BUSCH: Kansas: Round 30 preview

* Keller Can Match Houston's Series Starts Record At Kansas * Top-10 Points Scramble Heats Up As Season Winds Down * In The Loop: Kansas Has Been Heartbreak Instead Of Heartland * Roush Fenway Takes Back Owner Standings Lead -- For Now One To...

* Keller Can Match Houston's Series Starts Record At Kansas
* Top-10 Points Scramble Heats Up As Season Winds Down
* In The Loop: Kansas Has Been Heartbreak Instead Of Heartland
* Roush Fenway Takes Back Owner Standings Lead -- For Now

One To Go: Keller Can Tie Houston's All-Time Starts Mark At Kansas

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2007) -- There's plenty of fanfare surrounding the NASCAR Busch Series' arrival at Kansas Speedway for Saturday's race.

Emporia's Clint Bowyer (No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet) is scheduled to compete in the Yellow Transportation 300 before resuming his attempt to capture the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup as one of the 12 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Columbia, Mo., native Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts Winterguard Ford) returns to familiar territory as the NASCAR Busch Series points leader and also joins Bowyer as a Chase participant.

Then there's the quiet thunder that accompanies series veteran Jason Keller (No. 11 InvestLinc Chevrolet).

He's not in the top 10 in points. He hasn't run a full season. He drives for a start-up team.

But he can produce perhaps the biggest headline of the event.

If Keller qualifies -- which he must do on time for his CJM Racing team as it is not in the top 30 in the owner point standings -- he will be on the starting grid for the 417th time in his career, which will tie Tommy Houston's all-time starts record.

The 37-year-old Keller is the only driver other than Houston to make more than 400 series starts. The man whose record he's approaching is more than willing to have Keller as the new standard-bearer.

"I was able to race against Jason as he was beginning in the series," Houston said. "He's a good racer, races everybody clean and has kept his car in good shape.

"He's the kind of person who's dedicated to the NASCAR Busch Series. He's got a lot of racing ahead of him and of anybody who could break this record, I'm happy that it's Jason."

Battles Galore Throughout NASCAR Busch Series Top-10 Point Standings

As Carl Edwards continues his march toward the NASCAR Busch Series driver championship and his No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford Racing team tries to fend off the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team for the owner title -- the No. 60 comes to Kansas 39 points ahead of the No. 29 -- there are other micro-battles going on within the standings with seven races to go.

Fourth-place Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) is 20 points behind reigning series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) in the race for third.

Rookie David Ragan (No. 6 Discount Tire Ford) has been sitting comfortably in fifth place in the point standings for the last six weeks, but is feeling the pressure from Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) who is only 42 points out in sixth place.

Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford), the 2002 series champion, jumped ahead of Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford) and is now seventh, but Ambrose sits just 21 points back in eighth. Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) is within 67 points of Ambrose but is feeling the pressure from Mike Wallace (No. 7 GEICO Chevrolet) who ranks 10th but is 30 points behind Leicht.

And 11th has become relevant again as Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Arby's Ford) has crept to within 70 points of Wallace heading into this weekend.

In The Loop: Former Kansas Winners Harvick, Kahne Among Top Picks As First To Repeat

Kansas Speedway has provided some runner-up heartbreak over the past two years in the NASCAR Busch Series.

Last year at Kansas, Matt Kenseth dominated, leading 145 laps and notching a superb Driver Rating of 145.0. But he finished second to Kevin Harvick.

In 2005, the same thing nearly happened, but this time to Kenseth's Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle. Biffle led 136 laps in that race and racked up an impressive Driver Rating of 143.8. He too finished second, this time to Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Ragu Dodge).

All four drivers will race Saturday, with Kenseth and Biffle looking for some redemption. Both should fair well -- they sit atop every key Loop Data category.

Over the last two races, Biffle has the top average Kansas Driver Rating (120.6), an Average Running Position of 7.0 (seventh-best), a series-high 78 Fastest Laps Run and has spent 364 Laps in the Top 15 (91%). He also has 53 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), which is third-most.

Kenseth has a Driver Rating of 118.9 (second-best), an Average Running Position of 6.0 (third-best), 60 Fastest Laps Run (second-most) and has spent 386 of 400 Laps in the Top 15.

Harvick, the two-time series champion, has a series-high five wins this season and could add another to the tally. Over the past two years, Harvick has an average finish of 2.5 at Kansas, a Driver Rating of 115.7 (third-best), an Average Running Position of 5.9 (best of any driver competing Saturday) and has spent all but three of his laps in the top 15.

Also watch for Stephen Leicht to make a surge Saturday. In his first-ever Kansas start last season, Leicht finished 12th, and put up impressive numbers in the process: Driver Rating of 83.3, Average Running Position of 15.7 and 109 Laps in the Top 15.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Kasey Kahne , Marcos Ambrose , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , David Ragan , Stephen Leicht
Teams Richard Childress Racing