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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Lifelock 400 at Kansas Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon won the first two Cup races at Kansas and finished fifth in his third start at the track. He hasn’t had a top five here since then, though, and last year suffered a mechanical DNF.

Tony Stewart – Stewart won this race last year, coasting to the finish line out of gas. But it’s not just luck that leaves Stewart a favorite out on the prairie; in six Cup starts at Kansas, Stewart has finished outside the top 10 just once.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has three top-10 finishes, but no top fives after five Cup starts at Kansas. He did lead this race late in the going last year until having to make a final pit stop for fuel.

Kyle Busch – After struggling in his first two Kansas Cup starts, Busch did manage a credible seventh-place finish here last year, leading 64 laps during the race.

Clint Bowyer – A Kansas native, Bowyer finished ninth here last year in his only Cup start at his hometown track.

Carl Edwards – Edwards has top-10 finishes in the last two Kansas Cup races after finishing 22nd here back in 2004.

Martin Truex Jr. – Truex’s only Kansas Cup start was last year’s event; in that race, he finished 11th.

Jeff Burton – Burton scored his first top-10 finish at Kansas in six starts with a fifth-place run here last year.

Kevin Harvick – Harvick has just one top 10 and an average finish of 18th after six Kansas Cup starts. He did win the Busch race here last year, though.

NEFF: FANTASY PICKS ‘N’ PANS ENTERING KANSAS

Matt Kenseth – Fresh off a blown engine at Dover, Kenseth’s luck may not get much better; he is averaging a 20th-place finish at Kansas since races began back in 2001.

Kurt Busch – Ditto for Busch; he’s averaging a 21st-place finish and even less sleep then Kenseth. Don’t expect him to run up front at Dover, though; he has led just three laps here to date.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin made his first career Cup start at Kansas back in 2005… with less than memorable results. He improved slightly to finish 18th here last year.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – In a statistical quirk, Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in three Kansas Cup starts, all during even-numbered years. So, what about the odds? Finishes of 33rd, 18th and 34th packaged within three ho-hum races to forget. Hmm… lest I need to remind you, 2007 is an odd-numbered year.

Ryan Newman – Newman finished second here in 2001 and 2002, finally breaking through to win the 2003 Kansas Cup race. But in the three Cup events run here since, he’s averaged a 23rd-place finish. As our friend Buddy Baker might say, “I do believe he’s done licked all the red off his candy.”

Greg Biffle – Biffle hasn’t finished worse than 12th in the last four Cup races at Kansas. No wins, but the Biff was runner-up way back in 2005.

Casey Mears – Mears finished second here last year – coasting in on fumes – and eighth in the race the year before. His first two Cup starts at the track before that? Less than memorable.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte has a less than stellar record at Kansas. His best finish here is 16th, and his average finish is just 23rd with six Kansas starts under his belt.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray crashed out at Kansas last year and finished 42nd… but he’s also got two top-10 finishes here in four starts.

Juan Pablo Montoya – This will be Montoya’s first NASCAR start at Kansas.

JJ Yeley – Yeley finished 41st last year after wrecking his car two-thirds of the way through the race.

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About the author

Matt joined Frontstretch in 2007 after a decade of race-writing, paired with the first generation of racing internet sites like RaceComm and Racing One. Now semi-retired, he submits occasional special features while his retrospectives on drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and other fallen NASCAR legends pop up every summer on Frontstretch. A motorcycle nut, look for the closest open road near you and you can catch him on the Harley during those bright, summer days in his beloved Pennsylvania.

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