NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

       === Bowyer brings winning momentum to his home track in Kansas ===
 Philadelphia,  PA (Sports Network) - After winning last Saturday night's event
 at  Charlotte  Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer  is riding high into his home race
 this weekend at Kansas Speedway, which has recently been repaved.
 Bowyer,  who  hails from nearby  Emporia, Kan.,  gave his championship hopes a
 huge boost by winning at Charlotte -- the fifth round in the 10-race Chase for
 the  Sprint Cup.  The first-year Michael Waltrip Racing driver moved to within
 28 points of leader Brad Keselowski in the Chase standings.
 He has scored a career-best three wins, eight top-five finishes and 19 top-10s
 this season.
 "Coming off of the win obviously rolling into your hometown is a lot of fun, a
 lot  of confidence, a lot of momentum and everything that comes off of a win,"
 Bowyer said.
 Bowyer  has posted  three top-10 finishes, including a second-place run (Sept.
 2007),  in eight  Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas. This time, Bowyer returns
 to  his  home track with  a whole lot  of momentum, and  a win there on Sunday
 could be the biggest one of his career.
 "If  we could possibly  pull this off again in Kansas, it would be, that's my,
 do  you dare  say Daytona 500?" he  said. "But it truly is. That's the biggest
 race you can possibly win in front of your hometown."
 After suffering engine failure and finishing 36th in the spring race at Kansas
 earlier  this  year, Bowyer  is hoping for  a much better  result in the first
 event to be contested on the new pavement there.
 This  1.5-mile track  has also  been reconfigured.  The turns  were banked  15
 degrees,  but variable banking from 17 degrees to 20, which is very similar to
 the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, should create multiple racing grooves.
 A  Goodyear  Tire test  was conducted at  Kansas the last  week in August. But
 NASCAR  has  granted Sprint Cup  teams additional  practice time this week for
 them to get familiar with the new surface and the reconfiguration.
 "There's  definitely  a lot more  practice on  the racetrack, but it's because
 it's a repave, and nobody has seen it before," Bowyer said. "More importantly,
 the track needs to get rubber burnt into it and get cleaned off."
 With  the exception  of a few drivers  who participated in the tire test, most
 competitors  got  their first look  at the new  Kansas track on Wednesday. The
 first  day  of testing,  though, was shortened  from four hours  to two due to
 rain. Testing will continue on Thursday morning, and teams will practice again
 on Friday and Saturday.
 Of  the 47 cars  that were on the track on Wednesday, 30 of them posted speeds
 faster  than  the current track qualifying  record of 180.856 mph, set by Matt
 Kenseth  in 2005.  Greg  Biffle, who  is Kenseth's  teammate  at Roush  Fenway
 Racing, turned the fastest lap in the session at 184.900 mph.
 "This  track went from  being pretty abrasive and wearing the tires out to now
 it's  smooth and just  super fast," said Chase driver Jeff Gordon, who won the
 first  two  Cup races  at Kansas from  2001-02. "The times  don't fall off. If
 anything,  they  get  faster.  It's  basically  like  going  to  a  whole  new
 Among the 47 cars that tested, four were the redesigned 2013 models. The teams
 testing  the future cars were Michael Waltrip Racing, Penske Racing, Earnhardt
 Ganassi Racing and Wood Brothers Racing.
 Kansas  is the third track to receive a new coat of asphalt this year, joining
 Pocono  Raceway  and Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR officials believe
 the  racing grooves  at Kansas will multiply as more rubber accumulates on the
 track, which was the case earlier this season at Pocono and Michigan.
 "Eventually,  the  groove will  move up  naturally, and I  think the second or
 third  groove very well  could be one of the fastest ways around," NASCAR vice
 president  of competition  Robin  Pemberton said  after  Wednesday's test  had
 Teams  and race  officials are hopeful the upcoming weekend at Kansas will not
 feature  the same  issues that occurred in the June event at Michigan. Several
 teams  experienced  tire blistering in  the first  two days of practice there.
 NASCAR and Goodyear were forced to use a tougher left-side tire for that race,
 which prompted an extra practice session the evening before the event.
 "We don't need to go into a racetrack and have an issue," said title contender
 Jimmie  Johnson. "I know there was a tire test, but it's always different when
 the  entire field  is there pushing one  another. We seem to have other things
 surface from a tire standpoint or even the asphalt itself. There's always that
 risk of it pulling up, so it's nice that we go there.
 "We  all get acclimated  with the new surface and re-design. I guess there are
 some  small little  changes and things; and validate the tire and validate the
 track  and get everything right, so that when we show up Friday, we can put on
 the show that we need to."
 Johnson,  who  won last year's fall  race at Kansas, is presently seven points
 behind  Keselowski. Denny  Hamlin is 15 points  out of the lead. Hamlin won at
 this track in April.
 Forty-six  teams  are on the  preliminary entry  list for the Hollywood Casino
 Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Sunday, Oct. 21. Race: Hollywood Casino 400.
 Site: Kansas Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 2:00 p.m.(ET). Laps:
 267. Miles: 400.5. 2011 Winner: Jimmie Johnson. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor
 Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
 10/17 22:53:14 ET

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