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What to watch for - Kansas

Harvick Connects Four (Wins) Early in the Season

With his win last week at Dover, Kevin Harvick now has 4 on the season, just 1 off his career set in 2006 and 2014 (won championship in 2014). It's a rare occasion for a driver to win 4 times this early in the season - Harvick is just the 3rd driver in the last 25 seasons to do so.

Of the 2 who got there faster than Harvick, both Jeff Gordon in 1997 and Jimmie Johnson in 2007 won 10 races and the championship that season.

The next 2 points races will be on 1.5-mile tracks in Kansas and Charlotte. Last year in winning the championship, Martin Truex Jr. made a living on those tracks, winning 7 of the 11 races with more than 1,100 laps led. Harvick is off to a similar start this season, winning 2 of the 3 (Atlanta, Las Vegas) with a lot more laps led than all other drivers.

Harvick has already led 482 laps in the 3 1.5-mile races this season, 52% of the total laps run on those tracks (out of 926 possible laps). Nobody else is within 300 laps led of him.

Kenseth Returns to Roush Fenway Racing

Matt Kenseth makes his first start of 2018 this week at Kansas, returning to the team where he won the 2003 championship and a pair of Daytona 500s. Kenseth will replace Trevor Bayne in a number of races during the 2018 season, after driving for Joe Gibbs Racing from 2013-17. Overall, 24 of Kenseth's 39 career wins came with Roush Fenway Racing.

Roush Fenway has slipped in recent years. Since the start of 2015, the team has 2 Cup Series wins, both coming last year from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the unpredictable restrictor-plate tracks. The team doesn't have a win on an oval track since Carl Edwards won in 2014 at Bristol.

Only Mark Martin has won more Cup races with Roush Fenway than Kenseth. Overall, 9 drivers have won Cup races with Roush Fenway. The 6 car that Kenseth will be taking over has won once since Mark Martin's last win in the car in 2005 (July 2011, David Ragan at Daytona).

Kansas No Longer a Struggle for Busch

Harvick might have 4 wins this season, but Kyle Busch is the man leading the points, even after a drivetrain issue caused him to finish 35th last week at Dover. But this could be a good place for Busch to pick it back up.

Busch has 46 career wins and was the 2015 series champion, but this year is on pace to be his best year.

Who's Hot and Who's Not - Kansas

HOT
• Kevin Harvick: 2 wins, 1 2nd-place finish in 3 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season
• Martin Truex Jr.: won last 2 Kansas races; no driver has won 3 straight at Kansas since track's opening in 2001
• Kyle Busch: 6 straight top-10 finishes at Kansas (5 top 5s in span); 0 top 5s in first 14 career starts at track
• Kurt Busch: 4 top-10 finishes in last 6 Kansas races (2nd in last start at track); 4 top 10s in first 18 career races at track)
• Ryan Blaney: 3 top-5 finishes in 6 career Kansas starts (including both races last season); only track where he has multiple top 5s
• Daniel Suárez: tied career-best with 3rd-place finish last week at Dover; 3 straight top-10 finishes overall (1 in first 8 starts this season)

NOT
• Chevrolet: winless in last 10 races (since winning Daytona 500); Chevrolet hasn't gone 11 straight races without winning since September 2015 (last 12-race drought was in November 1993)
• Jimmie Johnson: on career-long 34-race winless streak; has not led a lap this season
• Joey Logano: wrecked out of last 2 Kansas spring races; 24.8 Avg finish in 4 Kansas races since winning 2015 playoff race at track
• Kyle Larson: finished 29th or worse in 4 of last 5 Kansas races
• Clint Bowyer: finished no better than 9th in last 9 races at Kansas (Emporia, KS native)

--- ESPN Stats & Info ---