Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods, Septembber 30
1.5 mile tri-oval
Banking/Turns: 15 degrees
Banking/Front Straightaway: 10.4 degrees
Banking/Back Straightaway: 5 degrees
October 2006 Results
Winner: Tony Stewart
Pole: Kasey Kahne
What to watch for Tony Stewart coasted to the checkered flag in neutral last season with an empty tank of gas. While some claim he stole the win, his career stats on the plains tell us it was only a matter of time. In six races, he claims a win, two fourths, two eighths and a 14th. Despite his consistency, the No. 20 car has led only six total laps.
Stewart is a threat to repeat at the tri-oval in Kansas City, joining frontrunners Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. Edwards finished sixth last year and third in 2005. Last year tied for Biffle's worst run in four starts, finishing a respectable 12th. Prior to that, he logged runner-up and third-place runs. Both Edwards and Biffle have been fast in Kansas and are due to chalk up a victory, probably sooner rather than later.
Last season's runner-up, Casey Mears, could be a sleeper after coming close to his first win in a Ganassi Dodge. He also finished eighth the season before. This year, Mears will be behind the wheel of a Hendrick Chevy, a car that has finished on the lead lap of the last three races here. His chance at checkers increases dramatically due to the upgrade in equipment.
Jeff Burton is on the rise, judging by his fifth-place run last year. Also, keep an eye on "retiree" Mark Martin, who will likely make Kansas one of the 22 races on his partial 2007 Cup schedule. After all, the 48-year-old won the event in 2005 and cruised home in third last season.
Keep an eye on... Kasey Kahne -- Kahne won the Busch event here in 2005, and although he has never posted any decent Cup finishes, you can't help but think the engineers on Ray Evernham's team will figure out the aero sooner or later.
Martin Truex Jr. -- He notched an impressive 11th last season in his first Cup race at Kansas.
Ricky Rudd -- He finished runner-up to Joe Nemechek by an eyelash in 2004, posted a ninth in '05, and he'll be in an RYR Ford that rolled home fourth here last year.
Jeff Gordon -- Kansas was the site of Gordon's fuel pump failure that commenced his Chase slide last year. Before the part failure, he had never finished worse than 13th, with two wins to his credit.