Kansas Speedway is a track that has produced its’ fair share of surprise winners over the years, but that has not stopped NASCAR’s best from having tremendous success there.
Kansas may just look like an average 1.5 mile track, but with the progressive banking put in after the 2012 reconfiguration, Kansas provides a unique challenge to drivers and teams. With a critical race date in the playoffs coming up in September, Kansas is one of the tracks that drivers and teams must learn to master to have a successful playoff run.
Here are some of the current drivers that know their way around the high banks of Kansas. (Minimum 10 Cup Starts)
Kansas’ Best Drivers
5. Chase Elliot
Numbers (Rankings Amongst Active Drivers): 2nd in Average Finish (11.2), T-8th in wins (1), 0 DNFs, 8th in laps led (197), 6 top 5s, 8 top 10s.
Breakdown: In only 14 races, Chase Elliot makes an impact every time he takes to the track at Kansas. Being an impressive 2nd in average finish amongst active drivers with 0 DNFs, Elliot may not be the flashiest Kansas racer, but he know hows to race well and finish up front. His win came in the fall of 2018.
4. Martin Truex Jr.
Numbers (Rankings Amongst Active Drivers): 4th in Average Finish (12.2), T-4th in Wins (2), T-3rd in Top 5s (10), 3rd in Top 10s (16), 2nd in Laps Led (827)
Breakdown: The expectation when Truex comes to Kansas is simple, run up front. Since the start of the 2017 season, he has only one finish outside of the top ten at the track. Being second amongst actives drivers in laps led, Truex continues to be a factor up front every time they race at Kansas. His highlight came in 2017 sweeping both races at the track.
3. Joey Logano
Numbers (Rankings Amongst Active Drivers): T-1st in Wins (3), 5th in Top 5s (8), 6th in top 10s (10), 3rd in Laps Led (502)
Breakdown: One of the three active drivers with three career wins at Kansas, Logano is always a factor at the 1.5 mile track. Despite a low average finish of 17.1, and some recent struggles at the track, the track record of the driver of the 22 cannot be ignored when Kansas is coming up. He also played a part in arguably the most iconic moment in the history of the track in 2015, spinning out Matt Kenseth for the win.
2. Denny Hamlin
Numbers (Rankings Amongst Active Drivers): T-1st in Wins (3), 2nd in Top 5s (11), 5th in Top 10s (12), 6th in Laps Led (349)
Breakdown: When Hamlin gets it right at Kansas Speedway, watch out. With 11 of his 12 top tens being top fives, he does much more than just finish 7th to 10th whenever he has a good car at Kansas. His most dominant performance came in October of 2019 leading 153 laps en route to a win.
1. Kevin Harvick
Numbers (Rankings Amongst Active Drivers): 1st in Average Finish (9.9), T-1st in Wins (3), 1st in Top 5s (12), 1st in Top 10s (19), 1st in laps led (949)
Breakdown: Being the only active driver who has competed in every race at Kansas, it would only be natural for Harvick to know his way around. He holds the distinction as the only active driver with an average finish under 10.0. He also has led 100+ laps three times (October 2013, May 2014, and May 2019). This makes it almost certain that Harvick will truly be “Happy Harvick” on Kansas race day.
Best of the Rest
Drivers Just Outside of the Top 5: Kyle Busch (2 wins, 422 laps led); Brad Keselowski (2 wins, 12.1 average finish).
With Kevin Harvick retiring at the end of the season, maybe this is the year that a new King of Kansas could emerge. Could it be Logano or Hamlin, or may Chase Elliot turn his consistent performances into dominant wins? This is something to watch for this week.