Before I anything else, let me inform you what I will be doing with this blog. The week before each Sprint Cup race from here on until whenever I decide to quit, I will be posting my own personal Top 10 of the Best Races in my own opinion. For example, last week I would have posted what I thought were the Top 10 Best Coca-Cola/World 600s. There will be some weeks where I can't talk about a particular race because the track next on the schedule doesn't have a large history of races. This week at Kansas is the perfect example. Since this is the inaugural Spring race at the facility, and the first time the track is hosting two Cup races, I will base my Top 10 on all of the Cup races that have been run at the track up to this week, which in this case will be all 10 Cup races that have been held at the facility to this point.
I feel it would be unfair of me to comment on races I've never seen or heard about so my Top 10 will avoid races in the 50s, 60s and most of the 70s and will focus on events in the late 70s on through the 80s, 90s and up through now. In my view, one of the stupidest things anyone can do is talk about a subject like they know everything about it when they really don't. I'm planning on not doing that.
I will basing my Top 10s on overall quality of races. A good finish in a race does not make up for an uncompetitive and bad race in my opinion. On the other hand, a finish where one driver runs away from the field doesn't mean the rest of the race was bad either. In my view, a good race is a race that has a number of lead changes and close side-by-side action. If I had to give two examples they would be the 1999 Pepsi Meijer 400 at Michigan and the 2008 Chevy Rock & Roll 400. I will fully disclose that my all-time favorite drivers are Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Lake Speed. The results of my Top 10 lists will not revolve on whether those guys won or not.
I encourage commentary from anyone/everyone who reads. If you agree or disagree with my views, please keep it civil. I'm not saying that my Top 10 is the absolute right list, it's just my personal opinion. Now onto the list, the Top 10 Best Cup Races at Kansas Speedway!
10. 2001 Protection One 400 - The inaugural event at Kansas Speedway was a wreck fest. One of the most notable wrecks from the event was a big hit that Dale Jarrett took. Jarrett cannot recall what happened in this race due to the incident. While Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag, the most memorable event of this race occurred in victory lane when NASCAR officials held a PVC pipe to prevent Gordon from jumping on the roof. Thankfully that did not last long.
9. 2002 Protection One 400 - I will fully disclose that it was very difficult putting together this list. None of the races at Kansas have been all that memorable to me. There are moments, but on the whole I honestly don't believe that there has been a thoroughly good race at the track yet. The second event at Kansas proved to be the least competitive of all up to this point with only 13 lead changes total. Like Kevin Harvick earlier in the season at Chicagoland, Jeff Gordon was able to win the first two races at the still new facility. This was also the race where Sterling Marlin suffered a severe neck injury after spinning off turn two and wrecking.
8. 2003 Banquet 400 - Dodge teams dominate this race, in particular Bill Elliott who leads 115 laps. However, Ryan Newman takes the victory thanks to superior fuel mileage.
7. 2005 Banquet 400 - This race proved to be one of the greatest days in Roush Racing history. Not only did a Roush team and driver win (Mark Martin), they also swept the top three positions and had four out of the top five finishers. In all, Roush cars led 258 of the 267 laps. This also proved to be the final win Mark Martin would have with Roush. Between 1988 his first year with the team (their first year as well) and 2005, Martin scored 35 wins.
6. 2010 Price Chopper 400 - Perhaps the most memorable moment from this race was the events that occurred between Kyle Busch and David Reutimann. Early on, Busch made contact with Reutimann sending Reutimann in the wall and ending his chances at a good finish. Later on, Reutimann tries to retaliate and while he does hurt Kyle's car, he ends up spinning himself out. Greg Biffle wins his second race at the speedway.
5. 2009 Price Chopper 400 - The 2009 event has proved to be the most competitive, at least in terms of lead changes having 29 total. Tony Stewart's team uses late race strategy to give him the lead and ultimately getting them the victory. Greg Biffle dominates leading 113 laps but finishing third.
4. 2007 Lifelock 400 - Controversy! Numerous race fans and even several drivers were upset at the results of this race. Many questioned why NASCAR chose to restart the race when it was highly unlikely all 400 miles would be completed. As it became evident the race would not finish the scheduled distance, NASCAR began toying with the number of laps remaining in the race, adding further outrage. Then the finish where several drivers questioned whether or not the eventual race winner, Greg Biffle was actually maintaining pace coming to take the checkered flag under caution. Perhaps the most memorable race at Kansas thus far.
3. 2004 Banquet 400 - The 2004 race was highly competitive. Jeremy Mayfield, Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne all looked to be in contention for a win but the winner would end up being a surprise in Joe Nemechek. Nemechek had to fight off the faster car in Ricky Rudd in the waining stages of the race and had just enough to win by .081.
2. 2006 Banquet 400 - A pretty competitive race ends up coming down to fuel mileage strategy. Tony Stewart proves to have enough to get to the finish line to take the race win. Stewart started the event in the 21st position, the farthest back anyone has started and won a Cup race at Kansas.
1. 2008 Camping World RV 400 - This race probably includes Kansas Speedway's signature moment. On the final lap going into turn three, Carl Edwards tries a last lap bonzai move trying to get by leader, Jimmie Johnson. Edwards ends up in the SAFER berrier while Johnson takes the victory.
Agree? Disagree? Post away. Also, please check out another one of my ventures, the Speeding In The Pits blog: http://speedinginthepits.blogspot.com/ It documents all of the race penalties NASCAR doles out (ie: speeding in the pits, leaving the pits with equipment, etc.) Next week is Pocono where I will give the Top 10 "Pocono 1" races.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.