Preview: The KC Masterpiece 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Race at Kansas Speedway

NASCAR may be for sale, but the race must go on. Next stop: Kansas Speedway.

byT. Walker| UPDATED May 19, 2018 1:27 AM
Preview: The KC Masterpiece 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Race at Kansas Speedway

It’s been an eventful week for NASCAR. Talk of slumping TV ratings, plunging ticket sales, and drivers speaking out are becoming a weekly occurrence. There is also that little small issue of NASCAR "possibly" being for sale by the founding family. If that wasn’t enough, NASCAR faces a new issue—competition. So far, two drivers have won seven of the eleven races this year. As the Charlotte Observer pointed out, repeat winners could prove bad for racing. NASCAR's future seems to be uncertain, but what we know is that there will be racing this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule for Kansas Speedway:

KC Masterpiece 400 (Follow live)

The Place: Kansas Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 12, 2018.

The Time: Approximately 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports 1, 7:00 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Hashtag: #KCMasterpiece400

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on lap 267)

Press Pass (Watch live)

Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race: 11:15 p.m. ET

Listen: Is NASCAR Broken?

Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota, prepares to climb into his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 11, 2018, in Kansas City, Kansas., Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer)

1. Kevin Harvick, Ford

2. Ryan Blaney, Ford

3. Kyle Busch, Toyota

4. Aric Almirola, Ford

5. Brad Keselowski, Ford

6. Denny Hamlin, Toyota

7. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota

8. Kurt Busch, Ford

9. Joey Logano, Ford

10. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet

11. Paul Menard, Ford

12. Erik Jones, Toyota

13. William Byron, Chevrolet

14. Daniel Suarez, Toyota

15. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford

17. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet

18. AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet

19. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet

20. David Ragan, Ford

21. Darrell Wallace Jr., Chevrolet

22. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet

23. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

24. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet

25. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet

26. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet

27. Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet

28. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet

29. Gray Gaulding, Toyota

30. Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet

31. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet

32. BJ McLeod, Chevrolet

33. Clint Bowyer, Ford

34. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet

35. Matt Kenseth, Ford

36. Michael McDowell, Ford

37. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford

38. Timmy Hill, Toyota

Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Haas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford, talks with NASCAR vice chairman Mike Helton outside the inspection tent during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 11, 2018, in Kansas City, Kansas., Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Past 7 Winners at Kansas Speedway

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2011, Brad Keselowski, Dodge

2012, Denny Hamlin, Toyota

2013, Matt Kenseth, Toyota

2014, Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet

2015, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

2016, Kyle Busch, Toyota

2017, Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota

The past 7 winners above represent the first race of the year at Kansas Speedway. The Monster Energy Cup Series started racing at Kansas Speedway twice a year in 2011. 

Matt is Back

There are several active drivers with multiple wins at Kansas Speedway and Matt Kenseth is one. After a six-month break from NASCAR, Kenseth is back and NASCAR Nation could not be happier. The KC Masterpiece 400 race at Kansas Speedway is the twelfth race of the season for the Monster Energy Cup Series; however, it will be Kenseth’s season-opener after announcing his return to Roush Fenway Racing. The 46-year-old NASCAR Cup champion recently revealed his schedule for 2018 and although it’s limited, it is worth having him back behind the wheel. When speaking to the media after practice for Saturday’s race, Kenseth said, “I don’t have any expectations for the weekend, to be honest with you, because I just don’t know.” He also added, “I came into this weekend pretty much with no expectations, just kind of open-minded and take it one practice at a time, one session at a time, that type of thing, and go from there.”

Kansas History

Kenseth made it to Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway in 2012 and 2013. Like Kenseth, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. also have two wins at the mile-and-a-half track. Logano conquered Kansas in 2014 and 2015, while both of Martin Truex Jr.’s wins came in 2017. Jimmie Johnson is a three-time winner and Kyle Busch is a seven-time winner at the speedway although only one of his wins is from the Cup Series. Busch’s lone Cup win at Kansas was in 2016. He has two Camping World Truck Series wins, and he is a four-time victor in the Xfinity Series.

Kevin Harvick, who has a pair of wins in Kansas, is on the pole for Saturday night’s race. Harvick set the record for the fastest qualifying lap at the speedway in 2014. He has four wins for the season and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch has three. Can one of them add yet another W to their 2018 resume? Will we see a first-time winner roll into the winner’s circle? Stewart-Haas drivers have been successful all season long. Should we look to see Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, or the hometown hero Clint Bowyer to take the checkered flag? What about Kenseth? Will he surprise everyone and snag a win in his 2018 debut race? What do you think? Who do you believe can win the NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece 400 race at the Kansas Speedway?