Apr 19, 2013; Kansas City, KS, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (17) during qualifying for the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s Fast This Weekend at Kansas?


The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in America’s Heartland this weekend for the 8th race of 2013. The speeds are fast and the cars are out of control. Both Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch were forced to go to backup cars after wrecking on Friday. Other drivers bounced off the wall but got lucky and were able to repair the damage. For a look at who is fast this weekend, check out the top 10 times from qualifying and all three practice sessions below!

Practice #1

1.) Carl Edwards #99 (FORD)

2.) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 (FORD)

3.) Sam Hornish Jr. #12 (FORD)

4.) Martin Truex Jr. #56 (TOYOTA)

5.) Aric Almirola #43 (FORD)

6.) Greg Biffle #16 (FORD)

7.) Matt Kenseth #20 (TOYOTA)

8.) Juan Pablo Montoya #42 (CHEVY)

9.) Marcos Ambrose #9 (FORD)

10.) Ryan Newman #39 (CHEVY)

 

Practice #2

1.) Juan Pablo Montoya ##42 (CHEVY)

2.) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 (FORD)

3.) Aric Almirola #43 (FORD)

4.) Greg Biffle #16 (FORD)

5.) Carl Edwards #99 (FORD)

6.) Martin Truex Jr. #56 (TOYOTA)

7.) Kyle Busch #18 (TOYOTA)

8.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 (CHEVY)

9.) Paul Menard #27 (CHEVY)

10.) Ryan Newman #39 (CHEVY)

 

Practice #3

1.) Matt Kenseth #20 (TOYOTA)

2.) Aric Almirola #43 (FORD)

3.) Juan Pablo Montoya #42 (CHEVY)

4.) Kurt Busch #18 (TOYOTA)

5.) Kasey Kahme #5 (CHEVY)

6.) Jeff Burton #31 (CHEVY)

7.) Martin Truex Jr. #56 (TOYOTA)

8.) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 (FORD)

9.) Marcos Ambrose #9 (FORD)

10.) Kevin Harvick #29 (CHEVY)

 

Qualifying 

1.) Matt Kenseth #20 (TOYOTA)

2.) Carl Edwards #99 (FORD)

3.) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 (FORD)

4.) Sam Hornish Jr. #12 (FORD)

5.) Kyle Busch #18 (TOYOTA)

6.) Aric Almirola #43 (FORD)

7.) Martin Truex Jr. #56 (TOYOTA)

8.) Mark Martin #55 (TOYOTA)

9.) Ryan Newman #39 (CHEVY)

10.) Clint Bowyer #15 (TOYOTA)

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola and Martin Truex Jr. are the only drivers to end all four sessions inside the top 10. Stenhouse looks very competitive and has a good shot to win his first NSCS race this weekend as does Aric Almirola. His RPM teammate Marcos Ambrose looks like he has a top 10 car too and since we are talking about foreign born racers, how about Juan Pablo Montoya! That #42 looks extremely fast and his only blemish so far this weekend was the 19th place qualifying effort caused by the car bobbling off of turn 2. Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd in both Kansas races last year and is coming off another runner-up result at Texas. He looks fairly competitive but I don’t think he has a car capable of winning but that #56 is close.

While the Chevy’s seem uncharacteristically behind the other two manufacturers, one stands head and shoulders above the rest and that’s Ford. They took 4 of the top 5 spots in qualifying and all cars from Roush-Fenway Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports have shown strength. When it comes to picking who has the best shot of winning this weekend, almost all of mine would come from the Ford camp. I see Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Juan Pablo Montoya as the best shots to win that are driving for someone other than the blue oval.

Unlike their Ford counterparts, Penske Racing is having trouble this weekend. Reigning NSCS champion Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have found themselves mid-pack on the speed charts all weekend. Remember though, there is a 3rd Penske car at Kansas and to everyone’s surprise, he is much faster than his more experienced teammates. His name is Sam Hornish Jr. and he is the NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader. The 2006 Indy 500 winner will be making his first Cup start of 2013 at Kansas. So far, he’s putting his teammates to shame qualifying 4th and outpacing both Keselowski and Logano in every practice session. Based strictly on these speeds and not looking at history, here are my picks for Sunday’s STP 400.

Race Favorite: Matt Kenseth

Dark Horse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Possible Upset: Juan Pablo Montoya

Feel free to post your picks for the race below and let me know what you think of mine! You can watch the STP 400 on your local FOX station at 12:30pm est. Sunday.

Tags: Featured Juan Pablo Montoya Kansas Speedway Matt Kenseth NASCAR Popular Ricky Stenhouse Jr Sam Hornish Jr Sprint Cup Series STP 400