The penalties NASCAR levied against Penske Racing and drivers Brad Keselowsi and Joey Logano last week, Kyle Busch’s recent winning streak, a record-breaking qualifying session with Ford taking four of the top six spots and Martin Truex, Jr’s determination to snap a 210-race winless streak are some of the storylines going into today’s 3rd Annual STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano were docked 25 points each after infractions were found during inspection before the race at Texas Motor Speedway April 13th. Keselowski dropped from second to fourth in the 2013 standings while Logano dropped from ninth to 14th.
"I feel like we've been targeted over the last seven days more than I've ever seen a team targeted," Keselowski told the media Saturday night in Texas.
Five-time champ Jimmie Johnson leads the point race by 18 points over Kyle Busch with seven races in the books. Johnson starts 21st today, Kyle Busch rolls off fifth.
Busch won at Fontana last month then dominated Texas from the pole to complete a sweep of both weekends. The JGR driver has returned to his winning ways after a dismal 2012 season.
Matt Kenseth broke a short-lived track record set by Kasey Kahne last fall in the first appearance of the Generation 6 car on the one race old Kansas surface. Kenseth was as surprised as anyone when he knocked former teammate Carl Edwards off the pole late in Friday’s qualifying session.
“It’s unexpected,” Kenseth said after circling the 1.5-mile oval at 191.864 in the No. 20 Toyota. “We didn’t think we had a chance.”
Carl Edwards, looking for his first Sprint Cup win at Kansas, starts second this afternoon.
“I really wanted to be on the pole,” Edwards said on Friday. “This car is fast. It’s gonna be a great race on Sunday and I feel like our guys have done a really good job with our test here and what we’ve prepared for the race, so you never know. This is a cool track. To win here would be huge.”
Martin Truex, Jr., coming off a second-place finish at Texas, was runner up in both visits to Kansas last year.
“I want to win worse than anything in the entire world, and I’m not going to stop till I get it,” Truex, Jr. told FOX Sports. “I’m definitely excited to be here at Kansas. We ran second here both times last year, and, hopefully, we can improve that by one spot.”
FOX has live coverage of the 2013 STP 400 beginning today at 1:00 p.m. ET.
NASCAR STP 400 Starting Lineup
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Carl Edwards
3. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
4. Sam Hornish, Jr.
5. Kyle Busch
6. Aric Almirola
7. Martin Truex, Jr.
8. Mark Martin
9. Ryan Newman
19.Juan Pablo Montoya
23.Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
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