After a difficult, frustrating week at Dover for many drivers, the Cup circuit heads to one of the most forgiving tracks on the schedule in Kansas Speedway. One of the newest tracks in the series, this speedy oval has proved to be one of the most thrilling. The races here have been selling out since it's inaugural race ten years ago, and it should come as no surprise that side-by-side racing is the norm here.
Located on Kansas' half of Kansas City, this is a 1.5 mile tri-oval. Banking is 15 degrees in the turns, 10 degrees on the frontstretch, and 5 degrees on the backstretch. Almost identical to Chicagoland Speedway, this track has only been on the NASCAR schedule since 2001. Pit road speed limit is 45mph.
Two drivers are tied atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings, two more are tied for third, and just 14 points separate the top seven. The battle for the championship is starting to get hot, and the drama is, too. Drivers in those positions will need to have an outstanding race to break ahead of the competition.
Drivers have to be patient in this race. Kansas is a pretty simple track to drive, and some drivers will want to go out and thrash it immediately. Past winners like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart know how to be patient and keep a consistent hold on their equipment. Those who can save their horses 'till the end will have a satisfactory weekend.
The Fantasy favorites for this race are far-and-away Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Gordon swept the first two races here, and has 5 top fives in his past five races. Stewart isn't far behind, with a victory in 2009 and 8 finishes of 8th or better in 11 starts. Stay away from Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Busch only has only 1 top ten since 2004, and Kenseth has a career average finish of just 19th.
ESPN's coverage of the Hollywood Casino 400 (267 laps/400.5 miles) begins at 1:00pm on Sunday, with the green flag scheduled to drop at approximately 2:15pm.
My top 5 picks:
My "surprise of the race" prediction: