CONCORD, N.C. – The NASCAR Cup Series will return to Kansas Speedway this weekend as the 400-mile event will serve as the second race in the 2022 Cup Series playoffs.
Opening in 2001, Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile quad-oval circuit that has hosted at least one Cup Series event each season. The track also features variable banking with the bottom portion of each corner measuring at 17 degrees and the top of the turns at 20 degrees. The frontstretch also features variable banking, ranging from nine to 11 degrees. The backstretch has five degrees of banking.
The Cup Series has already raced at the facility once this year, making a stop in early May. During the race, three drivers in the Hendrick Motorsports quartet spent time at the front of the field highlighted by the defending Cup Series champion Kyle Larson. Despite getting passed for the lead by eventual race winner Kurt Busch with nine laps remaining, Larson brought home the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the runner-up position, leading 29 laps over the course of the race.
Alex Bowman finished in the top 10 as well in the spring event. The Ally Racing team ran towards the front for the majority of the race before bringing the car home in the ninth position. As for William Byron and Chase Elliott, their finishes did not represent the pace of their race cars. Despite finishing 16th and 29th, respectively, both Byron and Elliott spent time out front, combining to lead 35 laps. While pacing the field near the midway point of stage two, Byron cut down a left-rear tire. Elliott suffered a similar fate, losing a left-rear tire on lap 197.
All four drivers have fared well at Kansas throughout their careers. Larson won at this track last year and has five top fives and and seven top 10s in 15 starts. Elliott has six top-six finishes in his last eight Kansas starts - a run that started with his 2018 win. Byron has five top 10s at the 1.5-mile venue in his last six starts there. Bowman's 9.6 average finish is his third-best at active tracks while at Hendrick Motorsports.
Following last weekend’s event at Darlington Raceway, the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers occupy spots above the cutoff line to make it into the Round of 12. With an eighth-place finish, that included a stage victory, Byron sits as the highest driver of the quartet. The 24-year-old driver moved into second place in the playoff standings, 32 points above the cutoff line. Larson (+17) sits seventh in the standings, Elliott (+14) is ninth and Bowman (+10) is in 10th.
As an organization, Hendrick Motorsports has tasted victory eight times in the Cup Series at Kansas Speedway. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each tallied three wins over the course of their careers, with Elliott and Larson accounting for a single victory. The Elliott (2018) and Larson (2021) wins have come in playoff races - one of 53 wins that the organization has in the postseason.
Here is what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.
WHAT TIME IS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING?
Cup Series group practice will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 12:05 p.m. ET with coverage on USA Network. Group qualifying will follow practice and begin at 12:50 p.m. ET and will also be on USA Network.
Elliott and Larson are in Group A, while Bowman and Byron will be in Group B.
WHAT TIME IS THE RACE?
The Cup Series race is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 11, and will be broadcast on USA Network.
CAN I LISTEN ON THE RADIO?
The race will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
CAN I STREAM ONLINE?
FIVE FAST FACTS HEADING INTO KANSAS
Data provided by Racing Insights
5: Hendrick Motorsports has won five out of the last seven points-paying races on tracks measuring 1.5-miles in length. All four drivers have wins on 1.5-mile tracks in that stretch.
9: Top-10 finishes from Elliott on 1.5-mile tracks since the start of 2021. This total lands the Dawsonville, Georgia, native in a tie for fourth in the category with his teammate Byron.
10: Bowman has made this many starts at Kansas with Hendrick Motorsports in his career. He has only finished outside the top-11 spots twice in those races.
25: Points gained relative to the cutoff line by Byron at Darlington following his eighth-place run. This was the biggest gain made by any playoff driver in the field.
291: Laps lead at Kansas since the start of 2021 by Larson. This marker is 171 more than the next closest competitor and stands as 36 percent of the laps led over that span at this track.