Kansas: GM Racing preview

* Chevrolet has recorded four wins in six previous NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) events at Kansas Speedway, more than any other manufacturer * Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS has scored two wins at Kansas (2001, '02) more than any ...

* Chevrolet has recorded four wins in six previous NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) events at Kansas Speedway, more than any other manufacturer

* Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS has scored two wins at Kansas (2001, '02) more than any active full-time driver.

KANSAS CITY, KS - After three consecutive weekends of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition in the northeast, the tour moves to the heartland of America on Sunday, September 30th for the Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway. Making the switch back to the car of today, Team Chevy drivers will climb behind the wheel of their familiar Monte Carlo SS race machines for their annual visit to the popular 1.5-mile Kansas City oval.

The Kansas round marks the beginning of the five-race countdown to the end of the Monte Carlo era in NASCAR Cup racing. With more than 375 wins to its credit, the Monte Carlo has been not only the most easily recognizable, but also the most successful model in the history of NASCAR.

This event is Round 3 of the Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship; and following a wild race last week at Dover's Monster Mile, the top 12 contenders for the title have shuffled considerably in the point standings. Only 18 points separate the top five Team Chevy drivers, from leader Jeff Gordon to fifth place Clint Bowyer.

Local favorite, Bowyer, who drives the No. 07 Jack Daniels Monte Carlo SS, hails from Emporia, KS, just 90 minutes southwest of Kansas Speedway. He seeks to shine again at his hometown track this weekend like he did when he scored his first Nextel Cup career victory at Loudon, NH just two weeks ago.

"I can't wait to get there," said Bowyer. "That's where I really want to win someday. It's not like you're going to do anything different or pull a rabbit out of the hat when you go to Kansas, that's just one of the places. That's your home. You want to win there. Hopefully someday we can do that. Hopefully we've got a good enough car when we get there. You always pretty much have a good idea of what you've got for a race car on Saturday and practice. So I can't wait to get practice over and hopefully we're going to be on top of the board and have a fast race car and a chance at winning."

Sitting atop the point standings, Gordon hopes to notch a third career win at Kansas this Sunday. "The only track you can really compare it to in my opinion is Chicago," said Gordon, the only multiple winner at Kansas. "But there was just a period of time where a lot of 1.5-mile tracks were being built so it kind of got labeled that. But it's unique to itself. It's a great race track. I really like it. The way that track has matured over the last couple of years it's turned into a track that offers great side-by-side racing. I'm looking forward to going back there."

Just two points behind Gordon, two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, will be looking to defend last year's victory at Kansas. Stewart coasted across the finish line with a sputtering engine as he won the race on fuel mileage, going the final 71 laps around the 1.5-mile oval on a single tank of gas. He crossed the finish line 12.422 seconds ahead of second-place Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard / GMAC Monte Carlo SS, who also coasted across the stripe on fumes.

Having raced the new generation Impala SS race car for the past three weeks on the tour at Dover, Loudon, and Richmond, many Team Chevy drivers a looking forward to returning to the familiar Monte Carlo SS at Kansas.

Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Monte Carlo SS, says there is a considerable difference in the two models but adjusting between the two is fairly easy.

"I'm looking forward to Kansas. It's been a great track for me. It's one I really enjoy and we ran very well there last year. Our old car has been really good for us at the bigger tracks - the mile and a half, two milers - so I think we can go there and be very competitive.

"It's different," says Truex, who is seventh in the point standings. "Just when you first sit down in it, it feels a lot different. The window net is closer to you, and you can see a lot better out of the windshield. It's just a different feeling and as soon as you start it up and you go out on the race track, you're just in another race car so it isn't that big of a deal."

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS and current Nextel Cup champion will be on the hunt for his seventh win of the season at Kansas. "Obviously, with the crazy weekend we had at Dover, and being just a few points out of the lead after what we went through, is exciting for us. I think Kansas is one of our better tracks. We ran really, really well there last year. Unfortunately we had a tire problem, which seems to have happened to us here lately. We had a tire problem that kept us from having the finish that we wanted. But we led a lot. I think we led the most laps, so we're excited. I'm excited and looking forward to getting to Kansas."

The LifeLock 400 will take the green flag on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 30 at 2:00 p.m. EDT and be aired live on ABC.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Clint Bowyer