Speeds skyrocketed at Kansas Speedway last October following the track’s repaving earlier in the year. Every qualifier eclipsed Matt Kenseth’s one-lap record of 180.856 mph, with Kasey Kahne topping out at a blistering 191.360.
Now comes the NASCAR Sprint Cup Gen-6 car with enhanced down force characteristics. Yes, the speedway’s surface has gone through one winter but all indication is that grip will be available in ample quantities.
The question probably isn’t if Kahne’s lap record will fall but rather by how much.
Roush Fenway Racing recently tested its Gen-6 Ford Fusion at Kansas Speedway. Carl Edwards’ takeaway was this: “It was only our team so we really don’t know how we stack up, but it’s lightning fast.”
Edwards believes Sunday’s race could be similar to last month’s race at Auto Club Speedway, where teams ended up with different tire strategies resulting in a final, 10-lap battle between a dozen or more cars.
“I had reservations just because of how different the car is,” said Edwards, who hopes to replicate a NASCAR Camping World Truck victory at his home track. “Those last 10 or 15 laps at California pretty much said it all to me. If we can put on that style of race at a track that’s two miles long and has all the aero issues that we complain about … I think this car could put on some very, very good races at these mile-and-a-halfs.”
The STP 400 marks the first time the Gen-6 car has been raced on intermediate tracks in back-to-back weekends.