Kansas Speedway: Happy Hour

Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, signs autographs for fans during practice for the NASACAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kan., — Jimmie Johnson led an incident free final Sprint Cup Series practice prior to Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Johnson, Mark Martin, Martin Truex, Jr., Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish, Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick were the top-10 speeds at the conclusion of the 90 minute practice. Qualifying for the Sprint Cup Series is Saturday at 11:10 a.m.

Speedway to get facelift
Kansas Speedway will undergo a repaving project immediately following Sunday’s STP 400. The project is slated to be completed before the series returns to Kansas on October 20. The track will move to progressive banking with the new surface.

Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth have both voiced their opinion in regard to the project.

“I would not resurface this track ever,” said Edwards. “I’d patch the holes and keep on running.”

Matt Kenseth said he didn’t believe the tracks were being repaved to make racing better, but because the tracks could start falling apart. Kenseth had an advanced plan when it comes to resurfacing race tracks, one that hasn’t even been developed yet.

“It would be cool if you could pave it and it’s already wore out, but the pavement isn’t sturdy and doesn’t fall apart, but the top surface has some abrasion to it and gets slick, but nobody has figured out how to do that,” Kenseth said. “I’m not smart enough to figure all that out, but it seems like if you could pave it and have it a little abrasive—kind of like it was before they repaved it.”

That was all of the real old stuff, it had big rocks in it and it was real slick and wore out, and this new stuff just seems to be pretty durable,” added Kenseth.

Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart voiced his opinion as well, and agreed with Kenseth.

“When they age that’s when they get their character and that’s kind of when the racing gets a lot better as some of these tracks get worn out,” Stewart said.

“NASCAR has been doing this a lot longer than all of us in the garage area have; so they’re pretty keen on knowing what to do and why they do it,” added Stewart.

Michael Waltrip Racing continues to see improvement
Martin Truex, Jr., and Clint Bowyer have both seen on track success in 2012. Both have been vital components of the recent improvement Michael Waltrip Racing is seeing on-track.

“We feel good about where we’re at obviously,” said Truex, who is fourth in points. “You have to constantly keep moving forward.”

“You have to constantly keep working on your cars, working on your program and you can’t say each week that our cars are good and we can stop working on them – that’s not the case.”

Truex says that the cyclical nature of the sport keeps teams constantly pushing to get better.

“We’re not good enough, we’re never going to be good enough – we always have to keep working,” Truex said. “All three teams are working well together.”

Bowyer, who announced 5-Hour ENERGY expanding to full season sponsorship says the team isn’t where they need to be, but is most excited about consistency.

“The consistency across the board has been good with all three of our cars,” Bowyer said. “It’s been fun.”


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