Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway: Picks and Predictions

NASCAR drivers are all set to compete for the 2017 edition of the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.  Kyle Busch will once again attempt to defend his victory this year in the Kansas spring race on Sunday. Catch the live actions from the track this Sunday on DSport, at 4.30am.

Look here at the top contenders who will be battling on the track for the championship title:

Kevin Harvick 

Harvick has an incredible record at Kansas since moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. In six races, he has four top-five finishes. Harvick has finished the last three spring races at Kansas in second place. He won at the track last October. Harvick has a series-best 122.7 driver rating and the second-best average finishing position (5.25) in the last four races at Kansas.

These feats makes him a solid pick, in particular when you study the 2014 champion’s career numbers. Harvick is second among all active drivers in average finish position at Kansas and ranks third in laps led. If Harvick starts towards the front, he has high dominator potential.

Jimmie Johnson 

Johnson sits atop most categories when it comes to Kansas, he has always been a steady performer at this oval-track. He is tied with Jeff Gordon in most all-time wins with three. He is second all-time behind him with nine top fives and owns the most top-10 finishes in track history with 17 in 21 starts. His 8.9 is also the best average finish among all active drivers.

Johnson hasn’t won at Kansas since the spring of 2015, but he does have two top-five results in the three races since. After a bit of a slow start, Johnson picked up a win at Texas a couple of weeks ago, so he could be back on track at the 1.5-mile ovals.

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex has arguably been the best Cup Series driver on 1.5-mile tracks over the past year and a half. He led the most laps on intermediate tracks last season, earning three victories. He’s already picked up a win at one in 2017 (Las Vegas).

Truex has led the most laps in two of the last four races at Kansas, including 172 in the May race last year. Through three races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, Truex has three Top 10s, including a win. Chances are he’ll be ready to bounce back after a Talladega wreck ruined his Sunday.

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing has been searching for consistency in the early months of the year, but Busch’s numbers at Kansas are tough to ignore. He is the defending winner of this weekend’s race.

Kyle has led at least one lap in four of the last six Kansas races. His average finish of 18.4 is skewed by a three-race stretch from 2012-13, in which he wrecked out of all three. In the past four races he has run at the track, Kyle’s worst finish is fifth place. The younger Busch was one lap behind of picking up his first win of the season at Talladega last weekend.

Matt Kenseth

Kenseth has the most laps led all-time at Kansas with 774. He has led laps in nine of the past ten races, including the most in the fall event last season. He will try his best to give the team their best chance at winning their first race this Sunday early morning.

Kenseth has led the most laps (273) and he has the second-best driver rating (116.8) in the last four races at Kansas. He has two wins at the track on his resume. It would not surprise me to see him back in Victory Lane this week.

Ryan Blaney

Even though Blaney has only four career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series starts at Kansas, it is one track on the circuit where he has the most experience. While racing part-time in 2015, he made starts in both races at the track. Last season, he set a career high fifth-place performance before slipping a bit to 14th last time out.

If Blaney can manage to race cleanly, he would be a strong candidate for a finish of 15th or better.

Chase Elliott

Elliott picked up a Top 10 in his Kansas debut last year, and he continues to establish himself as one of the premier drivers at the intermediate ovals. He has a 5.7 average finish in the three 1.5-mile track events in 2017 and has yet to finish outside the Top 10.

 Ryan Newman

Newman has six straight top-15 finishes at Kansas. He finished seventh in the spring race and 12th in the fall last year. Newman already has one win this season, paired with three top 10s. He has led laps in four out of ten races run in 2017.

Newman was one of three cars involved in the wreck that sent last weekend’s race into overtime. He ran as high as first place and was running fifth at the midway point before falling back. Despite being a critic of plate racing the team still enters Kansas with plenty of momentum.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Stenhouse was as dominant as possible at Talladega. At a track and race that was full of mayhem, he started on the pole, led 14 laps, and picked up his first career MENCS win in thrilling fashion.

Roush Fenway Racing has improved as a team in 2017, but Stenhouse himself has stepped up to another level. He is now locked into the playoffs and could be an underdog pick for more wins this season.

Jamie McMurray

McMurray is off to a solid start to the season, entering Sunday’s race fifth in the standings. He hasn’t won a race since 2013 but as teammate Kyle Larson has proved, Chip Ganassi Racing has plenty of speed at 1.5-mile layouts.

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