Driver talks past, future in interview RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated AJ Allmendinger has seen his share of adversity during nearly a decade in NASCAR. Two years ago, he hit the lowest point in his career after a failed drug test led him out of Team Penske and into NASCAR's Road to Recovery program. Chastened, the 32-year-old driver kick-started the second chapter of his career by winning two Nationwide races last year for Roger Penske. Allmendinger is now back in the Cup Series trying to push JTG Daugherty's program and his career to the next level. We caught up with Allmendinger a day after the No. 47 was swept up in an early wreck at Daytona. Just two weeks earlier, he'd led a race-high 34 laps at Sonoma before contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr . derailed his shot at for a first Cup victory and the Chase berth that would've come with it. NI: You're known as a strong road racer but what are your thoughts on plate racing? Allmendinger : Out of all the racing we do, it's my least favorite. There's just so much that goes into it. A lot of it's luck, being in the right place at the right time and missing the "big one." The racing can be exciting at times for sure. As a driver, you definitely have to be at full concentration the whole time you're out there when you're in the pack just because one 2-inch mistake can be a big, big crash. Especially if you're the one making that mistake, you feel bad because you wrecked yourself and you've got a lot of competitors that you feel bad about because they're probably pissed off at you. NI: You had a car that could have won at Sonoma before you were taken out. Does it take long to get over that? Allmendinger : I don't know if you ever fully get over it. To a certain degree, in this sport, you gotta be ready to go the next weekend. You can't let a bad weekend carry over into the next weekend. It's tough because I thought we had a shot to win. We were up front, top two cars every practice session and qualifying, led the most laps, played the strategy to what ours was and we just got into an incident. It is what it is. You can't fix it. NI: If you can get that first win, you're all but in the Chase. No added pressure there? Allmendinger : Honestly, I look at it two different ways. The Chase would be great for the fact that our sponsors and this race team being such a small team, to be able to promote that we won a race and are in the Chase, that would be fantastic. But when it comes to, "Do we have to make the Chase for it to be a successful season?" No. We're not a championship-winning team right now. There's no doubt about it. We're a small team, we're trying to grow to that at some point and it's going to be a long process to get there and a lot of hard work. I think with the right effort we can actually get there. NI: It might sound like a strange question but are you almost glad things played out the way they did back in 2012? Allmendinger : Except for the mere fact of having to put Roger Penske through that. Other than that, I'm way happier now than I have ever been when it comes to a lot of things. I still put a lot of pressure on myself racing, so I still have those ups and downs, but it's a different kind of pressure now. The ownership just makes this team such a family. I want to take this team to a new level. That's the pressure I put on myself, to put this team on my back and take it to another level. I feel like they deserve it down from ownership and the team because they work so hard. NI: How has your perspective changed in the past couple of years? Allmendinger : It's a different perspective now. It's not the only thing in the world, you know? There are other things that are important and in the grand scheme probably a lot more important than racing. But obviously when you make your life and you put your heart and soul into it, it feels like the most important thing. I wouldn't change anything that I've had to go through for anything except for disappointing Roger Penske. Hopefully, last year, winning the Nationwide races and having a shot to win Indy made up for it. NI: It's our tailgate issue, so I have to ask about your abilities on the grill. Can we call you a grilling master? Allmendinger : No (laughs). We can lie to everybody and tell them I can grill anything up. Only problem is hopefully I won't get called out on it. I really enjoy grilling because it is so healthy to be able to do that and I'm real health conscious when it comes to what I eat. The sponsors we have on our team are great when it comes to all that. So it makes it a lot easier because we’re stocked with a lot of great things to eat. I live in an apartment right now so it's hard to grill in the corner without a balcony. My girlfriend is really good at grilling so she's shown me some stuff. Hopefully, in the near future, I can have a house and practice up but right now it'd be a stretch to say grilling master. I'd like to be. Let's put it that way. NI: It's hard to believe you've been in NASCAR for almost a decade now. What's been your personal highlight so far? Allmendinger : The Nationwide wins were something I'll never forget, especially with what led to those. I remember making my first race at Bristol -- it took me four tries to finally make a race -- back in 2007 when there were 50 or 60 cars trying to qualify each weekend. Making our first Daytona 500 in 2009 and almost winning the thing. ( Allmendinger finished third in the No. 44 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge.) But I think the highlight is still being here really. This sport is tough. It will bring some guys in, especially with the open-wheel side of it, and spit them back out pretty quick. So to have the commitment level and just the do-or-die work ethic trying to stay in when things were bad and things got better and things got bad again, and keep coming back, I feel very fortunate that people believe in me. Whether it's the "King" or the "Captain" or Tad (Geschickter) to give me another shot to jump in this race car and feel like I can get the job done now. More than anything, just being able to still be a part of it through thick and thin is something that's probably the most special. SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Chase underdog holds 10th place in the standings heading to the Monster RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Before the playoffs, AJ Allmendinger gave his team a chance even when the odds appeared slim. Now the 32-year-old journeyman has one more chance to beat not only the odds, but at least four of his closest competitors to survive the first round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. "We're digging," Allmendinger said Sunday after a 13th-place run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . "We're trying to be the little team that could." Allmendinger , in his first-ever Chase, remains a dark horse to advance to the Contender Round after this weekend's AAA 400 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Dover International Speedway , where the field of title hopefuls will be trimmed from 16 drivers to 12. With a ranking of 10th after the opening two races and a scant 12 points separating eighth place from 16th, Allmendinger said he knows he'll need another solid, error-free finish to make the cut. Allmendinger managed to escape the heavy toll of carnage and misfortune that visited several of his Chase rivals in last weekend's visit to New Hampshire. While he isn't necessarily wishing for more bad luck to his fellow drivers, he said he may need some help to remain firmly among the top 12. "We've got to focus on us," Allmendinger said. "We know what's around us. We know we have a lot of great teams. This is what we've got to do to keep going is make no mistakes. Chicago, we didn't run very good; we maximized 22nd. This weekend, thought we were a little better, weren't great in the race, maximized a 13th. We're going to need mistakes around us. We've just got to go to Dover -- one of my favorite places -- and just focus on us and get everything we can. "Wherever that puts us, it puts us." Allmendinger's JTG Daughtery Racing team will be bringing the same No. 47 Chevrolet that ran at Chicagoland Speedway two weeks ago, hoping that it can withstand the smaller confines and heavy demands of the Monster Mile. Though the driver's penchant for Dover is well-known, the team -- which shares a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing -- will need to make gains from the 21st-place performance it posted there in June to build off last weekend's effort. "Momentum is a big deal for any team. We feel like we needed that going into this weekend," said Brian Burns, Allmendinger's crew chief. "Fortunately for us, Dover is one of AJ's favorite tracks. We had a really good car there last time. A lot of things that we have learned since then will help us unload better. ... Our strategy is quite simple: Qualify good, stay out of trouble, be solid all day long." Allmendinger insists he won't be scoreboard-watching this weekend, though it would be hard to fault him if Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth -- the drivers close ahead of him -- and Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne , Denny Hamlin , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola -- the Chase drivers behind him -- weren't part of the approach. Either way, Allmendinger is just one race away from achieving his pre-Chase goal of making a postseason surprise a reality. "I got home (Sunday) and all of a sudden it started hitting me that we have a shot to advance," Allmendinger said. "I don't know, the outlook is different, we can make it now. If we did, it would be good publicity for our sponsors, who have supported our team for such a long time." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
AJ Allmendinger , Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch talk about not making it to the Contender round of the Chase while Kasey Kahne and others talk about advancing.
Allmendinger plans to lay low for a Chase shock factor
Driver-by-driver news and notes from the final race of the Challenger Round MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings " Best Dover photos " Gallery of winners RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon dominated the last quarter of the race, leading 94 of the final 96 laps for his fourth win of the season. Gordon was in good shape to advance heading into the final race of the Challenger Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but the victory was an exclamation point after a disappointing finish at Loudon. Gordon shared the celebration with his team over the radio, exclaiming, "Woo hoo we won at Dover boys!" See how Gordon won at Dover . 2. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski looks like a man on a mission in the Chase. He led 78 laps in the AAA 400 and his second-place finish gives him an average finish of 3.3 through the first three races of the Chase. As has been the case this season, speed was not an issue for the No. 2 team as Keselowski was the fastest on restarts (151.888 mph) and the fastest early in a run (151.662 mph). See Keselowski's race highlights here . 3. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. A steady but not spectacular run for the nine-time winner at Dover. For the first time since the spring race in 2007, Johnson did not lead a lap in a Dover race. If the No. 48 team wasn't so dominant at the Monster Mile that wouldn't be alarming. Still, the team did what it had to and more to advance. If the sleeping giant wakes up, look out. See Johnson's race highlights here. 4. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Last weekend's winner at Loudon already had his Contender Round ticket punched and he spent close to half the race outside the top 10. But "Sliced Bread" turned it on late, scoring his third straight top-five finish and his sixth straight top-10 at Dover. Despite not leading a lap, Logano seemed pleased with the effort, telling his team on the radio, "Good job battling all day." For more in-car audio, subscribe to RaceView today. 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth scored his 11th top-five finish of the season. In his seven-win season last year, he had 12 top-five finishes. Last year's championship runner-up spent the entire race in the top 15, something that only Johnson and Keselowski did otherwise, and spent the second-lowest amount of time on pit road. Get pit road times and more with RaceView. 6. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson has been on fire since the Chase began -- if only he were one of the 16 drivers in the field. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender had 37 quality passes, the second-most, according to loop data. In the three Chase races, Larson has an average finish of 3.7. Is there any doubt that his first Sprint Cup win is coming very soon? 7. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. At what is practically the New Jersey-born driver's home track, Truex posted his best finish in 16 races, which was coincidently a sixth-place finish in the spring race at Dover. Truex had the most green-flag passes in the race with 62, according to loop data. 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman's steady hand helped him advance to the Contender Round of the Chase. He had the fourth-most green-flag passes (58), according to loop data. The eighth-place result was Newman's second such result at Dover in his past three races there. 9. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer earned his first top-10 finish since Richmond and extended his streak of top-10 finishes at the Monster Mile to eight straight races. 10. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Remember when everyone was worried that "Rowdy" wouldn't even make it out of the Challenger Round? Three top-10 finishes in the opening round of the Chase have proven that fear to be false. Busch was the third-fastest car early in a run and has looked solid in the Chase. 11. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. For a brief time, it looked like "Concrete Carl" may not make it out of the Challenger Round as he was running as far back as 23rd on Lap 80. But the veteran stayed after it and worked his way up thanks to making 33 quality passes, the sixth-most in the race, according to loop data. 12. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin entered the race on the outside looking in of advancing to the Contender Round. But a strong starting spot, the least amount of time on pit road and a solid run at Dover moved him through. But one driver had some concerns about Hamlin's car as Gordon radioed to his team, "11 has his skirt flared out so much he's going to cut someone's tire." There were no post-race inspection issues with the No. 11 team. To hear more in-car audio, subscribe to RaceView today. 13. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The polesitter led a race-high 223 laps and looked downright dominant. There were concerns about a broken left front shock, but it was a left front tire issue that derailed the No. 4 team's day. "Something had to cut that tire don't you think?" Harvick asked over the radio. Turned out to be a left front valve stem was knocked out. The team recovered well for a 13th-place finish, but this was the third time in five races that Harvick led triple-digit laps and had no win to show for it. See what happened to Harvick at Dover. 14. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. At a track where he has three career wins, "Smoke" scored his best finish since a seventh-place result at Loudon more than two months ago. He spent all but eight laps in the top 15. Perhaps this is the start of a strong 2014 finish to set up a solid 2015 campaign. 15. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers was eighth in the standings when engine trouble derailed his strong start to the season at Dover in the spring. He ran well here Sunday, scoring his fourth top-15 finish in the past five races. 16. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Menard has struggled to regain the form that saw him roll off four top-10 finishes in five races this spring into summer. The finish may look respectable but Menard ran just four laps in the top 15. 17. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. For the fifth time in six races, Junior finished outside the top 10. In fact, Dale Jr. spent only 40 laps in the top 10 and was never much of a threat to win. While the team moves on to the Contender Round, the results need to improve for a championship run. 18. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. "The Outlaw's" 500th career Sprint Cup Series start was supposed to be a joyous occasion but it was not as he did not advance to the Contender Round. Busch was battling a tight car most of the race and that affected his position as he went from 12th on Lap 300 to 18th at the finish. Busch took the blame, telling his team over the radio after the race, "It's all my fault. Put that all on the driver. It's all my fault." Hear what Busch had to say after the race. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. This was a markedly better result for the second-year driver than the spring race when a crash ended his day early. Stenhouse recorded the second-most green-flag passes (59), according to loop data. 20. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne battled his butt off to advance to the Contender Round. An unscheduled pit stop for a loose left rear tire on Lap 162 put Kahne two laps down. A green-flag stop on Lap 241 put him four laps down. Yet, at the end of the day, Kahne managed to be just one lap down and advanced in the Chase. Perhaps it was the team's ability to navigate traffic as Kahne was the seventh-fastest car in traffic (145.619 mph). Watch as Kahne talks about making the next round. 21. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle and the No. 16 team's performance at Dover was eerily similar to the team's performance in the first two Chase races. The team struggled to find speed, had a bad starting spot and battled to stay on the lead lap. Those trends can lead to early exit in the Chase, like they did for Biffle this year. 22. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. McMurray carried plenty of momentum into the race with four top-10 finishes in his previous five starts. However, the veteran driver struggled, logging the least amount of laps in the top 15 (87) for a driver that started in the top 10. 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger saw his Chase come to an end at a track that was considered to be one of his best in the Chase. The Watkins Glen winner was frustrated with his car all day long, telling his team over the radio on Lap 236, "if we're going to be competitive dude, you have to find me some grip. I'm getting sick in the car this thing is shaking so bad." He later added on Lap 352, "Evil man! I'm tired of driving evil cars!" He ultimately finished two points behind Kahne for the final Contender Round spot. For more in-car audio with drivers unplugged, subscribe to RaceView today . 24. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Dillon qualified well and started 10th, but couldn't transfer that success over to the race. Just like in the spring race, the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet finished two laps down. 25. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick's four-race streak of top-20 finishes came to an end Sunday. Her finish was right at her career average finish of 25.8 at the Monster Mile. 26. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. The finish may not have been what he wanted, but Ambrose got a shoutout from Dover International Speedway president Denis McGlynn in the driver's meeting. The RPM driver recorded the fifth-most green flag passes (57), according to loop data. 27. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. For the third straight race, Mears gradually improved on his starting position. During that stretch, he has an average finish of 25th. 28. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola's first Chase run came to an end with a disappointing run at Dover. The No. 43 team struggled to find a rhythm at this 1-mile track and the result was Almirola's worst career finish at Dover in six starts. Hear what Almirola said after the race. 29. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. The rookie seems to be having an up-and-down second half of 2014. After earning three top-20 results in four races toward the end of the summer, he has since scored one top-20 finish in the five races since. 30. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing. The rookie sure loves the 30th position. This was his fifth such result in six races. 31. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. For the second time in three weeks, Ragan finished in 31st. This finish came a week after a 42nd-place result at Loudon. 32. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Sorenson had his worse finish in nine races in the AAA 400 . He ran better in the spring race at Dover, finishing 24th. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. For the second time in three races, Gilliland finished outside the top 30. This comes on the heels of a stretch where he finished inside the top 30 in the six previous races. 34. Alex Bowman , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Bowman may have finished 34th, but the rookie showed improvement the second time around at the Monster Mile. He finished 40th at Dover in the spring. 35. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing. On the bright side, Cassill improve on his starting position to the finish for the seventh time in eight races. The downside: this was his worst finish in that stretch. 36. Mike Bliss , No. 37 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Bliss' finish at Dover was the second-best finish he has had in six Sprint Cup starts this season and marked the second time this season he was running at the finish. 37. David Stremme , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. Stremme's 37th-place finish at Dover was right on par with his average finish for the season, 36.5. 38. Travis Kvapil , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. Kvapil was hit a speeding penalty entering pit road on Lap 65. His 38th-place finish was his second finish in that spot in three races. 39. J.J. Yeley , No. 32 Ford, GO Fas Racing. Yeley started exactly where he finished at Dover, 39th. He was 13 laps down at the finish. 40. Mike Wallace , No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing. Making a Sprint Cup Series start for the second straight week, Wallace finished 16 laps down for the No. 66 team's eighth finish of 40th or worse this season. 41. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. For the fifth time in seven races, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender finished 37th or worse. An accident left Annett 39 laps down. 42. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise finished 203 laps down due to an issue with his suspension for his worst finish since the Las Vegas race in March. 43. Timmy Hill , No. 44 Chevrolet, Xxxtreme Motorsport. Making his seventh Sprint Cup start of the season, Hill retired from the race just 11 laps in with a vibration issue. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
No one earns maximum score in Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge After the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway , AJ Allmendinger , Aric Almirola , Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch were eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , and they weren't the only ones upset about not advancing beyond the Challenger Round. In the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge, 94 percent of entrants had one or more of those four drivers moving on after the race at the Monster Mile. Just as championship hopes were dashed for those four drivers, those who picked them lost a shot at $100,000. Only six percent of entrants picked all 12 drivers who advanced to the Contender Round: Kyle Busch , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Carl Edwards , Jeff Gordon , Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Matt Kenseth , Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano and Ryan Newman . Those fans with a perfect Chase Grid are still in the running for a $100,000 prize if their grid remains perfect through the Contender Round, Eliminator Round and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, accurately listing the relative finishing order of the four drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway . In the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota, no one achieved the maximum score of 126 points for the first round. In fact, only one user scored over 100 (David Moore, with 102); the next-closest score was 90. From now until 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 5, Battle players can pick which eight drivers will move on to the Eliminator Round. To set your Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota field or check how your Perfect Chase Grid Challenge looks after the first three races, go to NASCAR.com/grid . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
AJ Allmendinger holds off Marcos Ambrose to win at Watkins Glen for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
A statistical look ahead to the opening race of the Contender Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at the 12 Contenders – and beyond – at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas going into the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, October 5. Coverage begins on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET and the race is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. KANSAS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.0 2014 Rundown • Five wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s; five poles • Average finish of 12.4 • Led 23 races for 1,496 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 10.6 in nine races • Average Running Position of 13.8, 10th-best • Driver Rating of 89.2, 11th-best 2 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.5 2014 Rundown • Four wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 12.2 • Led 19 races for 794 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top fives, two top 10s • Average finish of 21.7 in 10 races • Average Running Position of 20.3, 24th-best • Driver Rating of 73.2, 21st-best 3 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.8 2014 Rundown • Two wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; seven poles • Average finish of 14.0 • Led 21 races for 1,592 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, eight top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 11.5 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 11.8, seventh-best • Driver Rating of 99.1, fifth-best • 202 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most • Series-high 969 Green Flag Passes • 468 Quality Passes, fifth-most 4 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.8 2014 Rundown • Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.4 • Led 15 races for 1,035 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, six top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles • Average finish of 7.6 in 16 races • Series-best Average Running Position of 7.5 • Series-best Driver Rating of 117.4 • Series-high 478 Fastest Laps Run • Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 167.549 mph • Series-high 3,042 Laps in the Top 15 (89.0%) • Series-high 614 Quality Passes 5 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.4 2014 Rundown • Four wins, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 10.0 • Led 20 races for 665 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Three wins, 10 top fives, 12 top 10s • Average finish of 10.1 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 9.7, third-best • Driver Rating of 101.1, fourth-best • 147 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most • 2,878 Laps in the Top 15 (84.2%), second-most • 536 Quality Passes, second-most 6 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.6 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 17.1 • Led 13 races for 411 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top 10s • Average finish of 22.7 in 14 races • Average Running Position of 18.7, 19th-best • Driver Rating of 76.8, 19th-best • 864 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most • 404 Quality Passes, 11th-most 7 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.2 2014 Rundown • Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s • Average finish of 11.0 • Led 12 races for 220 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top fives, eight top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 15.2 in 16 races • Average Running Position of 14.5, 12th-best • Driver Rating of 91.5, ninth-best • 108 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most • 855 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.627 mph, eighth-fastest • 1,981 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), 10th-most • 424 Quality Passes, eighth-most 8 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.5 2014 Rundown • 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.8 • Led 17 races for 467 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 14.3 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 10.4, fourth-best • Driver Rating of 107.4, second-best • 235 Fastest Laps Run, second-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.855 mph, third-fastest • 2,623 Laps in the Top 15 (76.7%), fourth-most • 418 Quality Passes, ninth-most 9 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1 2014 Rundown • Two top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 14.0 • Led 4 races for 24 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 18.7 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 20.6, 25th-best • Driver Rating of 69.6, 25th-best • 908 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most 10 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.5 2014 Rundown • Two wins, six top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 14.8 • Led 10 races for 134 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Five top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 10.5 in 14 races • Average Running Position of 12.1, eighth-best • Driver Rating of 97.1, seventh-best • 131 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most • 877 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.689 mph, seventh-fastest • 2,352 Laps in the Top 15 (68.8%), sixth-most • 493 Quality Passes, fourth-most 11 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.8 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 15.5 • Led 12 races for 195 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, three top 10s • Average finish of 15.1 in 12 races • Average Running Position of 14.3, 11th-best • Driver Rating of 87.7, 14th-best • 69 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most • 2,002 Laps in the Top 15 (63.5%), ninth-most • 399 Quality Passes, 12th-most 12 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.7 2014 Rundown • One win, three top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 16.5 • Led 10 races for 204 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Four top fives, seven top 10s; three poles • Average finish of 13.2 in 14 races • Average Running Position of 13.6, ninth-best • Driver Rating of 93.0, eighth-best • 147 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most • 939 Green Flag Passes, second-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.619 mph, ninth-fastest • 2,208 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), seventh-most • 436 Quality Passes, sixth-most 13 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.1 2014 Rundown • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 20.7 • Led 5 races for 68 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 22.8 in nine races • Average Running Position of 22.7, 27th-best • Driver Rating of 68.2, 26th-best 14 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, eight top 10s • Average finish of 19.3 • Led 11 races for 181 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One top five, four top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 17.6 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 14.9, 14th-best • Driver Rating of 87.3, 16th-best • 121 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most • 923 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most • 1,980 Laps in the Top 15 (57.9%), 11th-most • 405 Quality Passes, 10th-most 15 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Filtrete Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.4 2014 Rundown • Three top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 15.8 • Led 6 races for 109 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 10.7 in 16 races • Average Running Position of 9.5, second-best • Driver Rating of 104.7, third-best • 205 Fastest Laps Run, third-most • 837 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.836 mph, fourth-fastest • 2,755 Laps in the Top 15 (80.6%), third-most • 506 Quality Passes, third-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Farmland Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 73.5 2014 Rundown • One win, two top fives, seven top 10s • Average finish of 20.6 • Led 5 races for 23 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Three top 10s • Average finish of 15.6 in five races • Average Running Position of 15.3, 15th-best • Driver Rating of 88.1, 13th-best • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.561 mph, 11th-fastest The 12 Challengers at Kansas Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Brad Keselowski 9 0 1 2 4 0 10.6 89.2 2 Joey Logano 10 0 0 2 2 1 21.7 73.2 3 Kevin Harvick 17 2 1 3 8 1 11.5 99.1 4 Jimmie Johnson 16 3 2 6 14 1 7.6 117.4 5 Jeff Gordon 17 0 3 10 12 2 10.1 101.1 6 Kyle Busch 14 0 0 0 2 4 22.7 76.8 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 16 1 0 2 8 2 15.2 91.5 8 Matt Kenseth 17 2 2 6 10 2 14.3 107.4 9 Ryan Newman 17 0 1 3 4 3 18.7 69.6 10 Carl Edwards 14 0 0 5 10 1 10.5 97.1 11 Denny Hamlin 12 0 1 3 3 0 15.1 87.7 12 Kasey Kahne 14 3 0 4 7 1 13.2 93 * – Based on last 13 races at Kansas Speedway . Kansas Speedway: History · Groundbreaking was held on May 25, 1999. · The official opening of Kansas Speedway was in 2001, with the first events being an ARCA race and a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on the same day – June 2. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was on Sept. 30, 2001 – won by Jeff Gordon . · During the 2012 season, between the April and October events the 1.5-mile track underwent a repave adding variable banking in the corners. Notebook · There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway , one NSCS event from 2001 - 2010 and two races per year since 2011. · 116 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas; 86 in more than one. · Five drivers have started all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway – Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman . · Jason Leffler won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Kansas Speedway in 2001 with a speed of 176.499 mph. · 11 drivers have Coors Light poles at Kansas, led by Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with three each. · Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only two drivers to win consecutive Coors Light poles at Kansas Speedway (Johnson – 2007, 2008 and Harvick – fall 2013, spring 2014). · Youngest Kansas pole winner: Jason Leffler (09/30/2001 – 26 years, 0 months, 14 days). · Oldest Kansas pole winner: Mark Martin (10/04/2009 – 50 years, 8 months, 25 days). · 11 different drivers have won at Kansas Speedway , led by Jeff Gordon with three. · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Kansas with five: Jeff Gordon (three) and Jimmie Johnson (two). · Chevrolet leads the series in wins at Kansas with nine victories; followed by Ford with four wins. · Four of the 17 (23.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; Joe Nemechek (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2008), Matt Kenseth (spring 2013) and Kevin Harvick (fall 2013). · Five of the 17 (29.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the front row: four from the pole and one from second-place. · 10 of the 17 (58.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kansas Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Two of the 17 (11.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Kansas Speedway was 25th, by Brad Keselowski in the spring of 2011. · Youngest Kansas winner: Ryan Newman (10/05/2003 – 25 years, 9 months, 27 days). · Oldest Kansas winner: Mark Martin (10/09/2005 – 46 years, 9 months, 0 days). · Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are tied for the series most runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway with two each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway with 10; followed by Greg Biffle with seven. · Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway with 14; followed by Jeff Gordon (12), Edwards, Kenseth each have 10. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Kansas Speedway with an 11.000. · Jimmie Johnson (7.625) leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Kansas Speedway – he is the only driver with an average finish in the top-10 at Kansas. · There has been one NSCS race resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Kansas Speedway : fall of 2011 (267/272). · Only one of the 16 races at Kansas Speedway has been shortened due to weather conditions: fall of 2007. · Qualifying has never been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway . · Denny Hamlin has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway without posting a DNF (12). · 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Austin Dillon (10/09/2011) and Denny Hamlin (10/09/2005) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Kansas Speedway . · Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are the only two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that have posted consecutive wins at Kansas Speedway : Gordon (2001 and 2002 – the first two NSCS events at Kansas) and Kenseth (fall of 2012, spring of 2013). · Nine of the 10 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon won at Kansas in his first appearance. · Kevin Harvick competed at Kansas Speedway 15 times before winning last fall; the longest span of any the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas. · Kevin Harvick (15) and Matt Kenseth (13) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Kansas Speedway . · Kurt Busch leads the series with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 17. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway was the (10/10/2004) race won by Joe Nemechek with a MOV of 0.081 second. · Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Kansas Speedway with 586 laps led in 16 starts. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has competed at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 40 32 10/21/2012 Danica Patrick 25 25 4/21/2013 Danica Patrick 29 43 10/6/2013 Danica Patrick 9 7 5/10/2014 NASCAR in Kansas · There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Kansas. Track Name City NSCS Kansas Speedway Kansas City 17 · 17 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Kansas. · Two drivers from Kansas have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series; both have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Clint Bowyer 8 8 3 Jim Roper 1 0 0 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation