KC would be boring if not for the occasion

Sep 25, 2007 8:39 AM

Race 3 of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship takes us to Kansas City, Kansas.

This will be the seventh Cup race held at the facility that looks terribly similar to other tracks on the circuit. In other words, we can call it a cookie-cutter. It has unique features to itself such as a subtle difference in the banking here and there. Basically, though, it’s a track we have all seen before. It’s also the reason a place like Las Vegas changed its facility to the current high banked track.

Kansas Speedway might possibly produce the most boring race of the season because of the configuration. The fans in Kansas love it because they have racing, I can relate to that. The drivers love it because it’s an easy track to drive. All you have to do is listen to them whine when Las Vegas changed their boring layout.

I’m not talking about wrecks and liking a track that induces more accidents, rather a track that allows for drivers to be more competitive. Last season’s Kansas race had a margin of victory of over 12 seconds. The drama just wasn’t that captivating on television, despite it being a Chase race.

Regardless of how much I dislike this race, there still is an opportunity to make some money on it by being pointed in the right direction. The teams park their Cars of Tomorrow and bring back the car of yesterday for this event. The first thing we need to do is recall who had the best cars. In the last three races using the old car at Pocono, Michigan, and California it would be safe to say that Kurt Busch had the best performance

Busch won collectively by winning two of them and then sitting on the pole of the other. His dominating Michigan performance would probably relate closest to this week Kansas race. The track that could be compared closest to Kansas would have been the old Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Currently, Chicagoland, despite being steeper in banking is the closest overall. California, despite being a half mile longer has almost the same banking. All those tracks have relevance here this week when filtering through the candidates. Jimmie Johnson is the 3-time reigning King of Las Vegas. He also won at California a few weeks ago. Tony Stewart won at Chicagoland in July and then followed that up with a big victory at the Brickyard in his car of yesterday.

Roush Racing has traditionally been the King of the Cookie cutters. Being King and acknowledging that one type of track can lead you to a championship, if you’re good on it, led his teams to two titles. The last two seasons have seen a decrease in wins for Roush on these type of tracks as the Hendrick and Gibbs programs have closed the gap. However, Roush still has two wins on cookie cutters this season with the old car. Matt Kenseth won at California back in February and Carl Edwards won at Michigan in June.

The DEI program will likely hate to see the car of yesterday go away. They put both Dale Earnhardt Jr and Martin Truex Jr in great position to win over the last few races in that car. Mark Martin will be racing this week and it will be interesting to see how the combined resources of the two teams merging affect his car of yesterday. He already had a top 5 car on cookie cutter tracks to begin with. Any insight into what turned DEI around could have a real positive impact on Martin.

1. #2   Kurt Busch 10/1
2. #48   Jimmie Johnson 6/1
3. #1   Martin Truex Jr 20/1
4. #99   Carl Edwards 12/1
5. #17   Matt Kenseth 8/1
33   19 91 of 165