Is There A Race At Kansas Speedway This Weekend? [Expert Guide!]

After a few odd years, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to Kansas Speedway this weekend for the 65th running of the event, formerly known as the Great American Race.

The Monster Energy Series will be racing on a brand new track this year, as renovations at their home track, Kansas Speedway, were completed just before the start of the 2018 racing season. That means that this weekend will mark the first time that the drivers have raced on the revised layout.

After the first few practice sessions on Thursday, the track has been found to be a bit rough on the driving surface, which could potentially throw off event scheduling. Practice is slated to continue on Friday, with qualifying set for Saturday. The race will be on Sunday, at 1 p.m. CT, with the green flag expected to wave around 12:30 p.m.

Who’s Racing There This Year?

This will be the first time that Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart, and Chase Elliott will race at Kansas Speedway. Larson is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season, while Stewart is returning after sitting out the 2018 season due to injury. With Stewart back in the fold, this could potentially be a career-turning race for the Kentucky native.

Chase Elliott made his way to victory lane at Kansas in 2015, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the event. His 2018 season was also quite successful, as the 18-year-old from Bozeman, Montana, won seven races, including the season opener at Daytona.

Elliott is looking to make it two in a row, and with Stewart as a teammate, he could potentially score his first Monster Energy Series victory later this month.

What Is The New Race Track?

As mentioned above, Kansas Speedway was completely revamped in the off-season, taking a bit of a modern twist to traditional stock car racing. The renovations include a brand new grandstand, additional camera positions, and a completely new surface. The track now features a wide variety of terrain, as it has been designed to have more of a driving experience.

The track has always been a bit of an oddity within NASCAR, as it is the only track that doesn’t have any banked turns, meaning the cars maintain full velocity all the way around. Because of this, the track has always been a bit of a wild ride for both drivers and spectators. This oddity makes it a bit more challenging for the drivers, as it takes some getting used to, as you can’t quite tell where the edge is at any given moment.

The new layout for the track is a modification of the original plan, which was to have 3/4ths of a mile of single-lane oval, with a short chute at each end to bring the cars back around for a fast lap. The plan was to have the start-finish line placed at the apex of the back stretch, and the finish line was going to be at the top of the chute, just like the old school grandstands.

While the layout sounds similar, this year’s variation includes a few key changes. The wide variety of terrain means that the cars will be driving on different surfaces, which could contribute to a more entertaining race, due to different driving dynamics. Another interesting change is that the end of the backstretch is going to be slightly elevated, adding another dimension to the already fast-paced action. Finally, the entire track now has high-tension wires, which have been placed at strategic locations around the track, to keep the cars on the racing line, and prevent accidents.

What Is The Weather Like There?

Kansas is located in the center of the United States, within spitting distance of the Missouri River. The weather in this part of the country is quite variable, and quite unpredictable, so it would be a waste of time to talk about the weather, unless you want to say that it is unpredictable. Which it kind of is.

The good news is that the temperature changes quite significantly, as the climate gets colder as you go north, and hotter as you go south. This weekend’s temperature is supposed to vary between 50 and 60 degrees, so it should be pretty comfortable.

Is There Entertainment Outside The Barn?

Located just a few miles from Kansas Speedway, the Mid-America Center is the focal point of Kansas City’s cultural life. The center features the Kauffman, which is the largest art gallery in the area. The gallery has several exhibitions going on at any given time, so there is always something new and exciting to see.

The region’s best food trucks will be parked outside the racetrack this weekend, serving up everything from barbecue to gelato. If you want to avoid the crowds and experience a more intimate atmosphere, you could always head to one of the region’s many vineyards, where you can sit down with a glass of wine and some cheese boards, and watch the action from a different angle.

How Is The Food Concerning At Kansas Speedway?

Since the 1980s, Kansas Speedway has been a mecca for casual dining, with several restaurants and coffee shops scattered around the 2.5 mile oval. With the renovations putting more seating areas outside of the track, drivers and fans alike could be enjoying some high-quality food, while enjoying the experience of a traditional American sport.

One of the unique things about Kansas Speedway, is that they are extremely open to the public. As mentioned above, it is one of the few tracks that doesn’t have any banked turns, so it is pretty easy for anybody to get close to the action. What this also means, is that some of the restaurants at Kansas Speedway are very affordable, and are open to everybody. This is a far cry from most NASCAR tracks, where tickets range from $60 to $100, and you can only eat certain amounts of food, due to the high caloric content of the racing fuel.

The track has always been a hub for families and children. In the off-season, you can often find kids running around, in their parent’s arms. This is mainly because Kansas is a pretty small town in the wintertime, so there isn’t a lot of other entertainment options for them. In the summertime, when the crops are ready, the whole town disappears for a while, as the farmers leave for the fields. It’s quite an interesting dynamic, watching this part of Americana evolve before your eyes.

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