two top-10 finishes in four starts at Kansas, including a second in the 2007 event. "We've always run well during the race almost every time we go to Kansas," said Bowyer. "We had a flat tire last year and ended up going a couple laps down. We're bringing the same car we ran at Chicago to Kansas, and I think we have a great shot at winning." Bowyer finished fourth at Chicago.
Mark Martin Martin won the pole for the Kansas race in 2009 and ended up seventh for his fourth top-10 finish in nine starts at the track. Martin won the 2005 event with a dominating performance, leading 139 laps. "I'm excited to get back to Kansas," said Martin. "I've always liked racing on the intermediate tracks."
AJ Allmendinger Allmendinger has one top-10 finish in two starts at Kansas. "We've got eight more races to go, so we've got a lot of work to do," said Allmendinger, who has started in the top six in the last three races. "I still feel like we can get to the top 16 or 17 (in the standings) and if we keep running like this (his Dover performance), maybe we can sneak a win in there."