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Toto Be Damned, NASCAR Comes to Kansas


Next up on the NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and Gander Outdoor Truck Series is a stop at the 1.5-mile track of Kansas Speedway. Weather reports show little chances of Flying Monkeys, witches or falling houses in the forecast to prevent a repeat of last Sunday’s one-day delay.

With the NASCAR Xfinity Series off for two weeks, the focus goes to the Truck and Cup teams racing under the lights on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Current MENCS points leader, Kyle Busch, is looking to get back to his winning ways. If he can’t get the trophy, his quest to top Morgan Shepherd’s 29-year old record of 11-consecutive top-10 finishes has him thinking about another achievement to etch his name into the record books.

“It is good, it is cool,’’ Busch said “It is kind of on our mind right now going into every week. We want to win. That is what we strive to do every time we hit the track. Hopefully at Kansas, we can keep it going, but I would much rather us be up there fighting for the win than to just to finish in the top-10.”

The hometown favorite, who is also a fan favorite, hails from Emporia, Kan. and would love to get his first 2019 win in front of friends and family. Clint Bowyer has one second-place finish in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford this year and carries some momentum into Kansas.

With five top-10 finishes in the past six races, with the second at another 1.5 miler of Texas Motor Speedway, is definitely in his favor. With the race on the eve of Mother’s Day, Bowyer already knows how things may go if he does win at Kansas.

 “It would be huge to win a home and finally seal the deal after all this time,” he said. “It would be ultra-special. This is where all my family and friends and people who helped me get to where I am today all live in this area and it would be cool to celebrate that with them.

“I’ve said before (laughing) that if we ever win at Kansas, I probably wouldn’t be in very good shape for Mother’s Day. We would probably have to postpone that to Monday.”

Bowyer’s teammate, Kevin Harvick, is the reigning winner of this race in his No. 4 Ford. He’s tied with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson for the most wins at three. He finished fourth at Dover making it five finishes in that position, so far, this season.

Martin Truex, Jr. is on a roll winning two of the past three races in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He’s a two-time winner at Kansas with momentum definitely on his side.

The Gander Outdoor Truck Series race is scheduled for 167 laps on Friday night under the lights. Last season’s winner, Noah Gragson, won’t defend his victory since he moved to the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

But, there are two past winners racing who would like to add to their totals. Eric Crafton is a two-time winner at Kansas and Johnny Sauter has one trip to Victory Lane.

Stewart Friesen finished 12th last week forcing him to relinquish the points lead to Grant Enfinger. He leads by only four markers over his Thor Sport Teammate in Sauter with Friesen third, trailing by 11 points.

Packman’s Picks – Going to go with the hometown driver in Clint Bowyer for the Cup race on Saturday. For the Truck race on Friday, part of me wants to keep picking Friesen until he wins. But, even though this track favors Toyota, I’ll go with the reigning series champion in Brett Moffit for his first win in 2019.

Feature Image Credit ~ @kansasspeedway


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