Kansas – Cup Series News And Notes

Kevin Harvick is coming off a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Dover International Speedway the past weekend and is looking to go back-to-back for the second time this year. Harvick has two wins here at Kansas Speedway, the last one coming in the fall of 2016 almost two years ago.

He explained why it is one of his favorite tracks and how far the speedway has come.

“I feel like this has honestly been one of our best race tracks as I’ve gone through the years,” Harvick said, “and especially since I’ve come to SHR. I don’t feel like we’ve won as many races here as we probably should have – some of it of our own doing and some of it just circumstances, but we’ve always run really, really well here and, for me, I look forward to coming here for a number of different reasons.

“Not only do we run well at the race track, but I think when you look at this race track, I saw it when it was just the race track and the highway here. Now you look at what’s around it and everything has been built around what you’re sitting in right now. To me, that is something that’s pretty neat to see just because of the fact that the race track was here first and it’s easy to get from the airport. It’s one of the better race tracks on the schedule as far as convenience, in my opinion, because there is so much to do now. It’s so conveniently off the highway and from the airport and the airport is easy to get in and out of.

“There are just a number of things that I look forward to coming here and sitting in the casino watching the Truck race tonight eating dinner is not too bad either. It’s just a good place to come and, like I say, we run well here, but it’s just a good experience and I just enjoy the surroundings of everything that is outside of the race track as well. I enjoy that.”

Matt Kenseth returns to racing for the first time since Homestead of last year. However, he is back driving the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Kansas Speedway has been a special place for the Cambridge, Wisconsin driver. At Kansas, he has two wins, seven top five’s and 13 top 10 finishes, along with an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 14.7. Kenseth scored back-to-back victories in 2012 and 2013. He gives his thoughts about what his expectations are for the weekend.

“I don’t have any expectations for the weekend. I just don’t know,” Kenseth said. “I don’t know how fast we’ll get up to speed and fight that type of thing. I came into this weekend with pretty much no expectations. Kind of came in with an open mind, taking one practice at a time and we’ll go from there.”

Aric Almirola returns to Kansas this weekend on what will be the one year anniversary of his dangerous wreck that took place last year. However, he has put that behind him and is focusing on 2018. Almirola is having a solid year with a 12.7 average finish. The No. 10 Smithfield driver has a best finish of sixth this season at Bristol. He explains what it would mean to him and the Stewart Haas Racing team if they make the Playoffs this year.

“I think it would be huge to do that,” Almirola said. “We went into the year hoping to be a team that’s capable of winning a championship and making the playoffs. I think we’re on target for that. We knew at the beginning of the year there would be some growing pains. You know, I feel like overall as a whole our company is a championship caliber company and all three of our other cars are showing speed, and doing what they need to do to make the playoffs. We need to do our part and so far we are. I feel like if we didn’t make the Playoffs, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But, we have the resources, the people at Stewart-Haas Racing, the cars capable of doing that. I keep saying it, but it’s up to Johnny (Klausmeier), my team, myself to go out and get the job done. I feel like we’re currently on pace to do that and we just have to continue to build, and get better.”

“I hope to be peaking by the time we get to the Playoffs. I think we have 15 more races until the playoffs start and so, that gives 15 more weeks to grow together and continue to build our foundation. So when we do start the Playoffs, we’re firing on all seven cylinders.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece 400 is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday night and will be broadcast on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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