The SpongeBob SquarePants 400, the first of Kansas Speedway’s two Sprint Cup Series races this season, is scheduled to get the green flag at 6:46 p.m. Saturday night. The race will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
The parking lot opens at 9 a.m. Friday. The day’s activities start off in the morning with practice for Sprint Cup drivers, followed by Camping World Truck Series qualifying. The truck race’s green flag on Friday evening is scheduled for 7:49 p.m.
Bring an umbrella
Storms are forecast for the weekend. If a race is delayed by rain and can’t be completed the same day, it will be completed on the next raceable day. Tickets are nonrefundable and are valid only for the rescheduled event, according to Kansas Speedway’s weather policy.
Ned recalls Dale Sr.
Royals manager Ned Yost was a longtime friend of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, whom he often went hunting with during the offseason. Yost talked with The Star’s Tod Palmer about the last hunting trip he took with Earnhardt, two months before Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
At the diamond before the oval
Emporia native Clint Bowyer got to hang out with Royals on Wednesday and even took batting practice. With so many friends and family in the area, Bowyer said this is the busiest weekend of the year for him, even more so than the season-opening Daytona 500.
What did Joplin native Jamie McMurray and his crew do for fun during the winter? Go racing, of course.
McMurray, currently in seventh place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, comes to his hometown track racing with his third crew chief in three seasons. He rented a go-kart facility in Charlotte, N.C., over the winter for his team to build camaraderie.
Positive track records
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval, and given their recent history on such tracks, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson should be considered among the favorites to win the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 on Saturday.
Newman not pleased
Ryan Newman will have to race without three team members, including his crew chief, after NASCAR denied their appeal. He’s not happy with ruling as he prepares for Saturday’s race.
Just a pit stop
Drivers in Friday’s Toyota Tundra 250 are hoping their stint in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series will eventually lead to a ride in the Sprint Cup Series.
Mexican-born Daniel Suarez is the first graduate of both the NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity programs to cross over from the NASCAR Mexico Series. He’s opening doors for other up-and-coming Mexican drivers.
A marked man
Matt Crafton has dominated the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings during the last two seasons, winning the last two Truck titles to become the only driver in series history to claim back-to-back championships. It’s made Crafton something of a marked man.
New safety measures
NASCAR has increased its safety measures since Kyle Busch’s serious injury at an Xfinity Series race in February at Daytona International Speedway. At Kansas Speedway those safety improvements include barrels at the pit-road exit and a tire pack at the pit-road entrance, as well as extension of the wall in turns two and three.