RACE #13 – KANSAS SPEEDWAY
NASCAR heads to the heartland this weekend to Kansas Speedway, where the 1.5-mile tri-oval will host the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for the first trip to the Midwest in 2022. Kansas Speedway holds two spots on the NASCAR schedule, with the return trip in September making the venue one of the 10 tracks to hold a Playoff race for all three NASCAR touring series.
Chevrolet looks to become back-to-back winners at Kansas Speedway in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400. The series’ last appearance at the Kansas venue in October 2021 saw Kyle Larson capture his ninth win of the season. The victory also marked the second time in the 2021 season that Larson won three-consecutive races; a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since Dale Earnhardt set the record in 1987. Of the 32 NCS races held at Kansas Speedway, Chevrolet has recorded a manufacturer-leading 13 wins, including the track’s inaugural NCS race, a win that was captured by career-Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon (September 2001).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) kicks off the doubleheader race weekend under the lights with the Heart of America 200 on Saturday night. The Silverado RST is coming off of a strong runner-up finish at Darlington, with eyes set on its first victory of the season. Kansas Speedway has held 23 NCWTS races since the venue was built in 2001, with Chevrolet visiting victory lane eight times in the series. Those triumphs include the series’ first race at the track, captured by Ricky Hendrick in a Chevrolet-powered machine for Hendrick Motorsports, which also marked his first-career NASCAR win.
THREE IN-A-ROW FOR CAMARO SS
At the track where he captured his most recent win one year ago, Justin Allgaier returned to victory lane at Darlington Raceway, driving his No. 7 JR Motorsports Camaro SS to his 17th-career NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) win and a spot into the NXS Playoff field. After being forced to start at the rear of the field due to a battery change during the pace laps, strong pitstops throughout the day put the Chevrolet driver in position to contend for the lead. With a fresh set of tires on a two-lap dash to the finish, Allgaier powered to the lead on the final restart to give Chevrolet its sixth NXS win of 2022, extending its season win count lead over all manufacturers. The feat also marks JR Motorsports third-consecutive race win, with all three captured by different drivers (Noah Gragson at Talladega; Josh Berry at Dover; Justin Allgaier at Darlington).
With its now six wins in 11 races for 2022, Justin Allgaier is the fifth Chevrolet driver to secure his spot into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff field and his chance at battling for the championship title. The other Chevrolet drivers already locked into the Playoffs by virtue of a win includes NXS rookie, Austin Hill; Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger; and Allgaier’s two JR Motorsports teammates, Noah Gragson and Josh Berry.
Entering into the NASCAR Xfinity Series off-weekend, Chevrolet continues to lead in both the driver and manufacturer points standings. Atop the NXS driver standings is AJ Allmendinger, who continues to hold onto the lead by 25-points over second place. Allmendinger’s eighth-place finish at Darlington continued his record as the only driver in the series to have placed in the top-10 of every race thus far this season. Joining Allmendinger in the top-10 is all four of the JR Motorsports drivers (Noah Gragson – second; Justin Allgaier – fourth; Josh Berry – fifth; Sam Mayer – sixth) and NXS season opener winner, Austin Hill, in tenth to give the bowtie brigade four of the top-five and six of the top-10 in the driver standings.
Also extending its lead in the NXS manufacturer standings, Chevrolet now sits at a 43-point advantage over second. With six wins, 37 top-five’s and 73 top-10’s, the bowtie brand is continuing in the right direction in pursuit of its 24th NXS manufacturer championship title. The series will be back in action at Texas Motor Speedway with the Texas 250 on Saturday, May 21, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
CLOSING IN ON HALFWAY
The trip to Kansas Speedway marks the 13th points-paying race of the season for the NASCAR Cup Series, also indicating the halfway point of the regular season. Chevrolet has taken the debut season of the Next Gen car by storm, sitting at seven victories for a winning percentage of over 50 percent for the Camaro ZL1. Chevrolet also continues to lead all manufacturers in top-five’s (35), top-10’s (59), laps led (1,789) and stage wins (12).
With eyes set on defending its NASCAR Cup Series driver and manufacturer championship titles, Chevrolet continues to lead in both the driver and manufacturer points standings. Chevrolet’s most recent NCS winner, Chase Elliott, extended his points lead to 65-points following a top-five finish at Darlington; his ninth top-10 finish in 2022. Five of the top-10 of the driver standings are occupied by Chevrolet drivers, including Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates (William Byron – second; Alex Bowman – eighth; Kyle Larson – ninth) and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in fifth, all of which have recorded at least one victory in 2022 to secure a spot in the 16-driver NCS Playoff field.
Falling just one spot short of another victory at Darlington Raceway, the bowtie brand made a strong showing in the final running order of the Goodyear 400 last weekend. The Camaro ZL1 placed three in the top-five and six in the top-10 finishing positions, with five different Chevrolet teams contributing to those finishes:
2nd Tyler Reddick (Richard Childress Racing)
3rd Justin Haley (Kaulig Racing): season-best finish
5th Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports)
8th Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daugherty Racing): second-consecutive top-10 finish
9th Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing)
10th Daniel Suarez (Trackhouse Racing)
This marks the seventh race this season that Chevrolet has placed six Camaro ZL1’s in the top-10, with at least three different Chevrolet teams represented in each. Looking to keep that momentum going, Chevrolet enters the Kansas race weekend atop the NCS manufacturer standings, building its lead to a 40-point advantage over second.
· Victories by active Chevrolet drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway include:
Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 (2021)
Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 (2018)
· In addition to its 13 manufacturer-leading NASCAR Cup Series wins at Kansas Speedway, Chevrolet has also recorded 11 pole wins – the most of all manufacturers – as well as 64 top-five’s and 137 top-10’s. Chevrolet drivers have also led 3,011 laps at the 1.5-mile Kansas venue.
· With 12 NASCAR Cup Series races complete in the 2022 season, Chevrolet continues to lead all manufacturers in NCS wins (7), top-five’s (35), top-10’s (59), laps led (1,789) and stage wins (12). Chevrolet’s NCS wins, top-five’s, laps led and stage wins count are more than double its manufacturer competitors.
· In seven of the 12 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2022, Chevrolet has placed six Camaro ZL1’s in the top-10, with at least three different Chevrolet teams represented in each.
· The title of the youngest NASCAR Cup Series winner at Kansas Speedway belongs to Chase Elliott, who took the win in the October 2018 event at the age of 22 years, 10 months, 23 days.
· Career Chevrolet drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, are among five drivers tied for the most NASCAR Cup Series wins (3) at Kansas Speedway.
· Only four drivers in NASCAR Cup Series history have captured consecutive wins at Kansas Speedway, one of which being career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon. The NASCAR Hall of Famer also recorded the win in the inaugural race at Kansas Speedway in 2001, behind the wheel of a Chevrolet-powered machine.
· Justin Haley recorded a season-high third-place finish at Darlington Raceway, also marking a career-best finish since moving to full-time NASCAR Cup series competition with Kaulig Racing this season.
· Following a runner-up finish at Dover Motor Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. powered his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Camaro ZL1 to an eighth-place finish at Darlington Raceway for a second-consecutive top-10 finish.
· A special place to Erik Jones, Kansas Speedway is the site of his first-career Cup Series start where he filled in for an injured Kyle Busch on May 9, 2015. Jones started the race from the 12th position and ran in the top-10 most of the day, leading one lap. Unfortunately, a rookie mistake late in the race cost Jones a solid finish after he made contact with the outside wall and was credited with a 40th-place finish.
· Seven Team Chevy drivers have combined 12 NASCAR Cup Series stage wins:
Tyler Reddick 2 - (Fontanax2)
Alex Bowman 1 - (Las Vegas)
Ross Chastain 2 - (Las Vegas), (Darlington)
William Byron 3 – (Phoenix), (Atlanta), (Talladega)
Daniel Suarez 1 – (COTA)
Chase Elliott 2 – (Martinsvillex2)
Kyle Larson 1 – (Bristol)
· Chevrolet leads in the driver points standing in both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Chase Elliott remains in the top position in the NCS standings with a 65-point advantage over second place; and AJ Allmendinger continues to lead the NXS standings by 25-points. Chevrolet remains atop both the NCS and NXS manufacturer points standings.
· With its 40 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships; 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships; and 821 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title of winningest brand in NASCAR.
The NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 will air on FS1 on Sunday, May 15, at 3 p.m. ET. FS1 will broadcast the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Heart of America 200 on Saturday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage of both events can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 ADVENT HEALTH CAMARO ZL1
HOW IMPORTANT IS KANSAS TO YOUR CAREER?
"Kansas brings back so many memories. I think back to my Truck Series win there in 2019 and winning is the ultimate goal. I think that win saved my career, honestly. Everything went away with my Xfinity Series ride and Chip Ganassi kept me on as a reserve driver and just to be nice is what it basically came down to. Doug Duchardt told me to just race whatever I could and we would figure it out. When things got serious about the No. 42 car going into the 2021 season, Doug brought up the fact that even though they didn't have anything for me to drive and Niece gave me the opportunity to drive their truck and we were able to win, Doug said it told him more about me than anything else, and I put a lot of stock in what Doug says. If I didn't go win those races with Niece, I don't know if I am in the Cup car where I am today."
WHAT DO YOU FIND CHALLENGING ABOUT RACING AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY?
"It's wild because it is a mile-and-a-half and it has some of the same bones that most mile-and-a-half tracks have but there are intricacies at each intermediate track. The progressive banking at Kansas really rewards running higher on the track. It's windy at Kansas and when you run up high you're almost hidden from the wind a little bit and blocked from some of the cross winds."
NOW THAT YOU HAVE A COUPLE OF WINS UNDER YOUR BELT AND YOU’VE CHECKED OFF GETTING THAT FIRST CAREER WIN, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR SEASON SO FAR?
"This year has been incredible. I feel grateful, but I also realize that we deserve to be where we are at. We've put in the effort and this car has been the greatest reset this sport has ever seen. Never before have you been able to take a car raced at a road course and change some suspension parts, run the same chassis and same body, and some of the same suspension, and pass tech and compete for wins."
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1
WHAT IS IT ABOUT KANSAS SPEEDWAY THAT YOU’RE FOCUSING ON TO GET TO VICTORY LANE THIS WEEKEND?
“I think it’s running the top. Everybody is going to be up there running right against the fence and ripping the wall this weekend. From what I heard at the test, the rubber really laid down up there and there was a big difference in speed from the top to the bottom. I feel like I’ve just been focused on making my car in the simulator handle up by the wall. I think the next thing that’s on my mind is where to make a pass; where to attempt to make a pass. When you pull out of line, you have to get yourself clear and then back in line. It will be important to do a good job of making your car have the ability to run against the wall, but also when you need to make a move to slide someone, that it can happen.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
LARSON ON THE RACING GROOVE AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY:
"At Fontana, we were able to run really close to the wall, so I would imagine it’s pretty easy to run next to the wall at Kansas. I love Kansas – it’s definitely one of my favorite tracks. It does have multiple lanes, typically. If that top lane gets going really fast, it does make it hard to pass. I hope we can run the bottom, middle and top."
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
DANIELS ON IF 2021 SUCCESS TRANSLATES TO THIS YEAR:
"We had success there last year, but this weekend is another track we are visiting for the first time with the Next Gen car so there is still a lot to learn. Kansas is just one of those tracks where you have to respect the track because it can draw you into thinking it’s pretty straightforward, but the lanes can change a lot throughout the race. Everybody thinks you can run up top, then everybody does and it’ll fall off, so you have to be good enough to move down the track. And right as you think the strategy will be simple, a caution will come out and change everything you’re doing. You really have to be on your game in the moment and respect the track and the race. Past success always gives you confidence, but it’s still the new car at a track we haven’t competed on with it yet."
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 BETMGM CAMARO ZL1
DO YOU THINK THIS WEEKEND’S RACE AT KANSAS WILL BE LIKE THE RACE WE SAW EARLIER THIS SEASON AT ATLANTA?
“I think this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway is going to be a lot like the races we’ve seen at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be a very unforgiving one. There will be a lot of running the wall with little to no room for error. The margin of error is so small and if you make one mistake, you could take yourself and others out of the race. It’s going to be a lot of strategy and deciding when the right time is to take a risk. Certainly, with my driving style, running the wall is going to be a huge part of my race but it’s also important to listen to my crew chief and spotter and weight the risk versus reward. You don’t want to get out there in the first stage and dive into the wall and end up finishing 38th.”
WE’RE A HANDFUL OF RACES INTO THE SEASON. HOW CAN YOU BEST DESCRIBE THE NEXT GEN CAR AT THIS TIME?
“The Next Gen car is super fun to drive but is also extremely challenging. We’ve seen how much it’s leveled the field for all the drivers. The tracks are so different with the new car, and you’re pretty much using all the practice and qualifying time to take notes and let your team know how the car is running. The practice sessions aren’t very long so you want to use all that time to feel the car and the track out. Our team has gotten out on the track and the car has been completely wrong and then you have to go back to the drawing board and decide what you can and cannot fix. The racing is so competitive and there’s still so much to learn, it makes every weekend even more crucial and also exciting. I think every race is giving the fans a great show.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1
ELLIOTT ON RACING AT KANSAS:
"We’ve had some pretty good finishes at Kansas in recent years and had built up a solid playbook, but I feel like a lot of that is out the window with this new car. We weren’t that great at Vegas earlier this year, but we were pretty decent in Atlanta. I think we’ve learned a lot more about the car in general since those races and the changes that we can make to get the most out of it. Each track presents its own set of challenges, but I think our team as a whole has done a good job of adapting and I don’t think that will be any different this weekend."
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1
GUSTAFSON ON THE CHALLENGE OF THE NEXT GEN CAR AS TEAMS CONTINUE TO HEAD TO TRACKS FOR THE FIRST TIME:
"It’s a big challenge. Probably a bigger challenge than what’s conveyed, just watching the races and what the fans would see at home. There’s a huge amount of unknowns and there’s a lot of pressure and focus for us to get the car right off the truck, because with just 15 minutes of practice there’s really few things you can do. And then I think for the drivers too, there’s a lot of pressure."
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 RAPTORTOUGH.COM CAMARO ZL1
BYRON ON WHAT HE EXPECTS THIS WEEKEND AT KANSAS:
"While most of these tracks this year we’ve had to re-learn because of the Next Gen car, I think I’m a bit more confident on what to expect heading to Kansas this weekend. Not all mile-and-a-half tracks are the same but I feel like Kansas and Las Vegas are the most similar to each other. We raced at Vegas earlier this year and ran really well. The only real difference is I feel like Kansas is a more temperature sensitive racetrack and has less grip. We’ve ran well at Kansas over the past couple years, so I think with the notebook we’ve built so far and our past experiences there, we should have a good shot at the win this weekend.”
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 RAPTORTOUGH.COM CAMARO ZL1
FUGLE ON PREPARING FOR KANSAS:
"We’re continuing to build on our intermediate package as the season goes with the Next Gen car. Since the second Charlotte test, we’ve raced at Las Vegas and Atlanta and been able to add those notes in. I think we can really use some of our notes from Vegas for this weekend especially since we will be using the same right side tire we ran there. I also think some of our notes from the fall race at Kansas last season will correlate as well. With its progressive banking and with how sensitive it is to temperature, we’ll have to keep up with the track not only throughout the weekend but throughout the race on Sunday to be in contention at the end."
TY DILLON, NO. 42 CHEVYLINERS.COM CAMARO ZL1
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET AROUND KANSAS SPEEDWAY? WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE TRACK?
“For me personally, in the early years of my Cup career, I really wished they would have turned Kansas into a parking lot. It honestly has been one of my biggest struggles as a track. What’s frustrating is that to me it’s not that hard of a track to get around and it’s very simple, but it takes minor, finite details to be strong there. My focus this week has been putting in a lot of time in the simulator on running right against the wall and getting myself comfortable in that line. I want to have that line down pat so I can use it to my advantage all day on Sunday. That’s my go to. Hopefully, we turn it around and I’ll have a different opinion about the racetrack when we leave. Going to Kansas with a new organization and a new car has given me new life and new blood for going out there and making the most of it.”
ERIK JONES, NO. 43 FOCUSFACTOR CAMARO ZL1
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT AT KANSAS WITH THE NEXT GEN CAR?
“I think it’s going to be a great race. I want to compare it to Vegas, but there is something about it that doesn’t sit right with me that it’s going to be like that. It’s going to be interesting to see how it races. I think it’s going to race well. Kansas is always fun with as wide as it gets and where you can run. This car I think will be challenging there. I think back to the low-down force package with the old Cup car and it was easy to make mistakes and I think it will be pretty similar with this car.”
DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE A RACE OF “RIM RIDING”?
“I think so. Between the gear ratios we’ve had, they’ve been a little low I feel like, and you have to kind of keep these cars wound up. They’re just “draggy,” you have to keep the momentum going. If you really have to slow them down and get on the bottom, it hurts your speed a lot, so just keeping them wound up has been the name of the game.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 DILLONS / LOUISIANA HOT SAUCE CAMARO ZL1
“Kansas always has been a good track for me. I’ve won there in the Xfinity Series. We’ve ran really well there in the Cup car. I felt like 2013, I was going to get a win there and a caution came out at the wrong time. All in all, I enjoy Kansas and I feel we’ve learned a lot over the past couple of weeks that we will hopefully have a fast car like we’ve been having. You can move all around at Kanas. I assume we’ll run the top of the race track a lot, but with downshifting and things like that different lines come into play. It should be a good race and we’re definitely looking forward to getting there with our No. 47 Dillons/Louisiana Hot Sauce Camaro.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
BOWMAN ON HEADING TO ONE OF HIS FAVORITE TRACKS:
"Kansas Speedway has always been a place I feel like I run well at. Getting the win at Las Vegas this season helps our confidence at a similar track. We have to stay focused and take it one race at a time and this week, it is a place that I enjoy racing at."
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
IVES ON RESETTING HIS FOCUS FOR KANSAS:
"We had a tough weekend in Darlington and didn’t get it right when it came time to adjust the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, but that stays at Darlington. We have a brand new weekend ahead of us at a track that Alex (Bowman) really likes. We will go back to what works for us and get the car in a place that we think will give Bowman the best chance to be competitive and work on it during practice to get the little details right."
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 COMMSCOPE CAMARO ZL1
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON KANSAS AND THE ADVENTHEALTH 400?
"Darlington (10th) and Dover (13th) finishes have both come despite us having lots of issues we had to overcome. Air guns jamming, things like that. So our car has been fast. If we can get by those issues, we have a fast enough car to do really well. I hope that happens Sunday in Kansas."