NASCAR Sprint Cup Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps)
Sunday, Oct. 5 2 p.m. (ET) TV: ESPN, 1 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway
Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, Oct. 4 3:30p.m. (ET) TV: ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Fred’s 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway
Distance: 250 miles (94 laps)
Saturday, Oct. 18 3:30 p.m. (ET) TV: FOX, 3 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

16 drivers Challenger Round # 1, 12 drivers Contender Round # 2

The second segment of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, known as the Contender Round, this Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). The Contender Round spans three events (Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega), and just like the Challenger Round, the four winless drivers with the lowest points totals will be eliminated at its conclusion. Any championship-qualifying driver that wins one of the three races automatically moves on to the eight-driver Eliminator Round. The 12 Contenders are all on a level playing field – each had their points reset to 3,000 for Kansas. (They are officially ordered in the same way they finished the Challenger Round in points.)

The Monster Mile shattered the hopes and dreams of four former Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers at Dover. AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch were all eliminated from Chase contention following the last race of the opening Challenger Round as the field shrunk from 16 to 12.

My picks to win Kansas Speedway
Car 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet:
Car 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet:
Car 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet
Car 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet:
Car 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford:
Car 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford:
Car 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet:
Car 5 Kasey Kahne Time Warner Cable Chevrolet:

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Time is running out for Regan Smith to catch his JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings. Just five races remain and a daunting but not insurmountable 26 points separate the two teammates.

Smith has already scored a career-high 24 tops 10s, but it still hasn’t been enough to earn the top spot. He has posted one win (Daytona), seven top fives.

Smith’s consistency this season is unmatched, but it will take a slip-up by Sunoco Rookie Elliott for Smith to close the points gap. Elliott has not only been impressive all season long, but near perfect. Elliott heads to Kansas having posted three wins (Texas, Darlington and Chicago), 14 top fives and 22 top 10s. If Elliott can continue to produce like he has the first 28 races of the season, then the championship is his to lose. Though, among the five remaining tracks, Elliott has yet to compete at Kansas and Homestead-Miami. He also must rebound from his first time around at Charlotte where he posted his worst finish of the season (37th).

Smith’s experience at these five final tracks just might be what gives him a shot at the series title. Smith dominated most of the race last season at Kansas leading 81 laps and finishing third. He has four top 10s in his last six starts at Charlotte, three top 10s in his last three starts at Texas, two top 10s in his last two starts at Phoenix and he won at Homestead in 2012.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

In a race that featured a Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series track-record 18 lead changes, Erik Jones played his cards right to pull off the last one. The 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver passed his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. with 14 laps remaining and held him off the rest of the way to win Saturday’s Rhino Linings 350. Don’t cue up the victory to beginner’s luck either. Jones has collected three wins and 10 top-10 finishes in a mere 14 starts over the span of 10 months. His Sin City statement came just one week after Cole Custer broke his record for youngest winner of a NASCAR national series race.

While Jones stood front and center, it was also a banner weekend for KBM. The racing outfit posted its 10th victory of the season and its first-ever triumph in its owner’s hometown of Las Vegas. Only three tracks remain on the current NCWTS schedule at which KBM has yet to win.

Furthermore, KBM’s Truck 51 Toyota Tundra extended its dominance on 1.5-mile tracks, capturing its fifth win in the last six races on courses of that distance. Jones’ win was his first on a 1.5-mile track in only his second start. Busch won each of the other four races. With five NCWTS races remaining on the docket, Jones is scheduled to pilot the Truck 51 three more times this season with Busch taking the wheel for the other two. Jones will hit the pavement next in the Fred’s 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, Oct. 18 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX).

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