NASCAR & Auto Racing

Chasers pick up the pace

A little more to consider and three things - or people - perhaps worth keeping an eye on during Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway:

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Jimmie Johnson starts from the pole in Sunday's race with Greg Biffle 18th and Carl Edwards, who leads Johnson and Biffle by 10 points in the standings, starting 34th. Will those differences early in the race have consequences as the day goes on?

2. Three times in the first four Chase seasons the Kansas winner has not been in the championship picture. Mark Martin is the only Chase driver to win here, in 2005. He's not in this year's Chase, but his car appears to be fast enough for him to be a threat.

3. Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer are fourth, fifth and sixth in the standings. Can any of them make a move toward the top to challenge Edwards, Biffle and Johnson as the Chase moves forward?

OBSERVATIONS

What a difference a day makes

Whatever was wrong with the Chase drivers in qualifying on Friday seems to be gone after Saturday's practices. Ten of the 14 fastest cars in the first practice were Chase drivers, then nine of the fastest 11 in the final practice were title contenders.

The slowest Chase driver in the final session, though, was Kyle Busch, who was 31st on the chart. If there's a historic comeback on tap for that team, no signs of it have yet appeared.

Kansas race not Kyle Petty's finale

There has been talk going around this weekend that Sunday’s race could be the last Cup race Kyle Petty drives in, but that doesn't appear to be true. Petty said Saturday that nothing has changed for him. He plans to drive at Phoenix later this year and would like to drive "a few" races for Petty Enterprises with a third team next year if sponsorship for such an effort could be found.

JUST THE FACTS

What: Camping World RV 400

Where: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kans.

Track type: 1.5-mile oval with 15 degrees of banking in each turn.

Race distance: 400 miles (267 laps).

When: 2 p.m. Sunday.

Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees.

TV: ABC.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

OBSERVER PICK

DAVID POOLE

Tony Stewart isn't going to win the championship in his final year with Joe Gibbs Racing, but I just don't believe he's going to go the whole season without a victory. This place wrecked his title hopes last year, so a win Sunday would be a little bit of payback.

Winner: Tony Stewart.

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