Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - The fourth round in the 10-race Chase for
the Sprint Cup championship takes places at Kansas Speedway. The Nationwide
Series will also be at Kansas. Formula One is in South Korea.
Sprint Cup Series
Hollywood Casino 400 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kan.
Matt Kenseth has another shot at winning three in a row.
Last Sunday, Kenseth finished seventh at Dover after winning the first two
races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- Chicagoland and New
Hampshire. He'll now try to score his third consecutive victory at Kansas
Kenseth won last year's Chase race at Kansas in his final season with Roush
Fenway Racing. The April 21 event here marked his second victory as driver of
the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Entering Sunday's 400-mile race at Kansas, which is round 4 in the Chase,
Kenseth holds an eight-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, who won at Dover. Kyle
Busch is 12 points behind his JGR teammate Kenseth.
Sprint Cup teams arrived at Kansas a day early on Thursday for a Goodyear tire
test. This will the third time the series runs on this 1.5-mile racetrack
since it was repaved during the middle of the 2012 season. Teams familiarized
themselves with Goodyear's new multi-zone tread tire for this race.
"I would have rather left everything alone for us, especially after
(Thursday)," said Kenseth, who was 13th on the practice charts at 180.711 mph.
"It was a struggle. I was glad we got the extra practice. Whenever anything is
working good for you, then you kind of like to leave everything the same. But
yet when you come back it's the same for everybody. You just have to figure it
Johnson posted the quickest lap at 182.648 mph. Chase drivers Carl Edwards and
Kurt Busch were second and third fastest, respectively.
"Goodyear and NASCAR didn't like the fact there wasn't any tire wear, and that
is why they tested a couple of times and having this test day for us," Johnson
said. "They are trying to create the right tire fall-off, so we can have that
side-by-side racing that is everybody's goal."
Five drivers have two victories at Kansas: Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Tony
Stewart, Johnson and Kenseth. No driver has yet to win three races here.
Kenseth has finished no worse than seventh in the last six races at Kansas. He
started on the pole and led 163 of 267 laps at this track in the spring.
"Kansas obviously was brand new, paved, and reconfigured for last fall,"
Kenseth said. "We had a fast car there last year, and then circumstances
worked out where we had to pit and fix some damage, and ended up being in the
front. It's pretty tough to pass with the new pavement, and this past spring,
we just had an unbelievably fast car and were fortunately able to turn it into
Kansas is the second of five mile-and-a-half tracks on the Chase schedule. The
remaining intermediate tracks are: Charlotte (Oct. 12), Texas (Nov. 3) and
Homestead (Nov. 17). Four of Kenseth's series-leading seven wins this season
have come at mile and a halfs.
Johnson's victories at Kansas occurred in September 2008 and October 2011. He
has finished ninth or better in the last nine races here. Johnson placed third
in the spring event.
While Kenseth and Johnson have been impressive at Kansas, Kyle Busch has not.
Busch has scored just two top-10 finishes in 12 races at this track. He
finished 31st in last year's Chase event at Kansas and then 38th here earlier
"We definitely had a great start to our Chase thus far with three top-fives in
a row," Busch said. "We go to one of our worst racetracks on the circuit.
Probably going to be our second biggest test, we feel like, in the Chase.
We're ready for it. We're focused and excited about being able to get there
and have a great weekend in Kansas."
Kevin Harvick is presently fourth in the Chase standings (-39 points),
followed Gordon (-39), Biffle (-41), Ryan Newman (-48) and Clint Bowyer (-51).
Ninth through 13th in points are: Kurt Busch (-55), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-57),
Edwards (-65), Joey Logano (-66) and Kasey Kahne (-78).
Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Hollywood Casino 400.
Kansas Lottery 300 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kan.
The battle for the Nationwide Series championship is heating up between Sam
Hornish Jr. and Austin Dillon.
A sixth-place run for Dillon coupled with a 17th-place finish for Hornish last
Saturday at Dover allowed Dillon to trim Hornish's lead to just four points.
Five races remain. Four of them will be contested on 1.5-mile racetracks,
beginning with this weekend's event at Kansas Speedway. After Kansas, the
series will head to Charlotte (Oct. 11), Texas (Nov. 2) and Phoenix (Nov. 9)
before the season wraps up at Homestead (Nov. 16). Phoenix is one-mile in
Hornish has only one win this season, which came in March at Las Vegas (a
mile-and-a-half track). Dillon has yet to score a Nationwide victory in 2013.
"I think it's going to take top-five finishes, and by top-five finishes, I
don't mean you can finish fifth every weekend for the rest of the year and win
the championship," Dillon said. "I think you need to finish in the top-three
"Sam Hornish, Jr. and I are both really competitive, and in order to win the
championship, the No. 3 (Richard Childress Racing) team is going to have to
finish ahead of him every weekend. Kansas Speedway is a mile-and-a-half track
where we have performed well at in the past. I'm really comfortable there and
looking forward to this weekend's race."
Dillon has gradually crawled back up the Nationwide standings since his 21st-
place finish at Mid-Ohio in mid-August. He dropped from first to fourth in the
rankings at that time. After the Sept. 14 event at Chicagoland, Dillon was 17
points behind Hornish but has trimmed 13 points from his lead in the two races
Both drivers competed in a Nationwide race at Kansas for the first time last
year. Dillon finished second, while Hornish placed ninth.
"Kansas is one of the tracks that we have run better than we have finished,"
Hornish said. "It has changed a lot over the years, and with the resurfacing
they did there last year, it is fast. This weekend is going to be a good one
for us, as our intermediate track program has been solid this year. We know
what we have to work on, and we plan on making the most of it come Saturday.
We are coming down the stretch for the championship, and every position
Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup
Series regulars competing in this event.
Keselowski is driving the No. 22 car for Penske Racing. That car has been to
victory lane in 11 Nationwide races this season, including the last two
events. Ryan Blaney won at Kentucky, and Joey Logano scored the victory at
Busch (2007) and Keselowski (2011) have won a Nationwide race at Kansas in the
Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the Kansas Lottery 300.
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Reliant Park - Houston, Texas
After taking a month-long break, the IndyCar Series is back on track this
weekend with not one race but two.
The series will run its third and final weekend doubleheader this season at a
new venue -- Houston's Reliant Park. Houston is race 17 and 18 on the 19-event
schedule this year. The season concludes on Oct. 19 in Fontana, Calif.
After finishing ninth in the most recent IndyCar race, the Sept. 1 Grand Prix
of Baltimore, Helio Castroneves increased his lead in the championship
standings to a season-high 49 points over Scott Dixon, who finished 19th.
Dixon started on the pole but was involved in a wreck with Will Power
following a restart late in the event.
"Wow, it seems like a long time since we last raced in Baltimore a few weeks
ago," Castroneves said. "It's been tough waiting, but it will make it even
better once we get on track."
Castroneves has scored 12 consecutive top-10 finishes and has completed every
lap in the first 16 races this season. The Team Penske driver has one win,
which came in June at Texas Motor Speedway.
This is the third time Castroneves has led in points with three races to go.
He was atop the standings at this juncture of the season in 2003 and '06.
Castroneves has been in contention for the series title in four of the last
"We know we need to have a strong weekend with two races in front of us and a
close battle for the championship," he said. "We are focused and ready, and
I'm looking forward to getting to know the new Reliant Park street course and
see what we can do."
After winning the GP of Baltimore, Simon Pagenaud moved up to third in the
standings. Pagenaud is 70 points behind Castroneves.
Sebastien Bourdais had a superb performance in Baltimore, finishing third
after starting 22nd. Bourdais won both Champ Car Series races at Reliant Park
from 2006-07. He has yet to win in IndyCar.
"I have great memories from Houston, having won the previous two events at
this track, back in the Champ Car days," Bourdais said. "I sure hope to score
some more podiums and why not a win."
Ten different drivers have been to victory lane in IndyCar this year,
including first-time race winners James Hinchcliffe (St. Petersburg, Fla.),
Takuma Sato (Long Beach, Calif.), Charlie Kimball (Mid-Ohio) and Pagenaud
Each of the two races on the 1.683-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit at
Reliant Park will be 90 laps (153 miles) in length.
Six drivers competing in this weekend's doubleheader have previously raced at
Reliant Park -- Bourdais, Pagenaud, Power, Graham Rahal, Oriol Servia and
"I think it's great to add the Houston street circuit this year," Power said.
"I remember racing there around Reliant Park in 2006 and 2007, and it seemed
to be a really popular event with the fans and a cool venue for a race. It was
a bumpy and challenging street circuit, and I think it's definitely going to
make for an interesting weekend, especially with two races and so many points
on the line for the championship."
IndyCar will conduct a standing start in the first Houston race. In race 2 on
the streets of Toronto (July 14), pole sitter Dixon had a clean getaway and
went on to complete his weekend-sweep there.
Twenty-four teams are on the entry list for the Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of
Korean Grand Prix - Korean International Circuit - Yeongam, South Korea
With six races to go, Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull is on the way to claiming
his fourth consecutive Formula One world championship.
Vettel has won the last three grand prix -- Belgium, Italy and Singapore. He
now holds a 60-point lead over Fernando Alonso from Ferrari and a 96-point
advantage over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
Sunday's Korean Grand Prix is the next round on the 19-race schedule this
Last month in Singapore, Vettel put on a flawless performance by starting on
the pole and leading all 61 laps. He crossed the finish line a whopping 32.6
seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Alonso. The 26-year-old German earned
his 33rd career victory, which put him in sole possession of fourth on F1's
all-time race winners list. Michael Schumacher (91), Alain Prost (51) and
Ayrton Senna (41) have more victories than Vettel.
"In Singapore, we had something of a luxurious situation in that, towards the
end, we could even take it a bit easier and reduce the speed. Let's hope that
it's going to be the same this Sunday."
Vettel has won the last two Korean GPs. Last year, he scored four consecutive
victories late in the season (Singapore, Japan, Korea and India) but claimed
the championship by just three points over Alonso.
"We've done fantastic in the last few races, but that does not mean that you
can bank on it to continue everywhere," Vettel said. "We do have a strong
package. That is a fact. How strong? The weekend will show. Korea is a track
that, in general, suits us."
Alonso won the inaugural Korean GP in 2010, his first season with Ferrari. The
Spaniard is hoping to win in South Korea for a second time and gain ground on
Vettel in the championship battle.
"We have to be realistic that we don't have the pace to beat them (Red Bull)
in normal conditions, and if we do get any luck, you can be sure we will take
it," Alonso said. "We will not give up the fight until it's mathematically
impossible to take the title."
After Korea, F1 moves on to Japan (Oct. 13), then India (Oct. 27), Abu Dhabi
(Nov. 3) and Austin, Texas (Nov. 17) before the season wraps up in Brazil
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