Tag Archives: Kansas Speedway

Joey Logano has come into his own and is on his way to a Championship

Last week Joey Logano won at Charlotte Motor Speedway to solidify his spot in the NASCAR Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He didn’t stop there. He went on to win at Kansas Speedway in order to keep any other competitor from locking himself into that next round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Logano’s trip is not without controversy. In the final laps he was in second place to Matt Kenseth. Kenseth was doing all he could do to keep the faster Logano behind. He took his line up high and then took the low line when he moved down. Joey Logano did what Kenseth did in order to protect his position on the track. Unfortunately, Kenseth was spun out and finished 14th.

There wasn’t too many seasons ago when Logano wouldn’t have done that. Not that he did anything wrong. Kenseth was blocking. Blocking like Tony Stewart bitches about but does the same. Now that I said that, I can also say I don’t blame Matt Kenseth one bit. That is how it’s done, and to some extent Joey Logano learned it and dealt with it.

Roger Penske said, “I saw a couple times Joey got squeezed off of two and I think over in three, and as they went down into one Joey had a fender up inside.  He was on the outside of the 20 and he got in the wall.  I don’t know if you saw that or not, and then he turned down, Joey did, to take the lower lane and there was another car up there – I think a slower car – and then Kenseth came down.  Unfortunately, they got together.  I don’t like to see that any more than anybody else does.  It’s one of those racing accidents.  It’s real tough when it’s in this kind of a situation, but there was no question that Kenseth was doing everything he could to keep Joey from going by.

Joey Logano said, “Yeah, it’s hard racing.  With 15 to go I got to the outside of him down the backstretch, and I had to lift not to wreck both of us at that point, and then kind of got put in the same situation down the front stretch, and then we just happened to go in the same corner and we both went for the same piece of real estate.  I wanted that middle lane and so did he, and we collided there.  So good hard racing, you know.  We ran each other hard.  He ran me hard, I ran him hard back.  That’s just the type of driver I am, the type of racer I’m going to be, and it just comes to that point sometimes to — it’s unfortunate that those things happen, you know, and it’s just hard to — it doesn’t take anything away from our win today.”

This is racing, racing that NASCAR has given us via the Chase, and I love it. We not only have actually racing for a Championship late in the season but we have defensive racing in order to keep a competitor from making a Championship run. Joey Logano has now taken it to an even higher level in the second year of this knock out format of the Chase. He won two races in a round keeping others from guaranteeing themselves a spot in the next round.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 313485 Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

NASCAR and SpongeBob SquarePants It Just Makes Sense

This week NASCAR returns to the Kansas Speedway for the for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 Sprint Cup Series race. In addition to being the title sponsor of the race there will be cars featuring some of the characters.

The kids cable channel Nickelodeon is sponsoring the race and featuring one of their most popular shows SpongeBob SquarePants. NASCAR racing is lots of fun but how about adding in some guaranteed fun including some specially painted cars.

Greg Biffle, driving the No. 16 Cheez-It/ Patrick Star Ford Fusion

Michael McDowell, driving the No. 95 WRL/Larry the Lobster Ford Fusion

Casey Mears, driving the No. 13 Squidward Tentacles Chevrolet SS

David Ragan, driving the No. 55 Aarons/SpongeBob SquarePants Toyota Camry

It is sad that because of sponsorship issues there aren’t more cars getting in on the fun and getting painted up with some of the other Bikini Bottom characters. We need Krusty Krab and Plankton. We could have a crew chief sporting the Sandy Cheeks character because in Bikini Bottom anything is possible even a scientist squirrel from Texas.

It’s really fun to be part of the Nickelodeon lineup for the Kansas race and get to feature Patrick Star and Cheez-It on our No. 16 Ford,” Biffle added, “Nickelodeon does a lot to bring sports to kids, which is something that is important and I’m glad to be a part of it.  Kansas is a good track for us and Saturday night races are always exciting.  Hopefully we can get another Kansas win.

Greg Biffle is on to something. Call it a gimmick or just special sponsorship, adding some extra fun to the whole NASCAR race makes it more memorable. If this can bring more fans to the sport and great memories; than this is a win for everyone.

Let’s keep the SpongeBob SquarePants fun going, nominate the driver you think should be Gary in the comment section below and remember “Life is EXTREME as you wanna MAKE IT.”

If you cannot make it to the Kansas Speedway for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 it will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, May 9 2015 at 7 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing You Tube


Jimmie Johnson with his SpongeBob Fire Suit at Charlotte in 2004. Credit: 85113 Sherryl Creekmore/NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson with his SpongeBob Fire Suit at Charlotte in 2004.
Credit: 85113 Sherryl Creekmore/NASCAR

I Don’t Think I Like the New Chase For the Sprint Cup Anymore?

The first race of the second elimination round of the new NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is over. Three of the drivers who have won races and been on the top of the standings the whole season had issues at Kansas Speedway and are now at the bottom of the standings. They are in serious trouble of being out of contention and eliminated during this, The Contender Round, of the Chase.

This has many fans upset, especially fans of Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. How can this be? How can drivers who have won races including Keselowski who won a Chase race be on the outside hoping to get back in? It is upsetting.

It is not a foregone conclusion that these three drivers will not make it to the next round but another unfortunate circumstance or bad race and they will not. Any one of them could win this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway or next week at Talladega Superspeedway and they would move forward. They could also have good runs and some of the other drivers suffer a similar fate as they did at Kansas.

Does this mean the new Chase format is bad. No! It means the new Chase format is doing exactly what it was supposed to.

The new Chase Format was supposed to create drama and excitement for the fans. It is certainly doing that. In the Chicago area rarely do I hear people talking about NASCAR. Just the other day I overheard two people talking about these same drivers possibly missing the Chase. If this shows up in the TV ratings as this progresses then the new format will have done it’s job.

In years past many fans lamented that the Championship was settled long before the last race of the season. This year it is not and cannot be settled until the last race at Homestead Miami Speedway.

I don’t wish any ill will on Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr. or Johnson but the next two races will be events to watch to see if they can win and get to the next round. It will also be exciting to see if other drivers can win or have issues to drop out. This is far from over, We will start the drama and excitement again with an even smaller set of drivers when the Elimination Round begins.

If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank Of America 500 it will be broadcast live on ABC, Saturday, October 11th 2014 at 7 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 302109 Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images


Thoughts before the NASCAR Chase Contender Round Begins

The Challenger round for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup has ended the first of three rounds of elimination for four drivers and teams prior to the finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. Since this was the first round we have not seen how it works or the strategy either used by the teams on purpose or by necessity. Here are some thoughts on the next two rounds.

It was amazing that at the bottom of the 16 drivers there were so many drivers so close in points at the last of the three races. This made the race for the twelfth and final spot interesting. Well as interesting as it can be watching drivers a lap or more down racing to make the next round of the Chase. Have you ever seen a race where being a lap or two down makes such a difference? The good thing is that as the number of Chase drivers gets smaller this will probably not be the case. If you’re a lap down you’re done.

In the race at Dover, the hype was that desperate drivers would take desperate measures to keep alive in the Chase. That was the whole point of the Chase, to give drivers hope to continue forward if they had a bad race. We didn’t see it, not at all. Could this mean that these drivers have been racing 100% regardless of the Chase format and they didn’t need a new Chase to encourage better racing?

The show that Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon put on during the first round begs the question why don’t they get three bonus points that carry over to the next and subsequent round. Sure you get a pass on the round you won in but not any of them needed it. This just might be more important in this round because anything can happen at Talladega, but then again Jeff Gordon had anything happen at New Hampshire. It only seems fair to reward wins reset them equal for the last race only.

Now begins the second of the three elimination rounds of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Will we see more of the same as we dwindle down twelve drivers to eight? What about the Talladega Super Speedway race, anything can happen there? Will we see the Chase drivers racing harder than ever for a win during the first two races in order to be safe come Talladega?

It appears to me that the risk in racing outweighs the reward such that it is more a game of Chess. If you do everything right you put yourself into a position to capitalize and perhaps get a win. If you don’t then you go on defense trying to minimize the damage to stay playing the game as long as possible.  Either way as the players dwindle there will be less to defend and more to go take. The next three weeks will tell the story.

The first race of the Contender Round begins at Kansas Speedway. If you cannot to the Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400, it will be shown on ESPN on Sunday, Oct. 5 starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing



Will Greg Biffle Add his Name to the List at Kansas Speedway?

Greg Biffle has been hot and cold so far this NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. Last week he was hot and knocking on the door at Talladega Superspeedway. This week NASCAR returns to one of the mile and 1/2 staples that Biffle is good at. This week NASCAR is at Kansas Speedway for the 5-Hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Will Biffle etch his name in the list of drivers to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup?

The Kansas Speedway is a 1.5 mile speedway that has progressive banking in the corners of between 17 and 20 degrees. There is a relatively high 10 degrees of the banking in the corners and low 5 degrees in the corners. This track has been set up for two wide racing since the repave last year..

Looking at the driver ratings one might just give Jimmie Johnson the trophy at Kansas and move on. They way the No. 48 Lowe’s team has been performing lately that just might not be the case. This gives the other drivers a chance. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are next in line.

Both of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle’s statistics at Kansas Speedway are almost identical the only exception is Biffle has an average finish of 10.3 to Kenseth’s of 14.6.

I feel really good about Kansas this weekend.  I like Kansas and have a couple of wins there.” Biffle added, “We’ve been running well and we have a strong opportunity this Saturday night.  Kansas is really smooth, really fast and our cars handle well there.  We’re looking for a win this weekend.

The new knock out qualifying format appears to be favoring teams that unload off the hauler good. If Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team, or any other for that matter, unload with a great car look out.

If you cannot get to Kansas Speedway for the 5-Hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation it will be broadcast on FOX on Saturday, May 10 starting at 7:30 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Kansas
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 118.9
Matt Kenseth……………………….. 109.6
Greg Biffle………………………….. 106.9
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 99.6
Tony Stewart…………………………. 97.5
Carl Edwards………………………… 96.6
Kevin Harvick………………………… 95.9
Martin Truex Jr………………………. 91.5
Kasey Kahne………………………… 91.1
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 90.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (12 total) among active drivers at Kansas Speedway.

Feature Photo Credit: 285056 Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images