NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400
Kansas Speedway The Purse: $7,536,752
Sunday, May 7 3 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 2 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 Shriners Children’s 200
Darlington Raceway The Purse: $1,399,187
Saturday, May 13 1:30 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 1 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 Heart Of America 200
Kansas Speedway The Purse: $734,551
Saturday, May 6 8 p.m. ET 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
Martin Truex Jr. becomes eighth different Cup Series winner this season
Snapping a 54-race winless streak at Dover Motor Speedway on Monday, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. has become the eighth different driver this season to earn a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 21.
As the latest winner this season, Truex has joined the postseason bound Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Daytona), Kyle Busch (Fontana, Talladega), William Byron (Las Vegas, Phoenix), Joey Logano (Atlanta), Tyler Reddick (Austin), Kyle Larson (Richmond, Martinsville) and Christopher Bell (Bristol Dirt). With eight drivers having already secured their spot in the postseason, plus points leader Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain guaranteed a spot, which leaves just seven positions still up for grabs as the series heads to Kansas Speedway for the AdventHealth 400 on Sunday, May 7 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The Dover win will usher Truex into his 10th appearance in the Playoffs, tying him with Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards for the eighth most Playoff appearances all-time (since 2004).
In 11 starts this season, Truex ranks fourth in the driver point standings having posted one win (Dover), two top fives and four top 10s.
Don’t expect Truex to slow his pace at all this weekend at Kansas Speedway. In 29 NASCAR Cup Series starts at 1.5-mile track he has accumulated two poles, two wins (2017 sweep), 10 top fives and 16 top 10s. He has also led 827 laps there and has an average finish of 12.2.
Kansas Speedway sets the stage for the NASCAR Cup Series
On a short week following the postponement of the Dover Motor Speedway race to Monday, May 1, the NASCAR Cup Series turns its attention to Kansas Speedway for this Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the 12th race of the season. The quarter mark of the 36-race NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
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 (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.
“I think Kansas has been a great race track and from a driver’s standpoint, a fun race track because of the fact, it’s worn in so well,” said veteran Kevin Harvick, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver who has competed in every Cup race since the track opened.
“Kansas has become one of the more unique race tracks because of the fact the asphalt and the shape of the race track is so driver-friendly, as far as where you can drive on the race track,” he continued. “You can literally drive from the wall to the apron all the way around the race track. So, it’s a fun race track.”
In total, there have been 34 NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway; one event from 2001 – 2010 and two races per year since 2011. The 34 Cup Series races have produced 18 different pole winners and 18 different race winners (2001-2022).
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Kansas Speedway with five (fall 2013, 2014 sweep, spring 2018, spring 2019).
This weekend, eight of the 16 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas pole winners are active this weekend.
Active Kansas Pole Winners (8)
Kevin Harvick 5 2019, 2018, 2014 sweep, 2013
Joey Logano 2 2018, 2015
Martin Truex Jr 2 2017, 2016
Tyler Reddick 1 2022
Christopher Bell 1 2022
Ryan Blaney 1 2017
Brad Keselowski 1 2015
AJ Allmendinger 1 2012
Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002, 2014), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2011, 2015), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2016, 2018), Joey Logano (2014, 2015, 2020) and Denny Hamlin (2012, 2019, 2020) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Kansas Speedway with three victories each.
This weekend, nine of the 18 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas winners are active.
Active Kansas Race Winners (9)
Denny Hamlin 3 2020, 2019, 2012
Joey Logano 3 2020, 2015, 2014
Kevin Harvick 3 2018, 2016, 2013
Kyle Busch 2 2021, 2016
Brad Keselowski 2 2019, 2011
Martin Truex Jr 2 2017 sweep
Bubba Wallace 1 2022
Kyle Larson 1 2021
Chase Elliott 1 2018
This weekend’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway is scheduled for 267 laps (400 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.
The NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity at Kansas Speedway is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 6 with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying from 5 – 7 p.m. ET – both events will be televised on FS1.
23XI Racing returns to Kansas Speedway to keep the winning streak alive
Last season, 23XI Racing drivers’ Kurt Busch (May race) and Bubba Wallace (Sept. race) swept the NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway, and now the young organization returns looking to keep the winning streak alive and become the first organization to win three-straight at Kansas Speedway.
23XI Racing became the fourth different organization to win consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas joining Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon, 2001-2002), Furniture Row Racing (Martin Truex Jr., 2017 sweep), and Joe Gibbs Racing (Denny Hamlin, 2019-2020).
This year, 23XI Racing brings back Bubba Wallace – the most recent winner at Kansas – this time in the No. 23 Toyota. And new to this season, Tyler Reddick will be in the No. 45 Toyota – the car/team that won both races last season. Wallace is still looking for his first win of 2023, but Reddick has already won, grabbing his first victory of the year at Circuit of The Americas. At Kansas, Wallace has made 10 starts in the series posting one win, one top five and two top 10s. Reddick has made seven series starts at Kansas posting two top 10s.
Trackhouse Racing drivers bookend the Playoff outlook
Following the 11th race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, nine drivers are currently qualified for the Playoffs either by being the points leader or by virtue of their wins this season. With nine spots occupied, that leaves just seven spots up for grabs as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway.
At one end of the Playoff outlook sits Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, the current points leader, and at the other end, teetering the cutoff line, is Chastain’s teammate Daniel Suarez just three points up on Joe Gibbs Racing’s rookie Ty Gibbs in 17th – the first spot outside the postseason cutoff.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
LEGACY MOTOR CLUB makes the move to Toyota in 2024 – Toyota announced this week a partnership with LEGACY MOTOR CLUB beginning with the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season. With LEGACY M.C. two entries, Toyota will field eight full-time Toyota Camry TRD’s in NCS action starting next season.
“All of us at Toyota are thrilled to add LEGACY MOTOR CLUB to our NASCAR family,” said Jack Hollis, Executive Vice President of TMNA (Toyota Motor North America) and President of Toyota Motor Sales. “While Toyota’s tenure in NASCAR has yielded on-track success, our proudest accomplishments are those relationships that have been built off the racetrack. Jimmie Johnson and Maury Gallagher along with the great club that LEGACY M.C. is assembling, will be a great addition to our existing Cup Series team partners with Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing who are truly part of our family.”
LEGACY M.C. is co-owned by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and businessman Maury Gallagher.
“Maury Gallagher and I are very excited about the partnership with Toyota and TRD beginning in 2024,” said LEGACY M.C. co-owner Jimmie Johnson. “We admire and respect the level at which Toyota conducts their business in this sport and look forward to forging a new legacy for the future. I will always be appreciative to Chevrolet and everything we have accomplished together. I’m so thankful they took a chance on a kid from California so long ago and proud that the history books will forever memorialize our record-breaking success we shared.”
Kansas Speedway revolutionizes fan experience with Highline District – Beginning with the AdventHealth 400 NASCAR Weekend, May 6-7, NASCAR fans can visit Kansas Speedway’s brand-new Highline District in Turn 1. The state-of-the-art Highline District provides unprecedented food, drink, and entertainment options for all fans, while also providing breathtaking views of the racing action.
Highline District amenities include two Chicken N Pickle pickleball courts, live music, photo opportunities and numerous yard games. It’s open to all Kansas Speedway ticket holders and campers and will feature appearances from NASCAR Cup Series stars Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon and Denny Hamlin on Sunday, May 7.
Milestone Watch: Burton, Dillon, Gilliland and Keselowski – Over the next several weeks a few NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be making milestone starts in their series careers.
Next week at Darlington Raceway, Harrison Burton is expected to make his 50th NASCAR Cup Series career start.
Then in a couple of weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Austin Dillon is expected to make his 350th NASCAR Cup Series career start, and Todd Gilliland will also be making his 50th NASCAR Cup Series career start at CMS.
At World Wide Technology Raceway RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski will become the 46th different driver all-time to eclipse the 500 starts mark in the NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ryan Truex conquered Dover’s Monster Mile
Most drivers dream of the opportunity to post a win at their hometown track and last weekend, Ryan Truex was able to make that dream a reality. It wasn’t just an ordinary win for the Mayetta, N.J. native – it was his first-ever in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Truex came into the race strong, finding his way to the front on Lap 34. He swept both stages and ultimately led a career-high 124 of the 200 laps.
The part-time driver of the No. 19 Toyota, Truex, has made five starts this season thus far with Joe Gibbs Racing, posting one win (Dover) three top fives and three top 10s. His next race with the team will be in two weeks at Darlington Raceway.
Truex has made three starts at the 1.366-mile Darlington track (2011, 2018, 2022). He posted a best finish of 15th in 2018.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Standings Update: Darlington up next
The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up its 10th race of the season at Dover Motor Speedway last weekend where Ryan Truex found his way to Victory Lane. Because he is a part-time driver in the series, there are still only five drivers who have clinched their spot in the Playoffs with their respective wins – Austin Hill (Daytona, Las Vegas, Atlanta), John Hunter Nemechek (Auto Club, Martinsville), Sammy Smith (Phoenix), Chandler Smith (Richmond) and Jeb Burton (Talladega).
With a top-five finish at Dover, Hill was able to hang on to his lead in the standings, sitting with 377 points, but Nemechek is still right on his heels, just four points behind with 373.
Chandler Smith clings to his third-place spot with 309 points while teammates Josh Berry (334) and Justin Allgaier (328) have moved up to the fourth and fifth place spots, respectively. Allgaier could very well clinch his spot next weekend at Darlington, as he has two wins under his belt (2021, 2022) at the 1.366-mile track.
Cole Custer, who won the last segment of Dash 4 Cash last weekend, now sits in sixth with 318 points with Sheldon Creed right behind him with 314.
Riley Herbst (-65) and Sammy Smith (-81) assume the next two slots in the standings and Daniel Hemric takes up the 10th spot with 284 points.
JRM teammates Sam Mayer (-110) and Brandon Jones (-119) come in next in the Playoff hunt.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle: Chandler Smith in the lead
The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have 10 races under their belts as they take the weekend off before coming back to the action at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 13.
Currently leading the pack is the Chandler Smith. The Kaulig Racing driver has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond), four top fives and five top 10s. He sits in third in the overall standings with 339 points.
Sliding in next is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith, who also secured his spot in the Playoffs with his first Xfinity Series career win at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. He has racked up 296 points with his one win, three top fives and four top 10s.
Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff is third in the rookie class with 199 points. He has posted one top five and two top 10s in his 10 starts this season.
Closing out the competition is Blaine Perkins with 64 points.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Brennan Poole to run at Kansas Speedway – Although the NASCAR Xfinity Series will not be running at Kansas Speedway this weekend, Brennan Poole won’t be taking a break.
The 32-year-old driver will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 15 Ford for Rick Ware Racing for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.
This will be Poole’s second Cup Series start of the season and his third start at Kansas Speedway in the series.
Kyle Larson to join Kaulig Racing at Darlington – The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson will be pulling double duty at Darlington Raceway next weekend. He will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 10 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing.
This will be Larson’s first Xfinity Series start of the 2023 season.
“I’m looking forward to competing in the Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway in a few weeks with Kaulig Racing and HendrickCars.com,” said Larson. “Darlington is a challenging track and definitely one on the top of my list that I’m eager to get a win at. The Kaulig Xfinity cars have been really fast this year too so I’m thankful for the opportunity to run double-duty and hopefully we’ll have a good shot at a win.”
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to race under the lights at Kansas Speedway
After a two-week break, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series jumps back into action under the lights this weekend at Kansas Speedway for the Heart of America 200 (Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kansas Speedway has hosted 25 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races with the inaugural event coming in 2001, a race won by Ricky Hendrick. It was his only career win in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
There have been 21 different Truck Series winners at the 1.5-mile track. Kyle Busch and Matt Crafton are tied for the series lead with three wins apiece.
Toyota Tundras lead the pack with the most wins in the Sunflower state, coming in with 11; including last season’s winner John Hunter Nemechek.
Season Manufacturer Race Winners
2005 Toyota Todd Bodine
2009 Toyota Mike Skinner
2013 Toyota Matt Crafton
2014 Toyota Kyle Busch
2015 Toyota Matt Crafton
2016 Toyota William Byron
2017 Toyota Kyle Busch
2018 Toyota Noah Gragson
2020 Toyota Austin Hill
2021 Toyota Kyle Busch
2022 Toyota John H. Nemechek
Practice and qualifying for the Heart of America 200 will be Saturday, May 6 at 11:05 a.m. ET on FS1.
NASCAR Ladder: Tony Breidinger to make CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut for TRICON Garage
The next of many drivers this season climbing the NASCAR ladder system is ARCA Menard Series star and driver for Venturini Motorsports, Toni Breidinger, who will join the TRICON Garage team this weekend at Kansas Speedway as she pilots the No. 1 Victoria’s Secret Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. The 23-year-old will attempt to make her series debut, breaking ground as the first Arab American woman to compete in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
Last September, Breidinger was featured in Victoria’s Secret’s 2022 Fall Collection Campaign, and this season the fashion icon company is sponsoring her at Kansas Speedway.
Breidinger has nine top-10 finishes in 35 career ARCA Menards Series career starts. Prior to transitioning to stock cars, she had 19 victories in her United States Auto Club (USAC) open-wheel midget career.
The San Francisco Bay area native will run double-duty this weekend, competing in the ARCA Menard Series Dawn 150 before her CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut later that evening.
Though this will be her first start in the Truck Series at Kansas, she does have four ARCA Menards Series starts at 1.5-mile track, having posted two top-10 finishes.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch: Sunflower state edition
Through 25 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway, there are several drivers who have consistently been at the front of the pack.
ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton holds several Kansas Speedway records – most top fives (7), most top 10’s (14), starts (25), and laps completed (3,889). He finished ninth in last year’s spring race.
Kyle Busch, who earned Kyle Busch Motorsports’ first CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory in April 2010, will be looking to collect his organization’s 100th NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win on Saturday. Through six starts at Kansas Speedway, Busch is tied with Crafton for series-most wins with three and has only finished outside of the top-10 once.
Defending Kansas race winner, Zane Smith, has finished in the top-10 five times in six career starts. Since the beginning of the 2022 season, the driver of the No. 38 Ford has done exceptionally well at 1.5-mile tracks with six top-five finishes. He finished second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this season.
Niece Motorsports’ Ross Chastain has experienced both ups and downs at Kansas Speedway. The driver of the No. 41 Chevrolet has two DNF’s (2012, engine and 2020, brakes) but finished first (2019) and second (2021) in his only other starts.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Daniel Dye to drive #RaceToStopSuicide No. 43 Chevrolet – In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, GMS Racing announced Daniel Dye will run a special #RaceToStopSuicide paint scheme this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Off the track, the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet showcases his philanthropic character by working closely with Race to Stop Suicide, an initiative that is driven to normalize the conversation and stigma surrounding mental health, as well as provide resources and education to professionals across the country.
Blake Bainbridge joins GMS Racing as Crew Chief of the No. 43 – GMS Racing announced this week a shift in leadership for the No. 43 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series team, as Blake Bainbridge will assume the role of Crew Chief for Daniel Dye, replacing Travis Sharpe, who has amicably parted ways with the organization. Bainbridge joins the team from Halmar-Friesen Racing, where he most recently served as Crew Chief on the No. 52 entry driven by Stewart Friesen.
“You know, I’m really looking forward to taking on a new challenge with all the talented people at GMS Racing,” said Bainbridge a Hueytown, Alabama native. “I haven’t really known Daniel all that well, but from looking at how well he was able to run in ARCA last year, I can tell that he is hungry to prove himself. Having the chance to guide a rookie is something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed during my career, so working Daniel is going to be fun. I’m thankful for the opportunity and am ready to make the most out of this season with our No. 43 team.”
Graphics Courtesy of NASCAR