Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway (⏰ 3 p.m. ET | 📺 FS1 | 📻 MRN, SiriusXM)
Everything you need to know for Sunday’s race, the 11th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series event of the 2021 season.
Green flag: 3:13 p.m. ET
TV/Radio: FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Forecast: Cloudy with a high near 80 degrees and a 23% chance of rain. Winds from the north around 15 mph, according to NOAA.gov
National anthem: Country music star Willie Jones
Grand marshal: The Busch Guy
Race Distance: 267 laps, 400 miles
Stages: 80 | 160 | 267
Pit-road speed: 45 mph
Caution car speed: 55 mph
Kansas 101: Get the full lowdown
Starting lineup: See the full lineup
Pit-stall assignments: See who is pitting where | Expert breaks down pit selections
Five to watch
Here are five big story lines we’ll be following at Kansas Speedway.
1. This could very well be the weekend that Denny Hamlin finally gets his first victory of the 2021 season. Hamlin has won two of the last three races at Kansas. Hamlin has eight top fives and eight top 10s to in the first 10 races of the year, which solidly places him first in the series’ points standings. Oh, and Vegas has him as the odds-on favorite, too. The sportsbooks usually don’t lie.
2. William Byron is chasing history this weekend at Kansas. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver has eight straight top-10 finishes. If he can score a top 10 on Sunday, he’ll be the youngest driver to achieve nine straight top-10 results. Jeff Gordon holds the current record at 24 years and 22 days. He’ll have a good shot, too. He heads into Kansas with three straight top 10s at the Kansas City, Kansas track.
3. It’s nowhere near time to panic for Chase Elliott, but a first win in 2021 at Kansas would surely cure the post-championship hangover. The defending title winner has three top fives and four top 10s in the first 10 races of the season. His only top-10 finish in the last nine 1.5-mile races was a sixth at Kansas back in October of 2020. Elliott is the only Hendrick Motorsports driver yet to win this year, but that could very well change on Sunday.
4. Speaking of Hendrick Motorsports, Kansas Speedway is a welcome sight for Kyle Larson. Since his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the No. 5 driver has three finishes of 18th or worse in the last four races. Last week at Talladega, Larson finished last in the 40-car field after overheating issues took him out before the race reached Lap 5. Larson has four finishes of eighth or better in his last six races at Kansas, so things could start looking back up for him to get back on track.
5. Kevin Harvick continues to search for some form of consistency this season. After a ninth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway and a 24th-place finish at Richmond Raceway, Harvick was able to score a fourth-place result in the craziness that was Talladega. He desperately needs to back that finish up with another top five, or even a win, to get the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team back in the conversation. Harvick has three wins in 30 starts at Kansas, with the last coming in 2018.
Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.
• Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick set to turn loose in May | Scope the ranks
• Paint Scheme Preview: Check out the designs taking on Kansas | See the schemes
• Fantasy Fastlane: See which drivers to use, avoid | Full Fantasy advice | Set your roster
• Preview Show: Jonathan Merryman and Alex Weaver preview the race | Watch the show
Get in on the action
Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy.
• Betting odds for Kansas race | See the odds
• Kansas betting: Erik Jones is an intriguing long shot for Kansas | Find out why
• Shop around for Kyle Larson, Team Penske betting value | Find out why
• Chase Elliott’s 2021 winless season examined | Full analysis
• Take a shot at winning cash prizes with the free-to-play Jackpot Races app | Hit the jackpot
• Full guide to 2021 NASCAR Fantasy Live game | Get the FAQ
Every track has a story to tell. Here’s what we’ve seen go down at Kansas Speedway in the past.
Hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.
• William Byron would become the youngest driver ever with a nine race top-10 streak if he finishes in the top 10 at Kansas. The current record is held by Jeff Gordon.
• All three winners on 1.5-mile tracks (Byron, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney) got their first 1.5-mile track win this season.
• Chase Elliott’s only top-10 finish in the last nine races on 1.5-mile tracks was a sixth at Kansas.
• Denny Hamlin is the only winner at Kansas in the last 20 races that is not a series champion. Hamlin has won three times.
• In the last 19 Kansas races, only once has a driver gotten their first win of the season.
Catch the pack
Read up on all the headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.
• Matty D: Matt DiBenedetto on 2022 plans: ‘Anything is possible’ | Watch more
• FORE!: Denny Hamlin on relieving stress on the golf course, Bubba Wallace’s surprise golf outing win | Watch more
• Do your part: Vote a driver into Wednesday’s Pro Invitational Series race at Darlington | Vote now
• Throwing it back: Throwback paint schemes for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington | See the schemes
• NASCAR Salutes: Honoring military families and communities through NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola | Read more
• Hey now, you’re an All-Star: Six-round format announced for All-Star Race at Texas | Read more
Notable quotes from the stars of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.
“I think we just go out every week with the hope to run a top 10. We’ve done that a few times. I think we are probably capable of doing it a few more; we just didn’t have things really work out for us. So, I think we’ve kept our expectations pretty similar to what we began the year with. And that’s just going out and trying to obviously, get those top 10s and take advantage of the places we know we can go up front and try to win at.” — Erik Jones, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet
“We have some good momentum as everybody has seen, so that’s encouraging. At the start of the season we had a lot of things out of our control that happened. There’s nothing we could do about that, and now we’re kind of on a roll and showing the strength that we do have as a team, that we’ve known that we had, so that’s awesome. It’s super encouraging. I’m feeling good about it.” — Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford
“As soon as we win another race, hopefully soon, you guys will be forced to talk about us, and the competition will be forced to deal with us. But I think we’re running well. We’re in the mix every week. I feel like the competition around us probably knows that and understands that. So, I think it’s just a matter of continuing to execute, and put ourselves in position to make ourselves have a chance at winning more races. Honestly, I don’t focus much on the other people we are racing against. I just focus on doing what we can to try to win. We’re doing that every week so far.” — William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
“I think we have been doing a good job. But I think our potential is higher to be very honest with you. I think that we still have a few areas to improve, but this team is going to win races and I have no doubt about that. I’m hungry to be able to get there. I’m trying to be patient, but we are going to get there.” — Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet