Kansas Rivalries Extend to NASCAR
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2012) – Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the 1.5-mile oval situated just off of busy Interstate 70, is not far from a street called State Line Road. True to its name, the street divides the states of Kansas and Missouri. And a stroll through any neighborhood in the area will reveal how divided the area is when it comes to its college sports teams. Most houses either display the colors of the University of Missouri, Kansas State University or the University of Kansas. Signs indicating “a house divided” are equally as common, denoting the occupants come from a mix of rival schools.
Speaking of passion, it is evident every time the area hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Sunday’s Hollywood 400 will certainly be dotted with the colors of everyone’s favorite team, albeit more colors than those of the area’s professional and college teams. With 43 cars on the track, rivalries continue and the excitement of a Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship will certainly add to the fervor.
And while the blue of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet more closely resembles the crimson and blue colors of the Kansas Jayhawks, owners of multiple college basketball championships, Johnson knows that to add to his multiple Sprint Cup titles, a strong run at Kansas Speedway is important. Pulling into the newly repaved track should provide some comfort for Johnson and his team as they are the defending winners of the October race.
Johnson owns the top driver rating among competing drivers, as well. His worst finish of 32nd at the track was in 2004 after being involved in a late-race accident. Next-to-last on Johnson’s list of Kansas finishes was 14th during the championship battle of 2006 thanks to an on-track incident that caught him on pit road after dominating most of the race. A speeding penalty after he was forced to re-pit for service led to the uncharacteristic finish. The remaining 10 races Johnson has run at Kansas have resulted in top-10 finishes.
With championship contenders beginning to take shape, Johnson, who closed the gap to seven points on Chase leader Brad Keselowski, should feel comfortable pulling into the Heartland this week. Like the passion shown for their area sports teams, there are sure to be few “house divided” signs among area race fans, as well. Johnson just hopes those flying the Lowe’s colors will be rewarded for their passion with a repeat trip to victory lane.
Source: Jimmie Johnson