NASCAR & Auto Racing

Ten drivers to watch in Sprint Cup Go Bowling 400

Jimmie Johnson has won three Sprint Cup races at Kansas Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson has won three Sprint Cup races at Kansas Speedway. jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

Here are 10 drivers to watch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Go Bowling 400, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet

Harvick, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion, won at Phoenix and leads the points standings. His average finish of 7.4 is best in the series. Harvick, not known as a good qualifier, won three consecutive poles at Kansas in 2013-14 and won the fall race in 2014. Harvick, 40, finished second to Jimmie Johnson in the May 2015 race.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet

Johnson, a six-time Sprint Cup champion, is tied with former teammate Jeff Gordon for the most wins at Kansas Speedway with three, including the spring race last year. Johnson, 40, leads all active drivers with an average finish of 7.3 at Kansas. He already has two wins this season, at Atlanta and at California.

Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota

Edwards, of Columbia, posted back-to-back wins on the short tracks of Bristol and Richmond last month, assuring himself of another trip to the Chase. Edwards, 36, has been frustrated in his attempts at winning on his home track at Kansas, averaging a 10.6 finish in 17 starts, including 20th in last May’s race in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Carl Edwards, a Columbia, Mo., native, talks about Saturday's Kansas Speedway Go Bowling 400 and teammate Kyle Busch between practice laps at the Speedway Friday, May 6, 2016. Video by Jill Toyoshiba.

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota

Busch, the reigning Sprint Cup champion, has won Cup races at all but three tracks on the schedule, and one of those is Kansas Speedway. Busch, 31, won at Martinsville and Texas earlier this season. In 35 races Busch has started since last May after recovering from a broken leg and ankle, he has seven victories.

Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford

Logano has won two of the last three Sprint Cup races at Kansas Speedway, including last fall’s Chase event when he pushed Matt Kenseth out of the way en route to victory. Logano, 25, who is winless this season, has finished in the top five in his last five starts at Kansas, and he won Xfinity Series races here in 2009 and 2010.

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford

Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, became the series’ fourth two-time winner this season when he won his fourth career race at Talladega Superspeedway last week. Keselowski, 32, won at Kansas Speedway in 2011 and started from the pole in last fall’s race, only to finish ninth.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet

Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, saw his final season delayed by a back injury sustained in an off-season ATV accident. He returned to action April 17 at Richmond, finishing 19th, and gave up his seat to Ty Dillon after the first caution at Talladega. Stewart, 44, will return full time at Kansas, where in 19 starts, he owns two wins and nine top-five finishes. However, he struggled last season at Kansas, finishing 39th in the spring and 35th in the fall.

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota

Hamlin, 35, began the season with a bang by winning the Daytona 500, and he’s done well on intermediate tracks such as Kansas, finishing third at Phoenix and California. Hamlin won the 2012 spring race at Kansas Speedway, and he finished second in the Chase race last fall.

Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing has won five of the first 10 Sprint Cup races, and Kenseth is the only Gibbs driver without a victory. Kenseth, 44, won the first two races on Kansas Speedway’s resurfaced track in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013 but has an average finish of 10.8 in his last five starts.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet

No list can be complete without Earnhardt, the Most Popular Driver in the series for the last 13 years. Earnhardt, 41, has yet to win this season or at Kansas Speedway, but he always makes it exciting. Earnhardt finished third in last spring’s race at Kansas, his best finish in 19 starts at the track.

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