We are within an hour of the green flag in today's STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway, just outside Kanas City. FOX Sports has coverage at 1 p.m., with the green flag scheduled to fall at approximately 1:15 p.m.
Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya have the front row for today's event. Check out the entire starting grid at Jayski.com.
Some stories to watch for today's event:
Does a local hero go to victory lane? Kansas native Clint Bowyer and Missouri drivers Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray have all made it clear that they would love a victory at the Kansas Speedway. Edwards and Bowyer have each won Camping World Truck Series races there, with Bowyer getting his win just yesterday, while a McMurray triumph would no doubt be a glimmer of sunshine for his tornado-ravaged hometown of Joplin, MO.
Can Kurt Busch parlay the pole into a victory? He has been outspoken about the performance of his No. 22 Dodge this season, but performance for his car and that of Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski has improved of late. The larger, faster tracks have traditionally been Busch's strong suit.
Hendrick struggled in qualifying, how will they do in the race? Mark Martin led the Hendrick contingent with an 18th-place qualifying effort. Jeff Gordon is 22nd, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 28th, and Jimmie Johnson is 31st. Three of them have won at Kansas - though Martin's win came in a Roush Racing Ford in 2005 - and there are 400 miles of racing to get their Impalas to the front.
Does the latest chapter of the Richard Childress Racing/Joe Gibbs Racing fued play out on-track today? Childress punched Kyle Busch after yesterday's truck race. There has been little love lost between the two teams over the last two seasons, as all three of Gibbs drivers have had issues with Childress's star driver, Kevin Harvick, while Busch drew Jeff Burton's ire after last year's Coca-Cola 600 and Denny Hamlin rankled Clint Bowyer with comments about a penalty assessed to Bowyer last September.
Can everyone take the heat? A big factor today is likely to be the searing midwestern heat. Conditions inside a stock car can reach 135+ degrees. Over four hours of racing, there is little relief from the heat aside from water or ice, which subsequently melts and creates a steam bath in the seat of the driver. Anyone looking for a good weightloss program should consider a racing career: drivers will likely lose 10-15 pounds this afternoon.