Heading into a triple-header (ARCA & NASCAR), full throttle weekend of racing at the newly repaved Kansas Speedway, I had 5 Questions about a number of scenarios that could play out as a result of the unpredictable nature of the new surface. Of course, the racing in the “Land of Oz” proved nothing short of being action-packed, exciting and historical.
Here are the answers to my 5 Questions coming out of Kansas:
Will the “hometown boy” finally get a win in Kansas? Unfortunately, Emporia, KS native Clint Bowyer was not able to capture the checkered flag but he did cross the finish line sixth and is currently sitting fourth in the points standings (-25 behind the leader). This proved to be an extremely successful day for the driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota because he was able to stay clear of the record setting cautions which plagued the Hollywood Casino 400.
Is there a new Cup points leader on the horizon? Brad Keselowski remains the Chase for the Sprint Cup points leader; however, that lead has been shrunk to seven points with five-time champion Jimmie Johnson hanging close to his bumper. Denny Hamlin (-20), Clint Bowyer (-25) and Kasey Kahne (-30) are the other three drivers rounding out the top five who are still in contention for the coveted championship.
Can Chris Buescher become the 30th ARCA Series title winner? Chris Buescher did become the 30th ARCA Series title winner by crossing the finish line eighth and leading nine-time champion, veteran driver Frank Kimmel (-75) in the points standings. Additionally, history was made by Buescher becoming the second youngest champion at 19 and only other driver to win “Rookie of the Year” then the series championship in consecutive years.
Who will be the Nationwide points leader leaving the “Land of Oz”? Elliott Sadler was able to maintain his points lead in the series by finishing fourth despite the reigning Nationwide champion winning the Kansas Lottery 300. Stenhouse Jr. had to overcome a lot of adversity in order to capture the checkered flag. As a result, he is currently sitting six points behind Sadler in the standings.
How will Regan Smith, Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team prevail? In the second consecutive week of Dale Earnhardt Jr. being sidelined due to injuries, Regan Smith piloted the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet in Kansas. Through a collective effort, the race team managed to stay out of trouble and was able to cross the finish line seventh.
*News Update: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be returning to competition in Martinsville, click here.
Bonus Questions: What will the racing be like on the new track surface? Will Kansas be another game changing race that will shake up the Cup points standings? Will the weather cooperate throughout the entire race weekend?
In regards to the bonus questions, I have some simple short answers … (1) the new track surface equated to unpredictable and caution-filled racing, (2) a major game changer in the Cup standings was five-time champion Jimmie Johnson being able to get within seven points of leader Brad Keselowski despite a huge self-induced wreck and (3) the ever-changing fall weather in Kansas did produce some decent racing conditions over the course of the weekend.
Unique Hiram is an Associate Editor/Contributing Writer/Media Rep 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.