This weekend the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup Series will return to Kansas Speedway to battle it out for the final time on the original track surface. On Sunday, after the fans, drivers and crew leave, a massive renovation project will begin at the speedway that will include repaving the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval and the addition of a new infield road course.
But before all of that begins, who will be the final driver to go to victory lane on the existing track surface at Kansas Speedway?
Last spring, in the inaugural running of the STP 400, Brad Keselowski won his second Sprint Cup Series race and started to become a major threat in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. In the second race of 2011 at Kansas Speedway, the Hollywood Casino 400, Jimmie Johnson won and gave Hendrick Motorsports their 199th victory in the Sprint Cup Series. Hendrick Motorsports is still looking for win number 200, despite the four Hendrick drivers dominating many races this season.
Will Hendrick Motorsports earn win number 200 this weekend at the same track where Johnson earned victory number 199? It could happen; the Hendrick drivers will have momentum on their side after all four drivers finished in the top 10 this past weekend at Texas and Rick Hendrick holds the title of owner with the most wins at Kansas Speedway.
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each have two wins at Kansas Speedway and Johnson will be looking to make it two in a row at the 1.5 mile tri-oval. Either driver could bring Hendrick Motorsports their 200th victory this weekend in Kansas.
But don’t count out the other two Hendrick drivers, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kahne has one victory at Kansas Speedway in the Nationwide Series and went to victory lane this past weekend in the Camping World Truck Series race in Rockingham. Earnhardt Jr. finished second last spring in the STP 400, and a win at Kansas would end his 135-race winless streak.
There will be 39 other drivers trying to prevent Hendrick Motorsports from pulling into victory lane Sunday at Kansas, and none will be trying harder than hometown favorites Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray and Carl Edwards. These drivers have said many times how much it would mean to them to win at Kansas Speedway, and they will be giving it their all to finally make that dream a reality.
“There would be no bigger win on the circuit than Kansas for me,” said Edwards, who grew up just over the state line in Columbia, MO. “If I had to choose winning one race throughout the year that would be the one I pick. The amount of pride that I would have winning that close to home and in front of so many people that are friends of mine and people that have helped me would be huge.”
You can see the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series in action at Kansas Speedway this weekend. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at www.kansasspeedway.com or by calling 866.460.7223. Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans can bring in one 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and beverages.