The Backstretch Blog's Race Day: KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 11: (L-R) Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Ford, and crew chief Rodney Childers talk in the garage 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)

Oh hello mile and half track. It's been a while. Which is strange because as much as mile and halves dominate the schedule, the last mile and a half try NASCAR ran, was Texas five weeks ago. This week NASCAR is at the Kansas Speedway, a track dominated (as where most mile and a half tracks) by Cup Champion Martin Truex, Jr.

"Obviously last year, winning both races was really cool for our team," said Truex, "This track for whatever reason has been one that we’ve been really successful at over the years. Not sure why, but it seems like I am comfortable here and I like the track."

And a lot of drivers seem to like Kansas, it has the little something that makes different than a lot of their other intermediate tracks on the schedule.

"Kansas, the repave a few years ago I think probably the best repave that NASCAR has had in the past five or six years, don’t know why or the reason, but the race track has widened out and allowed people to move around." said Chase Elliott. "For a track that is as freshly paved as it is, you don’t see that very often. That is what makes it different to me.”

It doesn't seem to matter where these race these days, Kevin Harvick seems to be the man. He won his series leading fourth race of the season last week at Dover and he will lead the field to green from the pole tonight at Kansas.

"This has been a really good race track for us through the years and I think obviously when you look at qualifying day it’s also been just one of those places that kind of fits what we do," said Harvick." So it’s been an entertaining day. We’ve had a lot of things of things to work through today, but I think today is one of those days when you look at the team and you’re like, ‘Man, those guys are really good at what they do.’"

Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola and Brad Keselowski round out the top five starters.

This will be the first of five straight weekend without Tennessee native Trevor Bayne in the field. He will be replaced in the 6 car by former cup champion Matt Kenseth.

"The last time here they told me I couldn’t race anymore and we had to load up last fall, I think," said Kenseth who starts tonight 35th after not taking a qualifying lap. "The last time I was here was not a very good emotion. That was our last race in the Playoffs last year, but it is a fun track. It is fairly straightforward. It’s been a great track since the repave and the banking changing, so it’s a good track, especially for an intermediate side and I do look forward to that.”

Virginia native Denny Hamlin and Gray Gaulding start sixth and 29th respectively.

The green flag is set to drop on the KC Masterpiece 400 at 8:10 pm. You can watch the race on FOX Sports 1.

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