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NASCAR At Kansas Speedway: Track Will Receive Major Makeover After Sunday's Sprint Cup Race

Hometown NASCAR favorites Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards seek their first Sprint Cup victory at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, and Hendrick Motorsports is one shy of 200 Cup wins.

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Kansas Speedway will host its 13th NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday with the second running of the STP 400. In 12 years of operation, the 1.5-mile, tri-oval racetrack has served as the venue for 36 NASCAR-sanctioned events.

Since the track's opening in 2001, NASCAR has held at least one race in each of its three racing series - Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel Cup), Nationwide (formerly the Busch Series) and trucks - every year. .There have been nine different winners in the dozen previous Cup races held at Kansas and three double winners: Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002), Tony Stewart (2006, 2009) and Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2011).

Brad Kesleowski won this weekend's race a year ago at this time, while Johnson won in October as part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship series, NASCAR's answer to the Major League Baseball playoffs.

After Sunday's Sprint Cup race, Kansas Speedway will undergo a major renovation of the track surface. The project will include repaving the existing track, reconfiguration of the oval and adding a new infield road course.

The starting lineup for the STP 400 includes two hometown favorites: Clint Bowyer of Emporia, Kan., and, Carl Edwards from Columbia in adjoining state Missouri. The starting field also includes another native Missourian in Jamie McMurrary, who drives the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonald's car for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.

Edwards and Bowyer have both won races at Kansas Speedway, but never a Sprint Cup race. Both have won a NASCAR race in the truck series, Edwards in 2004 and Bowyer in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 last June. The two hometown favorites have come close - both owning a second-place finish: Bowyer in 2007 and Edwards the following year - but so far, Victory Lane at Kansas has eluded them.

Both drivers have said that a win at Kansas Speedway, which now holds two Cup races, and a race each in the Nationwide and Camping World Series every year, would be as big as it gets. Said Edwards: "There would be no bigger win on the circuit than Kansas for me. If I had to choose one race throughout the year, that would be the one I would pick.

"The amount of pride that I would have winning that close to home and in front of so many people that are friends of mine and people that helped me would be huge," the driver of the No. 99 Roush-Fenway Ford said.

Something else to keep an eye on in Race No. 8 on the Sprint Cup Series schedule is Hendrick Motorsports' quest to earn the team's 200 Sprint Cup victory. Hendrick's last Sprint Cup win was at Kansas last October in the Chase for the Cup Hollywood Casino 400, with five-time Cup champion Johnson bringing home the victory. In addition to Johnson, the Hendricks team has Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., all doing well so far this season and all capable of capturing that elusive 200th win for the team.

If you didn't think one of the Hendricks drivers has a good chance of visiting Victory Lane on Sunday, consider that all four drivers finished in the top 10 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and that Rick Hendrick has the most owner wins at Kansas.

Saturday's Schedule

6 a.m. - Parking lots open

8 a.m. - Gates open

9:35 a.m. - Truck Series qualifying

11:10 a.m. - Sprint Cup qualifying

1 p.m. - Camping World Truck SFP 250

Sunday's Schedule

6 a.m. - Parking lots open

8 a.m. - Gates open

Noon - NASCAR Sprint Cup STP 400

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