NASCAR at Kansas Speedway is Toyota’s domain but …

Hendrick's Chevrolets are good on this tire combination too

NASCAR: Hollywood Casino 400
Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas Speedway is firmly a Toyota Racing Development track until further notice.

Denny Hamlin is the defending winner of the spring race in Wyandotte County with his 23XI Racing drivers winning three of the past four races at the Kansas City, Kansas track too. One of them, Tyler Reddick was fastest in practice on Saturday and then Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell captured the pole.

With Toyota drivers having won seven of the last nine races at Kansas Speedway, consider Chevrolet and Ford teams thoroughly on notice in advance of the Advent Health 400.   

“We’ve got a great starting spot and we’re in prime position to win some stage points,” Bell said in the media center after winning the pole. “But 267 laps is a long time and I fully believe that we can have a great race tomorrow and definitely believe I can be talking to all of you guys in 24 hours after the race too.

“It just all has to come together and honestly at this point, I’m not looking for a race win, guys. I’m literally looking to see the checkered flag. And I know my car has great capabilities. If I just see the checkered flag with a clean car, we’re going to have a solid day and that’s what we’re after tomorrow.”

Despite having recent history on their side, this is the first year of a new body style for Toyota in the Camry XSE and also a new right side tire compound, a combination previously used at Las Vegas and Texas, races won by Hendrick Motorsports drivers.

Those were also races where Reddick finished inside the top-five too.

“It certainly helps,” Reddick said of the previous success on this tire combination. “I think for me, it’s always in a good place going to a mile and a half. I think so far this year, at the mile and a halfs, we’ve been really strong … Texas, Las Vegas, we were very fast.

“I didn’t lead a lot of laps at Las Vegas, but we were right there with (Kyle) Larson. Yeah, looking at the last two, and again, we were able to steal one away last year, but I know there were some things we didn’t really like in our race car that we were able to learn from and make some better changes coming back.

“I know that we can always be better and know we can be better than what we were, so confidence from that last fall and the other mile and a halfs certainly has me in a good spot.”

Byron from the back

NASCAR: Cup Practice & Qualifying
Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

William Byron and teammate Kyle Larson were actually faster than Reddick over a 20 lap average in practice but then this happened to Byron in time trials.

“It was a combination of my angle and throttle, and a little tight balance, all those things and hit the wall,” Byron said. “I hate it but our car is really good so I’ll just have to work a little harder for it.”

He says it will be harder to pass because the temperatures are trending cooler and thus, cars will have more grip, but also thinks his No. 24 is up to the task.

Overall it seemed like he was in good spirits.

“I’m frustrated, really frustrated, because qualifying is really good for us,” he said, but not in a way that seemed overly mad. “The metric from last week hurt us going out so early and overestimated the grip level of the track and it hurt us.”

And again, he has speed this weekend too, and he didn’t have to go to a backup car.

“I felt like my car was really good, three or four cars with us, I don’t think we were light years ahead of everyone but right there in the mix.”

Practice and Qualifying Results

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter. 

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