NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Kansas Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: AdventHealth 400

The Place: Kansas Speedway

Track Length: 1.5 Mile Asphalt Oval

The Date: Sunday, May 5

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,894,315

TV: FS1, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200

The Place: Darlington Raceway

Track Length: 1.366 Mile Asphalt Oval

The Date: Saturday, May 11

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,371,756

TV: FS1, 1:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200.8 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: Heart Of America 200

The Place: Kansas Speedway

Track Length: 1.5 Mile Asphalt Oval

The Date: Saturday, May 4

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

The Purse: $770,294

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

NASCAR Cup Series

Clash Of The Titans: Joe Gibbs Racing & Hendrick Motorsports

This year has been full of compelling storylines, but the one rising to the top, is the competitive battle as to which organization is the best in the NASCAR Cup Series this season, and two teams – Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports – are neck-and-neck for the honors. Both organization’s drivers and teams have been outstanding and even dominating in some statistical categories, and this weekend’s showdown at Kansas Speedway in the AdventHealth 400 (Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) looks to be a good one.

For starters, the top four spots in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings are currently occupied by Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing drivers – 1. Kyle Larson, 2. Martin Truex Jr., 3. Chase Elliott, 4. Denny Hamlin. In fact, Hendrick Motorsports has all four of its drivers inside the top-10 in points after Dover – William Byron (ranked sixth) and Alex Bowan (ranked ninth).

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is the most recent winner, taking the victory last weekend at Dover Motor Speedway, tying Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron for the season-most wins at three each. Through the first 11 races of the season, Hendrick Motorsports (five) and Joe Gibbs Racing (four) have combined to win nine of the 11 events – a winning percentage of 81.8%, the two other organizations with wins being Trackhouse Racing (Atlanta) and 23XI Racing (Talladega).

In total five of the seven race winners this season are from either Hendrick Motorsports – William Byron (three wins), Kyle Larson (one win) and Chase Elliott (one win) – or Joe Gibbs Racing – Denny Hamlin (three wins), Christopher Bell (one win).

Through 11 NASCAR Cup Series races this season, 55 top-five finishing positions were up for grabs and Hendrick Motorsports (17) and Joe Gibbs Racing (12) accounted for 29 of them (52.7%). Also, through the first 11 races, 110 top-10 finishes were for the taking and Hendrick Motorsports (23) and Joe Gibbs Racing (21) accounted for 44 of them (40.0%).

Plus, not only have the Hendrick and Gibbs organizations finished well, but their drivers have also been out front leading laps 66% of the time this season. Of the 3,293 laps run this season in the NASCAR Cup Series, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have led 1,293 laps (39%) and Hendrick Motorsports drivers have led 892 laps (27%).

When it comes to this weekend at Kansas Speedway, expect the two titans of the NASCAR Cup Series, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, to continue to battle it out again as they are tied for the series-most wins at the 1.5-mile track with eight victories each:

  • Hendrick Motorsports: Jeff Gordon (three: 2001, 2002 and 2014), Jimmie Johnson (three: 2008, 2011 and 2015), Chase Elliott (one: Playoffs 2018) and Kyle Larson (one: Playoffs 2021).
  • Joe Gibbs Racing: Tony Stewart (2006), Denny Hamlin (2012, 2019, 2020, 2023), Matt Kenseth (2013), and Kyle Busch (2016, 2021).

In total nine organizations have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway.

Organizations
Wins
Seasons
Joe Gibbs Racing
8
2023, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2006
Hendrick Motorsports
8
2021, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2008, 2002, 2001
Team Penske
6
2020, 2019, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2003
RFK Racing
4
2012, 2010, 2007, 2005
23XI Racing
3
2023, 2022 sweep
Stewart-Haas Racing
3
2018, 2016, 2009
Furniture Row Racing
2
2017 sweep
Richard Childress Racing
1
2013
MB2 Motorsports
1
2004

Kansas Speedway sets the stage for the NASCAR Cup Series

In the heartland of America, groundbreaking for Kansas Speedway was held on May 25, 1999. The official opening of Kansas Speedway was in 2001, with the first NASCAR Cup Series race being held on September 30, 2001. The first Kansas Cup event was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon(Chevrolet). Gordon would actually win the first two NASCAR Cup Series races held at Kansas Speedway (2001, 2002).

During the 2012 season, between the April and October events, the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway track underwent a repave, adding variable banking in the corners bringing them to 17-20 degrees. The advancement has opened up racing lanes from the apron to the wall and has become a driver favorite.

“Kansas (Speedway) is a really fun racetrack,” said Martin Truex Jr. “It’s a place where you can move around. The tires wear out and it gets slippery. It’s just a fun place to race and we’re looking forward to it with our Auto-Owners Insurance Camry. At the same time, I think it’s a real measuring stick of your cars and where you’re at. It takes everything to get around there. You have to have horsepower and downforce, a good setup with a lot of tire grip and things like that. It’s a big challenge and usually the guys that have the fastest cars are up front there, so hopefully we’ll be one of those guys because it seems like our Camrys have been really strong this year.”

In total, there have been 36 NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway; one event from 2001 – 2010 and two races per year since 2011. The 36 Cup Series races have produced 19 different pole winners and 19 different race winners (2001-2023).

The hot ticket is starting upfront at Kansas

At Kansas Speedway, a total of 18 different starting positions on the grid have led to victories in the NASCAR Cup Series. With the first starting position being the most proficient starting spot in the field producing more winners (seven) than any other starting position on the grid (a winning percentage of 19.44%).

Seven different drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series race from the pole or first starting position at Kansas Speedway – Joe Nemechek (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2008), Matt Kenseth (spring 2013), Kevin Harvick (Playoffs 2013), Martin Truex Jr. (Playoffs 2017), Kevin Harvick (spring 2018), Kyle Larson (Playoffs 2021).

Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Kansas Speedway with five (fall 2013, 2014 sweep, spring 2018, spring 2019). NASCAR Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson, who will be making his fourth start of the season this weekend at Kansas, leads all active drivers in poles with three (2003, 2007, 2008).

Nine of the 19 NASCAR Cup Series pole winners are active this weekend.

Active Kansas Pole Winners (9)
Poles
Seasons
Jimmie Johnson
3
2008, 2007, 2003
Christopher Bell
2
2023, 2022
Joey Logano
2
2018, 2015
Martin Truex Jr
2
2017, 2016
William Byron
1
2023
Tyler Reddick
1
2022
Daniel Hemric
1
2019
Ryan Blaney
1
2017
Brad Keselowski
1
2015

The NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity at Kansas Speedway is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 4 with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying from 5 – 7 p.m. ET – both events will be televised on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Denny Hamlin is the Chief of Kansas Speedway

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is coming off his third win of the season last weekend at Dover Motor Speedway, tying William Byron for the series-most victories on the year. Now, the 43-year old heads to Kansas Speedway as not only the defending winner of this Sunday’s AdventHealth 400, but he also leads the series in wins at Kansas Speedway as well, with four victories (2012, 2019, 2020, 2023).

A total of 19 different drivers have led the pack to the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, and 10 of the Kansas Cup winners are active this weekend.

Active Kansas Race Winners (10)
Wins
Seasons
Denny Hamlin
4
2023, 2020, 2019, 2012
Joey Logano
3
2020, 2015, 2014
Jimmie Johnson
3
2015, 2011, 2008
Kyle Busch
2
2021, 2016
Brad Keselowski
2
2019, 2011
Martin Truex Jr
2
2017 sweep
Tyler Reddick
1
2023
Bubba Wallace
1
2022
Kyle Larson
1
2021
Chase Elliott
1
2018

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is the defending winner of this race, and 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, the organization Hamlin co-owns with NBA Legend Michael Jordan, won the Playoff race at Kansas last September.

The AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway is scheduled for 267 laps (400.5 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage is 80 laps, the second stage is 85 laps, and the final stage will be 102 laps.

Toyota returns to Kansas Speedway to keep the winning streak alive

Over the last two seasons Toyota has swept the races at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, and now they return to the 1.5-mile track riding the longest OEM winning streak in the track’s history with the intentions of keeping it alive.

Last season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin won this race and 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick won the Playoff race (Sept.). Then in 2022, 23XI Racing drivers’ Kurt Busch (May race) and Bubba Wallace (Sept. race) swept the NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway.

In total four manufacturers have won at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series; led by Chevrolet with 13 victories, Toyota has 12 wins, Ford has nine, and Dodge has two. Toyota can tie Chevrolet for series-most wins at Kansas with a victory this weekend.

Playoff Outlook: Former Kansas winner Bubba Wallace first driver outside Playoff cutoff

One driver hoping Kansas Speedway could right his 2024 season ship, is 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace. The Mobile, Alabama native is coming off back-to-back DNFs and the former Kansas winner (2022) is hoping this weekend could be a change in his fortune.

Wallace dropped four spots in the point standings following Dover, and now finds himself in 17th in the Playoff outlook, two points behind Chris Buescher in 16th – the final transfer spot on points.

Just behind Wallace is 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski in 18th, four points back from his RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher.

2024 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 11
RankDriverPointsWinsStagesPlayoff PtsPts From Cutoff
1Denny Hamlin3613217In On Wins
2William Byron3483015
3Kyle Larson4101611
4Chase Elliott377116
5Tyler Reddick354116
6Christopher Bell258127
7Daniel Suarez240105
8Martin Truex Jr.395022132
9Ryan Blaney34201179
10Ty Gibbs32302260
11Alex Bowman30200039
12Ross Chastain30201139
13Kyle Busch27500012
14Chase Briscoe27400011
15Joey Logano2660113
16Chris Buescher2650002
17Bubba Wallace263000-2
18Brad Keselowski261000-4
19Austin Cindric214022-51
20Carson Hocevar #187000-78
21Noah Gragson185000-80
22John Hunter Nemechek181000-84
23Erik Jones181000-84
24Josh Berry #174000-91
25Daniel Hemric168000-97
26Todd Gilliland167000-98
27Ricky Stenhouse Jr.165000-100
28Ryan Preece163000-102
29Michael McDowell158011-107
30Corey LaJoie155000-110
31Austin Dillon146000-119
32Harrison Burton128000-137
33Justin Haley115000-150
34Zane Smith #99000-166

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Richard Petty to serve as Grand Marshal for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 – Kansas Speedway announced this week that legendary NASCAR Hall of Famer, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, and LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Team Ambassador Richard Petty will serve as the Grand Marshal for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway. In celebration of the Petty Family’s 75th year in NASCAR, “The King” will say the most famous words in motorsports ahead of one of the most competitive events of the year.

“Few people carry as much of an esteemed and winning history in sports than Richard Petty,” said Kansas Speedway Track President Pat Warren. “It’s a genuine honor to have one of the most distinguished figures in all of NASCAR give the command to start engines prior to the AdventHealth 400.”

Petty’s legendary 35-year career continues to serve as the benchmark for greatness throughout all of motorsports. As the most successful driver in NASCAR history, the Level Cross, N.C. native has garnered the most wins (200), most poles (123), most wins in a season (27), most Daytona 500 wins (seven), most consecutive wins (10), most starts (1,185), and tied for the most championships with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson (seven).

These astounding accomplishments led Petty to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 and named as one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers. Additionally, he has been elected to the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, International Motorsports Hall of Fame, North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and serves as Chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association.

Team leadership for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB will be well-represented in Sunday’s AdventHealth 400, with both Petty serving as the Grand Marshal along with co-owner Jimmie Johnson driving the No. 84 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE.

“The King” giving the command to start engines will be one of the many exciting features of this weekend’s AdventHealth 400 Weekend at Kansas Speedway. It includes a power-packed Saturday doubleheader featuring the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, following by Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.

Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation partners with RFK and Solomon Plumbing to honor Military – Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation announced this week the return of the Tribute to Veterans program, this year presented by Solomon Plumbing. For its sixth consecutive year, and third with RFK Racing, the program will honor America’s heroes with a special scheme on the No. 6 Solomon Plumbing Ford Mustang piloted by NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski. Starting May 1, 2024, friends and family can submit a hero’s name to be featured on the No. 6 Solomon Plumbing Ford Mustang that Keselowski will drive during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway, in Darlington, South Carolina, on September 1, 2024. 

The Tribute to Veterans program gives friends and family the opportunity to honor and recognize their heroes, including veterans, active military, military family members and their caregivers—acknowledging the ongoing commitment to the well-being of veterans and those who play a role in veterans’ lives daily.

“For the sixth year running, we’re proud to carry on our Tribute to Veterans Program. It’s an honor to showcase military heroes on my No. 6 Solomon Plumbing Ford Mustang,” said Keselowski. “Thanks to Solomon Plumbing and RFK Racing, we can continue this meaningful initiative. Recognizing these heroes at Darlington is just a small way to give back to those who’ve served, and I’m eager to hear their inspiring stories.

The cost is $100 per submission to be part of the campaign, with proceeds benefiting the Checkered Flag Foundation in its mission to honor and assist those who have sacrificed greatly for our country and our communities. In addition to having your hero’s name on the car, each submission will receive a personalized certificate and a commemorative gift following the September 1 Darlington race weekend. Those wishing to submit a veteran, service member, or military family name can do so via THIS LINK. Submissions will be accepted through July 19, 2024. 

Stat Watch: Upcoming Driver Milestones in the NASCAR Cup Series – Below are a few of the possible milestones that can be achieved this Sunday and over the next few weeks in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Starts

Ross Chastain is expected to make his 200th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Darlington Raceway.

Chase Elliott is expected to make his 300th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Corey Lajoie is expected to make his 250th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wins

Denny Hamlin currently has 54 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for 11th on the all-time wins list with 55 victories each.

Martin Truex Jr. currently has 34 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Brad Keselowski for 24th on the all-time wins list with 35 victories each.

Joey Logano currently has 32 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts for 27th on the all-time wins list with 33 victories each.

Kyle Larson currently has 24 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Jim Paschal and Joe Weatherly for 34th on the all-time wins list with 25 victories each.

Laps Led

Four drivers could reach milestones in laps led this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

NCS Laps Leaders
Career Laps Led
Next Milestone
Laps Led Needed
Jimmie Johnson
18,941
19,000
59
Denny Hamlin
14,887
15,000
113
Ryan Blaney
3,825
4,000
175
William Byron
2,806
3,000
194

If Johnson were to reach 19,000 laps led, he would become just the 10th driver all-time to accomplish the feat.

If Hamlin were to reach 15,000 laps led, he would become the 12th driver all-time to accomplish the feat.

Crew Member Spotlight: Kansas Speedway – This weekend at Kansas Speedway we wanted to highlight several of the team’s crew members that are from the surrounding areas of the track in Kansas and Missouri.

From Kansas:

Ben Weber is the Front Tire Changer for the No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet team and hails from Hanston, Kansas.

From Missouri:

TJ Semke is the Jackman for the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team. Prior to working in NASCAR, Semke attended the University of Kansas where he played football. Semke is from Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Chris Hall is the Director of Pit Crew Operations for Legacy Motor Club teams (. Hall is from Springfield, Missouri and attended Fordland High School.

Jon Phillips is the Engine Tuner for the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team. Prior to working in NASCAR, Phillips worked in NHRA drag racing. Phillips is from Jefferson City, Missouri and attended Jeferson City Highschool.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Off this weekend, NASCAR Xfinity Series prepares for Darlington Raceway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up its 10th race of the season last weekend at Dover Motor Speedway and will have this weekend off as the series prepares Darlington Raceway’s Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 on May 11 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Last Saturday, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ryan Truex found Victory Lane for his second consecutive win at his home track of Dover. Because he is a part-time driver in the Xfinity Series, Truex is not eligible for the Playoffs. Of the eight different winners in 10 races this season, only four of them have clinched their spot in the 2024 Playoffs by virtue of wins – Austin Hill (Daytona, Atlanta), Chandler Smith (Phoenix, Richmond), Sam Mayer (Texas), and Jesse Love (Talladega).

Chandler Smith currently holds the lead in the Xfinity Series points standings with 394 points. Although yet to post a win this season, Cole Custer is right on his tail, just one point back.

Sliding in at third is Austin Hill (-17) with his rookie Richard Childress Racing teammate Jesse Love right behind him in fourth (-57).

Also, searching for a win this season is series veteran Justin Allgaier, who sits in fifth in the standings with 313 points (-81). Riley Herbst (-91), AJ Allmendinger (-99) and Sheldon Creed (-117) assume the next three spots.

Parker Kligerman has had some solid finishes this season, putting him at ninth in the points standings with 261 points (-133). Anthony Alfredo (-147), Sammy Smith (-147) and Brandon Jones (-162) round out the top 12 in points with Ryan Sieg still in the Playoff hunt with 225 points and some near wins the last few weeks.

The Lady In Black Wants To Dance: Darlington Raceway standouts

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is off this weekend but will be back in action next weekend at Darlington Raceway for the Crown Royal Purple Bag 200 on Saturday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Three drivers in the field have conquered the 1.366-mile track and will be pushing to land themselves in Victory Lane yet again as they look to score their first win of the season – JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones, and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer.

Allgaier is a force to be reckoned with at Darlington, with two wins (2021, 2022), seven top fives and 13 top 10s in his 17 starts. He’s had a string of strong finishes in his last six starts at the track, all in the top 10.

Jones’ win at Darlington came in 2020 after taking the lead from Ross Chastain in the final two laps. In his 12 starts, he’s posted one win (2020), two top fives and five top 10s.

Custer has never had a bad race at Darlington, posting a win in 2019 and a top-five finish in four out of his five starts. His only finish outside the top-five was in his debut at the track in 2017 where he finished ninth.

All gas, no brakes: Kansas Speedway up next for some

Although the NASCAR Xfinity Series will not be competing this weekend at Kansas Speedway alongside the Cup Series and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, there are two drivers who will be using the weekend to get some more time in the driver’s seat in the Cup Series – Austin Hill and Riley Herbst.

Hill will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. This will be his second Cup Series start of the 2024 season and his first at Darlington Raceway.

Herbst will be joining Rick Ware Racing behind the wheel of the No. 15 Ford. This will also be his second Cup Series start of the season and his first at Darlington Raceway.

Counting Their Money: Dash 4 Cash bonus was another success

In the final race of Dash 4 Cash, Our Motorsports’ Anthony Alfredo snagged the final NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash win, taking home the $100,000 bonus. He beat his competition – Riley Herbst, Jesse Love, and Ryan Sieg – with a ninth-place finish to take home the big check at Dover.

The overall Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program proved to be another year of success. The program saw four different winners this year. Alfredo was joined by Aric Almirola (Richmond), Sam Mayer (Texas) and Ryan Sieg (Talladega) as the four Dash 4 Cash winners this season.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Noah Gragson to run select Xfinity Series races – Xfinity Series alum Noah Gragson, who now runs fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series in the No. 10 Stewart- Haas Racing Ford, will be back in action in the Xfinity Series for four races this season.

He will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 30 Rette Jones Racing Ford with the help of a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing. Rette Jones Racing has competed fulltime in the ARCA Menards Series.

His first race will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway this month, followed by Nashville, Michigan, and Daytona. The Charlotte race will be his first Xfinity Series start since the 2022 championship at Phoenix Raceway.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to compete in the Xfinity Series again and hope to pick up where we left off,” said Gragson.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to action at Kansas Speedway

After a two-week break, the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to competition this Saturday at Kansas Speedway for the Heart of America 200 (May 4, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio), the eighth race of the 2024 season.

The Kansas Speedway 1.5-mile track has hosted 27 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races, producing 23 different winners and 18 different pole winners.

Four Truck Series races have been won from the pole or first starting position at Kansas, most recently by John H. Nemechek in 2022.

Here’s a look at the drivers who have etched their names in the Kansas Speedway record books:

  • Race record: Matt Crafton 139.857 mph (05/08/2015)
  • Qualifying record: Erik Jones 179.396 mph (05/08/2015)
  • Most races: Matt Crafton (27)
  • Most poles: Ron Hornaday Jr. (3)
  • Most wins: Kyle Busch and Matt Crafton (3)
  • Most top fives: Matt Crafton (7)
  • Most top 10s: Matt Crafton (14)
  • Laps led: Kyle Busch (277)
  • Laps Completed: Matt Crafton (4,148)

The Heart of America 200 will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 30 laps each and the final stage will be 74 laps for a race total of 134 laps (201 miles). 

Practice will begin Saturday, May 4 at 12:05 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying at 12:35 p.m. ET.

Kansas Speedway’s Fearsome Five

In this Saturday’s Heart of America 200, five previous CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Kansas winners are entered, and all four are hoping to find their way back into Victory Lane.

Matt Crafton: The long-time NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver owns a vast majority of the records at Kansas Speedway – the race record (139.857 mph – 05/08/2015), most races (27), most wins (3), most top fives (7), top 10s (14), and laps completed (4,148). The driver of the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford finished 11th in the 2023 Spring Kansas race. Crafton’s most recent win at the 1.5-mile track was in Spring 2020.

Christian Eckes: The breakout star behind the wheel of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet is one of only a handful of drivers who have consistently ran in the top 10 each week – the only exception being at Atlanta (32nd) due to brake failure. In eight starts at Kansas, Eckes has recorded one win (Fall 2023), four top fives, and six top 10s. The 23-year old is the most recent Kansas winner.

Grant Enfinger: The veteran behind the wheel of the No. 9 CR7 Chevrolet has yet to crack the top five this season, but that could change this weekend at Kansas. In 11 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Enfinger’s captured one win (Spring 2023), six top fives, eight top 10s, and has led 132 laps.

Brett Moffitt: The longtime NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series standout and 2018 Truck Series champion begins his multi-race slate in the Sunflower state this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota. In seven starts, the 31-year old has posted one win (Fall 2020), two top fives, four top 10s, and has led 51 laps.

Zane Smith: The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion returns to the Truck Series this weekend piloting the No. 91 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet. The NASCAR Cup Series rookie has made eight starts at the 1.5-mile track in the Truck Series recording one win (Spring 2022), four top fives, and seven top 10s. Smith has also led 221 laps, just 56 laps behind the Kansas Speedway record of 277. The Huntington Beach, California native finished third in the 2023 Spring Kansas race.

Eckes holds onto Truck standings lead with Kansas in his sights

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes has catapulted himself into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series points lead following his fourth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, and after his two-week break heads to Kansas Speedway looing to hold-on to the top spot.

This is just the third time in his career he leads the points standings. Through seven races, there have been four drivers from three organizations that have led the standings – Tyler Ankrum, Ty Majeski, Corey Heim, and now Christian Eckes.

The driver of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Chevrolet is currently two points ahead of TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim in second and 12 points ahead of ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski in third.

Eckes will look to hold on to the standings lead at Kansas Speedway. The 23-year old from Middletown, New York has made eight CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts at Kansas posting one win, four top fives, and six top 10s. Eckes is the most recent Kansas winner in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

Rhodes outside CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff cutoff

Through seven races this season, four drivers have earned their spot in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of their wins – Christian Eckes, Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth – leaving six spots still up for grabs heading into Kansas.

Following Texas, Daniel Dye is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook, five points back from Grant Enfinger in the 10th and final postseason transfer spot on points. Just behind Dye is two-time series champion Ben Rhodes six points back from Enfinger and the postseason cutoff.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Outlook Following Texas Motor Speedway (Race No. 7)
RankDriverPointsStartsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
1Christian Eckes28772313In On Wins
2Corey Heim2857116
3Nick Sanchez2607116
4Rajah Caruth2337105
5Ty Majeski2757022113
6Taylor Gray249700087
7Tyler Ankrum244701182
8Matt Crafton195700033
9Tanner Gray17170009
10Grant Enfinger16770005
11Daniel Dye1627000-5
12Ben Rhodes1617000-6
13Stewart Friesen1507000-17
14Bayley Currey1437000-24
15Jake Garcia1437000-24
16Bret Holmes1317000-36
17Chase Purdy1307000-37
18Dean Thompson1227000-45
19Timmy Hill1197000-48
20Ty Dillon1087000-59
21Layne Riggs #1067000-61
22Mason Massey997000-68
25Spencer Boyd917000-76
26Lawless Alan907000-77
28Matt Mills717000-96
30Thad Moffitt #557000-112

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

Connor Zilisch adds three more races to NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series slate – Spire Motorsports announced that 17-year old racing prodigy Connor Zilisch has added three additional NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races to his ambitious 2024 plans: Richmond (Aug. 10), Bristol (Sept. 19), and Martinsville (Nov. 1).

All totaled, Zilisch will compete in five Truck Series races for Spire Motorsports as part of the organization’s all-star lineup led by veteran crew chief Brian Pattie.

The Mooresville, N.C., native made his debut for Spire Motorsports earlier this season at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) where he qualified on the pole, subsequently setting a new track record. Despite an early race miscue, Zilisch was undeterred and raced his way to a fourth-place finish in his first career NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start.

“It’s pretty hard not to be amped up when you get three more races with someone as talented as Connor Zilisch,” said Brian Pattie. “He’s shaping to be up to be a generational talent and to say he was impressive at COTA would be an understatement, at best. He’s proven that he can drive anything on four wheels so we’re definitely looking forward to having him back in our truck at Richmond.”

Cam Waters returns for second NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race – Australia’s most versatile racer, Cam Waters, will make his second career start in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series this weekend in the No. 66 ThorSport Racing Ford.

Waters made his debut at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago. Despite his limited practice time and unfamiliarity with the truck’s dynamics, he remained optimistic about mastering this new racing environment.

The 29-year old ran as high as 11th before his raced ended pre-maturely after being involved in an incident with 25 laps to go.

“It’s great to be getting another crack at racing the Ford truck for ThorSport and hopefully I can adapt to the Kansas Speedway reasonably quickly,” Waters said. “The track is almost three times long as Martinsville and has an average lap-speed of just on 180-mph, although I have heard it’s less of a bull ring than Martinsville was.”

To add to the excitement this weekend, it was announced that Australian fans will be able to watch Waters’ second career start on Kayo and FOX Sports.

NASCAR PR