NASCAR's Chase covers a wide range of track styles and designs, but in the 10-race title hunt, one track size dominates them all. Five of those races occur on 1.5-mile speedways, with each having their own unique twists and characteristics to make them their own.
The second of those races happens this weekend to open the month of October.
The Great Plains welcomes the title hunt this week, as NASCAR is in Kansas. A year ago, this track went under a minor face lift to change the banking, and the surface, which has made it a much faster speedway. In an area that is more known for a redhead with red shoes and a wicked witch, the track has seen many of it's own twisters.
In 2013, the man that can be considered "Oz" is leading the standings, but can he hold on for yet another week?
The writers certainly have found their courage, although some drivers feel that some of their competitors haven't found their brain. But, the writers have a lot of heart, and have their picks locked in for Kansas.
Take a look at who they chose for victory in the Hollywood Casino 400:
Misan Akuya: Matt Kenseth
I have been saving Matt Kenseth for this race. Two races for Kansas on a new surface. Two wins for Kenseth. With the way he ran at Chicgaoland, no reason he can't get a third.
Rob Blount: Matt Kenseth
Kenseth has been fast everywhere all season long, but really fast on the intermediate tracks. Oh yeah, and he won Kansas the last time the series was there and led 163 laps in the process from the pole. He’s my pick for Sunday.
James Broomhead: Matt Kenseth
Kelly Crandall: Matt Kenseth
Going to a 1.5 mile track, there isn't another option after what he's done on them this year.
Billy Fellin: Matt Kenseth
It's hard to pick when to use Kenseth since he's been so dominant since the Chase started, but Kansas seems like a good place to me. Back-to-back wins, six Top-5s, eight Top-10s in 15 races and hasn't finished worse than seventh since 2009.
He'll be the one to beat as he has the entire Chase.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Kara Martin: Jimmie Johnson
Ryan O'Hara: Matt Kenseth
How can I not go with Matt here? He's won the past two races here with two different teams. Kenseth will get me another win.
Dustin Parks: Clint Bowyer
My mind says go with Kenseth, and it is oh so tempting to do so. But problem is with me back in the standings, picking him now means just maintaining position, and that's not what the Chase is about...it's about gaining ground, and winning.
So I'm saving Kenseth for later in the year and going with the guy who still hasn't won at his home track. MWR has been getting negative news ever since the Chase began, so maybe it's time to get some positive thinking, and a win will do that. Going with the 5-Hour Energy Raspberry Toyota.
Patti Rodisch: Kasey Kahne
Sal Sigala Jr: Matt Kenseth
Rob Tiongson: Kasey Kahne
Sooner or later, Team 5 will pick things up. And I already upset Kasey Kahne's spotter Kevin Hamlin by not choosing them at Dover, so y'all better get me at least a top-5 or top-10 now, you hear? Jesting aside, they were real fast here in the spring - just that Matt Kenseth was faster. This time, he'll make like the brides running in Boston this past weekend but win this time!
NOTE: A special happy birthday to the man at the helm of The Podium Finish.
Standings following Dover:
Rob Tiongson (2126) Jimmie Johnson WON (3)
Misan Akuya (2119) Jimmie Johnson WON (2)
Sal Sigala Jr. (2119) Kyle Busch finished 5th (1)
Rob Blount (2114) Jimmie Johnson WON (2)
Patti Rodisch (2114) Greg Biffle finished 9th (0)
Kelly Crandall (2113) Kyle Busch finished 5th (1)
Ryan O'Hara (2110) Jimmie Johnson WON (1)
Dustin Parks (2109) Kyle Busch finished 5th (0)
Billy Fellin (2108) Jimmie Johnson WON (2)
Michael Hirshbein (2092) Brad Keselowski finished 37th (3)
Kara Martin (2088) Matt Kenseth finished 7th (1)
James Broomhead (2075) Carl Edwards finished 35th (2)
Final Thoughts: It is obvious who the favorite is at this track, and with statistics to back that fact it just makes it that much more clear who the dominant car could be.
But anything can happen in NASCAR, and as has been evident through three races in the Chase, anything will.
The green flag waves shortly after 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Summary of Picks: