Thursday, April 19, 2012

5 Questions Before … STP 400




The “5 Questions Before/After” column created and written by Summer Dreyer became an instant hit for Skirts and Scuffs. It has been a while since our readers have been graced with its uncanny one-of-a-kind presence. We’ve been granted permission to revive its existence so you are invited to sit back, enjoy and chime in.

I am sure that there are more than five questions going into this upcoming weekend at Kansas Speedway; however, time only allots for a select few to be mentioned. There are just not enough hours in the day for all of the topics that we could cover at this time.

So race fans, here we go …

Will Rick Hendrick get his 200th win this weekend? … This seems to be one of the most talked about topics on/off the track this season. Will this be the historic weekend? Which driver will be the saving grace – Gordon or Johnson? Well, let’s see – it’s been two weeks in a row that “THE WIN” has eluded this team (Martinsville & Texas). In both of these previous races, a Hendrick driver was up front and looking to sail into Victory Lane UNTIL … well we won’t rehash the past two weeks but you get the picture, right? For the record, two of the four drivers have a couple of wins at this track – Gordon (’01, ’02) and Johnson (’08, ’11).

Note: Don’t count Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the equation because he is sitting third in points standings and finished second in the 2011 STP 400. Additionally, Kasey Kahne finished second in 2011 Hollywood Casino 400 (although driving for another race team, he knows his way around this track).

Which Roush driver (if any) will continue to be the Cup points leader? … Greg Biffle is the current Sprint Cup points leader followed closely behind by teammate Matt Kenseth (-19). Due to the fact that fuel mileage can be a factor at Kansas Speedway, there is a huge possibility that the points lead may change when the checkered flag waves. Statistically speaking, let’s take a look at these numbers: Biffle (Wins: 2, T5s: 6, T10s: 8, Poles: 1) and Kenseth (Wins: 0, T5s: 3, T10s: 6, Poles: 1). These are impressive numbers but will it really matter if either one of them runs out of fuel? My thoughts … probably not because that would definitely be a game changer.

Can any of the hometown boys finally take the checkered flag? … The three hometown boys (actually two of them are technically from Missouri) have yet to take the checkered flag in Kansas. Yes, it would be awesome to have one of them win this race but “Lady Luck” hasn’t been on their side thus far. Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS) has one top 5 and three top 10s; Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO) has four top 5s and seven top 10s; and Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO) has only two top 10s at this track. Do these stats really mean anything – well, maybe?

Is  “The Rowdy One” down for the count or will he make a huge comeback? … Kyle Busch hasn’t achieved that much success this season thus far and it has been surprising that he does not have numerical data in the win column at this point. Granted, he is a talented athlete whose driving style (when not coupled with anger) has been both magical and entertaining. Is he down for the count – definitely not! He is just going through a slump and unfortunately is heading to a track that hasn’t been the friendliest to him (Wins: 0, T5s: 0, T10s: 1, Avg. Finish: 18.1). Who knows –he may just surprise everyone this weekend because he does have that Rocky Balboa attitude – “Eye of the Tiger.”

What will the weather conditions be like – wind to be or not to be? … As we all know the weather conditions in the Midwest can be a little tricky around this time of year. There are thunderstorms, tornadoes, wind and more wind. Don’t fret – the meteorologist has predicted 72 degrees of sunny weather with no chance of rain or windy conditions. This should be the cause for a huge celebration but wait we will be in Kansas. Keep your fingers crossed – maybe the Land of Oz will provide perfect weather for what deems to be an exciting, unpredictable race.

Bonus Questions: Who will make the highlight reels for the most bizarre moves on the track? … Will we still be talking about and analyzing why win 200 didn’t happen this weekend for the Hendrick camp? … How many fans will be in the grandstands this weekend?


Opinions expressed are those solely of the author

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Unique Hiram is an Associate Editor/Contributing Writer for Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, she is also the author of "Fast Lane Poetry" which was published April 2011. Unique can be contacted via email or through Twitter.

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