It is hard to say whether Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow or the Tin Man have seen the kind of storm that is anticipated this weekend. Despite the disastrous weather that hit the Great Plains last weekend, NASCAR is making a midwest trip once again, this time to the Kansas Speedway.
It's an end to an era for the Kansas Speedway this weekend, as it is the fourth track this season that is getting repaved or reconfigured, as Michigan and Pocono both have new asphalt and Bristol is changing it's surface based on fan response.
The old surface is 11 years old, and many drivers enjoy the old surface, making the track unique and harder to handle.
But, after this weekend's action, the old surface is going under the knife, or in this case the shovel, and getting repaved for the fall event during the Chase. It will make for a faster, more difficult, track, so this weekend's race is critical to many teams.
But just exactly who could be considered the favorite? Truth be told, there's a lot of teams competitive enough to win here, but only one driver can be chosen by each writer.
Take a look at who they went with for Sunday's STP 400:
Misan Akuya: Matt Kenseth
I considered picking Kenseth at Texas, but I think I'll use him this week. He has never won at Kansas, but has had some great runs at tracks in Tornado Alley (hope everyone is safe). Biffle will be tough, expect Stewart to come back and Johnson is always a factor.
But the brat has this one.
James Broomhead: Jimmie Johnson
Well, by all reports I picked the right time to miss my first Sprint Cup race of the year – busy chasing the top race series here in the UK around the country. Not only was the race – by most accounts – a snoozer, but my pick of Tony Stewart didn’t work out nearly as well as I hoped.
I’ll be back on my sofa this weekend and hopefully my pick can make up some of the lost ground too.
Kelly Crandall: Tony Stewart
After visiting the President on Tuesday and being congratulated on his 2011 accomplishments, Stewart has to be ready to celebrate again and end his horrendous three race losing streak.
He'll have a good shot to do so since he'll have the same chassis he dominated and won with in California.
Billy Fellin: Jeff Gordon
Gordon has been rock solid at Kansas (minus last year's 34th.) He's got 2 wins at the track. I'll take the 24.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Christopher Leone: Jimmie Johnson
Last time we went to Kansas, Johnson won Rick Hendrick's 199th race. He's still waiting on number 200. It comes Sunday at Johnson's hand.
Kara Martin: Jimmie Johnson
Ryan O'Hara: Jeff Gordon
Texas sucked yawwwwn. Still picking the 24 until he wins.
Dustin Parks: Jimmie Johnson
I've been waiting to pull out my 48 card, and finally the time has come. With Talladega next weekend, and me already knowing who I'm going with, I have to gain the max amount of points I can before that.
So, I have decided to go with the guy that has been riding a winless streak, and nearly got the job done last week. Win #200 for Hendrick Motorsports comes Sunday thanks to Five-Time.
Patti Rodisch: Jimmie Johnson
Win #200 will come this weekend for Hendrick Motorsports. It has been since the last time we visited Kansas Speedway that a HMS driver visited victory lane. Hard to believe that seeing how many close calls all four of these drivers have had.
Still it will be Johnson who takes the victory at a track he has had plenty of success at in the past. He had a strong car at Texas last weekend and those tracks have some translation. He ahs two wins, four top fives and nine top 10's.
Johnson will be hard to beat this weekend and HMS will finally dust off those 200 win hats!
Sal Sigala Jr: Jeff Gordon
I need a win pleeeease.
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
I just have a feeling that the Four Time champ is poised to make his spring swing in style now. He got a stellar fourth place finish last weekend at Texas and Kansas has been a fairly good track to Gordon.
Sure, he DNFed here last time with motor gremlin problems, but that No. 24 Chevy is ready for Victory Lane.
Standings following Texas:
Billy Fellin (261) Greg Biffle WON (2)
Misan Akuya (256) Tony Stewart finished 24th (1)
Rob Tiongson (253) Greg Biffle WON (1)
Sal Sigala Jr. (250) Jimmie Johnson finished nd (0)
James Broomhead (241) Tony Stewart finished 24th (0)
Christopher Leone (233) Kyle Busch finished 11th (0)
Kara Martin (226) Matt Kenseth finished 5th (0)
Kelly Crandall (223) Matt Kenseth finished 5th (1)
Patti Rodisch (204) Carl Edwards finished 8th (0)
Ryan O'Hara (199) Jeff Gordon finished 4th (0)
Dustin Parks (183) Carl Edwards Finished 8th (0)
Michael Hirshbein (182) Kyle Busch finished 11th (0)
Final Thoughts: Hopefully everyone recovered from the devastating tornadoes and storms that hit Kansas last weekend, because a new kind of twister is heading to Tornado Alley this weekend. It comes to the tune of over 32,000 horsepower.
No Wicked Witch of the West will stop this run, so tune in beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX to see who will be the one adding another trophy to their collection.
Summary of Picks: