CONCORD, N.C.— This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Kansas Speedway.
And the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues this Sunday at the 1.5-mile tri-oval track.
Jimmie Johnson secured his Round of 8 berth by visiting Victory Lane during last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Heading into Kansas, the win in Charlotte certainly opens up the possibility for whatever opportunities may present themselves,” Johnson said. “We can go there to race and to win without pressure.”
In addition to Johnson's win, teammate Kasey Kahne enters Kansas on the heels of his best finish of the 2016 season at Charlotte. Kahne earned a third-place finish at the 1.5-mile track, giving him five top-10 finishes in the last six races.
“Kansas is one of my better mile-and-a-half tracks – especially since they repaved it,” Kahne said. “We were good right off of the bat with the repave, and now it has changed a good bit over the years, but it’s still one of my best tracks.”
Before Sunday's race, take a look at some notes to keep an eye on throughout the event.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: Sunday’s race will air live on NBC at 2:15 p.m. ET. Can’t make it to the television? Listen to the race live on MRN and SiriusXM to catch the radio coverage. Here is the full broadcast schedule:
Friday, Oct. 14:
1 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, NBC Sports Network
6 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, NBC Sports Network
Saturday, Oct. 15:
11 a.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, NBC Sports App
1:30 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, Oct. 16:
2:15 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Race, NBC
THIS WEEKEND’S PAINT SCHEMES: This weekend, Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kansas Speedway. This will be the third and penultimate primary paint scheme weekend of the year for SunEnergy1 on board Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson will race the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and Alex Bowman will be substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is out for the remainder of the season as he continues to recover from a concussion, in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS this weekend.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KANSAS: At Kansas Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed six wins, five pole positions, 28 top-five finishes and 48 top-10 finishes in addition to 1,071 laps led. Johnson, who leads active drivers in wins, top-five finishes and top-10 finishes at the track, most recently won for the organization at Kansas in 2015.
POLE POSITION: Kahne has captured three of his 27 pole awards at the Kansas City, Kansas, track. He’s tied with Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick for the most poles at the 1.5-mile speedway. The 36-year-old earned his last pole position at Kansas in October 2012, and has started on the outside pole position twice -- most recently in May 2015.
CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER: Elliott’s bid for the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues in Kansas after a late-race incident last Sunday stopped his day short at Charlotte. Elliott led 103 laps – second most only to teammate Johnson – in the rain-postponed race. The rookie driver is ranked 10th as he heads to the second race in the Round of 12 at Kansas Speedway this weekend. He is only three points outside of eighth – the cutoff spot for the Round of 8. Thus far in the playoffs, Elliott has led 179 laps while also securing two top-five finishes both coming in the Round of 16. He’s looking to keep that momentum going as he heads to Kansas, where he finished ninth earlier this year.
SERIES BEST: Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Kansas Speedway with a score of 110.4. He has an average finish of 7.882 and an average running position of 9.513, both of which are series-best.
78 WINS AND COUNTING: Johnson’s win at Charlotte was his 78th win of his career. Earlier this season he passed the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh most wins of all time with 77. The next record in line for all-time wins is 83, currently occupied by NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough.
CHARLOTTE RECAP: Bowman had a great race weekend going in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway after qualifying second – a career-best and just 0.004-seconds off of the pole -- but a flat left-front tire while he was running third relegated him to a 39th-place finish.
KANSAS STATS: Kansas Speedway will mark Bowman’s sixth start in the No. 88 Chevy, which will be Nationwide’s primary blue and silver scheme this weekend. In the first five races, he earned one top-10 and two top-15 finishes and has run inside the top 10 in every event. Bowman has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas with a best finish of 31st. He has one start in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with a best finish of 11th. In the ARCA Racing Series at Kansas, Bowman has a win record of 100 percent, with two victories in his two starts (2011 and 2012).