Qualification matters little at Kansas, but Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take consolation in knowing they will start up front. Brad Keselowski was the surprise dark horse of the afternoon, however, and this week's Yahoo! qualification story (.pdf) tells of just how fast Hendrick Motorsports was.
Ryan Newman posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods with a speed of 173.745 mph.
Our View If he wants to reclaim the title "Rocketman," Newman is going to have to start winning poles again. So far in 2009, his only top start came at Lowe's for the Coke 341—er… that is, the Coke 600.
According to Autosport.com, Mika Salo will test a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota this November. "It will be great to get to test a NASCAR at last," Salo told AUTOSPORT magazine, "After two years of trying, I finally met the person who could make it happen. Racing sportscars in the US has definitely helped.
"My hope next year is that I can do some races in Nationwide, maybe even a full season - but I understand that I may have to raise some money to make it happen."
Our View This time is right to try and make a move with Juan Montoya currently running so well. This has to increase recognition for former F1 drivers.
Chicago is supposed to be the windy city, but nestled on the plains outside of Kansas City, wind may play a huge role in practice, qualification and the race at Kansas Speedway.
Our View It's going to be hard to dial the cars in under these conditions. Kansas is traditionally kind to dark horses, and this uncertainty will contribute to some comers and goers at the top of the grid.
Goodyear has brought the same tire to Kansas Speedway they used at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year.
Our View That might favor drivers who were fast there: Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon were the class of the field in the Auto Club 500. The California track is slightly longer at two miles in length, but it bears a lot of similarities in shape to the 1.5-miler in Kansas.
Last week it was reported that Danica Patrick had signed a three-year deal with Andretti-Green Racing. Not so fast, it seems; Patrick has been mum on the subject.
Our View According to the Associated Press, "Patrick refused Wednesday to confirm widespread reports that she's agreed to a three-year extension of her IndyCar contract with Andretti Green Racing. Asked specifically about the extension, Patrick simply shook her head, not saying a word."
Come on over, girl – diversity needs to be served.
According to FoxSports.com, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin's cars were "too close" to tolerance on fitting the templates at NASCAR's R&D center. Martin was barely under; Johnson was barely over. No penalties are forthcoming, but they were told not to bring the cars back to the track.
Our View As the story developed into Friday morning, however, John Darby reported neither car was illegal (according to a trackside Tweet from @BobPockrass). The teams that win are going to get as close to the line as possible, so Johnson and Martin are still favorites for the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods.