Kansas City, Kan. — official release — Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America photo — With all the expectations mounting as the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup approaches, three Chase contenders – Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch – will take advantage of more seat time this weekend in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway (Oct. 4 on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. ET).
Kenseth, last season’s Kansas winner, is back to defend his crown. The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran will be in the No. 20 Toyota with crew chief Kevin Kidd. Kenseth is still looking for his first win this season. In his 15 starts in 2014, Kenseth has posted seven top fives, 11 top 10s and average finish of 8.4. Kenseth will be quite formidable this weekend at Kansas; he leads the series in pre-race Driver Rating (123.6), Average Finishing Position (3.4), and Percentage of Laps Led (24.9%). He has made a total of seven series starts posting two Coors Light poles, one win (2013), five top fives and six top 10s.
Harvick climbs into the JR Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet, a machine in which he has been almost unstoppable this season. In the last eight series races Harvick has entered, he has won four of them. Harvick has made nine series starts at Kansas posting one pole, one win (2006), five top fives and six top 10s. His pre-race Driver Rating is 110.6 (fourth-best).
And last but not least, Kyle Busch, not only the all-time series wins leader (68 wins) but also this season’s wins leader with five victories. Busch is having a season that rivals any in his illustrious career (which is saying a lot). He has finished in the top-four in 20 out of his 21 starts this season. He has either finished first (five) or second (six) in 11 of his 21 starts in 2014. His average finish this season is 3.4 – a career-best for Busch. Busch has made nine starts at Kansas posting one win (2007) and an average finish of 10.1.