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NASCAR Cup Preview – Blake and Moon Analyze Kansas Race

Hollywood Casino 400 Weekend Preview

After two weeks of Gibbs domination, Jimmie Johnson crashed the party in Dover with his eighth win at the concrete oval. This week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the heartland for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Before we preview Sunday’s 400 miler, let’s take a look at the headlines from the week.

Stewart begins rehab on leg

After breaking his tibia an fibula in a Sprint car crash on August 5th, almost two months later, Stewart has begun rehabilitation on his leg. Stewart will work with a therapist three times a week until he is released from care. Stewart plans on getting back in his #14 Chevrolet at the end of January 2014. He’s been telling friends how quickly the body’s strength diminishes while you’re rehabbing. He thinks it will be a long process before he’s behind the wheel again.

Kauffman working on keeping Truex at MWR

With NAPA recently announcing its departure from Michael Waltrip Racing, MWR must find sponsorship to fill the $15 million dollar sponsorship void on the #56 Toyota. Team co-owner, Rob Kauffman is also the owner of RK Motors which has been primary sponsor for six races on the #15 and #55 teams. Kauffman told MRN Radio that the probability is low that his company would sponsor the #56 for the entire season.  “If the team breaks even and is competitive, I’m happy,” Kauffman said. “I’m lucky enough that I don’t get my living from NASCAR, but it has to be commercially viable. That’s the parameters I work around. I’m generally not a quitter. I’m not a miracle worker, but I’m going to do my level best to power through this.” Kauffman said that he plans to remain in Charlotte until the situation is resolved.

Penske renews contract with Miller Lite and Keselowski

MillerCoors announced a multi-year contract with Team Penske and driver, Brad Keselowski. Beginning with the 2014 season through the 2017 season, Miller Lite will serve as the primary sponsor of the #2 in 24 races per season. The brand which has been with Penske since 1991 will serve as an associate sponsor in the other 12 events.

Goodyear brings innovative tire to Kansas

Goodyears’ multi-zone tread tire debuted last month at Atlanta Motorspeedway, resulting in shattering passing records. Goodyear is bringing the same tire to Kansas this weekend for the fourth race in the Chase. The right side tire is made of two different compounds. On the outer zone, the tire is made of a sticky more grip-oriented compound and the inner zone is known as the endurance zone which was built with a more firm compound to prolong the tire life. Teams tested the new tire during a test session on Thursday.

Germain Racing Switching to Chevrolet

Ending a two-year relationship with Ford, Germain Racing has announced they will be leaving the blue oval to become a member of the General Motors family. Germain is expected to form an engine and technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing similar to the relationship they have with Furniture Row Racing. Germain Cup driver Casey Mears drove for RCR in 2009.

Hollywood Casino 400 Preview       

Thirty-eight of the forty-three teams entered took advantage of a four hour test session on Thursday at Kansas Speedway. The practice session was delayed by rain but was quickly dried by NASCAR’s AirTitan which is on hand in Kansas this weekend. Last week’s winner, Jimmie Johnson led the test session with a speed of 182.648 followed by Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Jeff Burton.

Cars will take to the track today for an hour and a half practice session to prepare for their qualifying laps to be held later in the day. Teams will prepare their race setup during Saturday’s two practice sessions. I expect teams will solely focus on qualifying practice on Friday due to the forecast. Today’s forecast is partly sunny skies with an 87 degree temperature. That drastically changes on Saturday with high temperature expected to be in the low 60’s. Sunday is also forecasted to be cooler.

Kansas Speedway is a relatively new track to the series with its 2001 inaugural race. The track was re-paved last season, making this weekend’s race the third race on the new pavement. In the spring race, Matt Kenseth held off a hard charging Kasey Kahne to win. Can he do it again?

Blake’s Points Picks…Who’s in and Who’s out?

IN

1) #20-Matt Kenseth  2149
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson -8
3) #18-Kyle Busch -12
4) #29-Kevin Harvick  -39
5) #24-Jeff Gordon -39
6) #16-Greg Biffle  -41
7) #39-Ryan Newman -48

ON THE BUBBLE

8) #15-Clint Bowyer -51
9) #78-Kurt Busch -55
10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr -57
11) #99-Carl Edwards, -65
12) #22-Joey Logano  -66

OUT, DONE, STICK A FORK IN ‘EM

13) #5-Kasey Kahne  -78

 Blake’s Pick for Kansas

I’m going with a driver who has dominated the mile and half tracks this season including the spring race at Kansas

Getty Images\by Jeff Zelevansky

…Matt Kenseth!

Moon’s Pick for Kansas

Moon’s hoping Danica is pretty in pink this weekend at Kansas.

Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

Danica will be trading in her green Go-Daddy scheme for pink during the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness. Cue Moon singing, “Go Danny, Go”.

Tune into Sunday’s coverage of the Hollywood Casino 400 beginning at 12PM on WBKR and WBKR.com!

 

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