NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
 
                  === This Week in Auto Racing Oct. 4 - 6 ===
 
 By Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor
 
 Kansas  City, KS (Sports  Network) - The fourth round in the 10-race Chase for
 the  Sprint  Cup championship takes  places at Kansas Speedway. The Nationwide
 Series will also be at Kansas. Formula One is in South Korea.
 
 
 NASCAR
 
 Sprint Cup Series
 
 Hollywood Casino 400 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kan.
 
 Matt Kenseth has another shot at winning three in a row.
 
 Last  Sunday,  Kenseth finished seventh  at Dover  after winning the first two
 races  in  the Chase  for the  Sprint Cup championship  -- Chicagoland and New
 Hampshire.  He'll  now try  to score  his third  consecutive victory at Kansas
 Speedway.
 
 Kenseth  won last  year's Chase race at  Kansas in his final season with Roush
 Fenway  Racing. The April 21 event here marked his second victory as driver of
 the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
 
 Entering  Sunday's  400-mile race  at Kansas,  which is round  4 in the Chase,
 Kenseth  holds an eight-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, who won at Dover. Kyle
 Busch is 12 points behind his JGR teammate Kenseth.
 
 Sprint Cup teams arrived at Kansas a day early on Thursday for a Goodyear tire
 test.  This  will the  third time  the series runs  on this 1.5-mile racetrack
 since  it was repaved during the middle of the 2012 season. Teams familiarized
 themselves with Goodyear's new multi-zone tread tire for this race.
 
 "I   would  have  rather  left  everything  alone  for  us,  especially  after
 (Thursday)," said Kenseth, who was 13th on the practice charts at 180.711 mph.
 "It was a struggle. I was glad we got the extra practice. Whenever anything is
 working  good for you, then you kind of like to leave everything the same. But
 yet when you come back it's the same for everybody. You just have to figure it
 out."
 
 Johnson posted the quickest lap at 182.648 mph. Chase drivers Carl Edwards and
 Kurt Busch were second and third fastest, respectively.
 
 "Goodyear and NASCAR didn't like the fact there wasn't any tire wear, and that
 is why they tested a couple of times and having this test day for us," Johnson
 said.  "They are trying to create the right tire fall-off, so we can have that
 side-by-side racing that is everybody's goal."
 
 Five  drivers  have two  victories at  Kansas: Greg  Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Tony
 Stewart, Johnson and Kenseth. No driver has yet to win three races here.
 
 Kenseth has finished no worse than seventh in the last six races at Kansas. He
 started on the pole and led 163 of 267 laps at this track in the spring.
 
 "Kansas  obviously was  brand new,  paved,  and reconfigured  for last  fall,"
 Kenseth  said. "We  had a  fast car  there last  year, and  then circumstances
 worked  out where we had to pit and fix some damage, and ended up being in the
 front.  It's pretty tough to pass with the new pavement, and this past spring,
 we just had an unbelievably fast car and were fortunately able to turn it into
 a win."
 
 Kansas is the second of five mile-and-a-half tracks on the Chase schedule. The
 remaining  intermediate  tracks are:  Charlotte (Oct. 12),  Texas (Nov. 3) and
 Homestead  (Nov. 17).  Four of Kenseth's series-leading seven wins this season
 have come at mile and a halfs.
 
 Johnson's  victories at Kansas occurred in September 2008 and October 2011. He
 has finished ninth or better in the last nine races here. Johnson placed third
 in the spring event.
 
 While  Kenseth and Johnson have been impressive at Kansas, Kyle Busch has not.
 Busch  has scored  just two  top-10 finishes  in 12  races at  this track.  He
 finished  31st in last year's Chase event at Kansas and then 38th here earlier
 this season.
 
 "We definitely had a great start to our Chase thus far with three top-fives in
 a  row,"  Busch said. "We  go to  one of our  worst racetracks on the circuit.
 Probably  going  to be  our second biggest  test, we feel  like, in the Chase.
 We're  ready for  it. We're focused and  excited about being able to get there
 and have a great weekend in Kansas."
 
 Kevin  Harvick  is presently  fourth  in  the  Chase standings  (-39  points),
 followed Gordon (-39), Biffle (-41), Ryan Newman (-48) and Clint Bowyer (-51).
 
 Ninth  through 13th in points are: Kurt Busch (-55), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-57),
 Edwards (-65), Joey Logano (-66) and Kasey Kahne (-78).
 
 Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Hollywood Casino 400.
 
 
 Nationwide Series
 
 Kansas Lottery 300 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kan.
 
 The  battle  for the Nationwide Series  championship is heating up between Sam
 Hornish Jr. and Austin Dillon.
 
 A sixth-place run for Dillon coupled with a 17th-place finish for Hornish last
 Saturday at Dover allowed Dillon to trim Hornish's lead to just four points.
 
 Five  races  remain. Four  of them  will be  contested on 1.5-mile racetracks,
 beginning  with this  weekend's event  at Kansas  Speedway. After  Kansas, the
 series  will head to  Charlotte (Oct. 11), Texas (Nov. 2) and Phoenix (Nov. 9)
 before  the  season wraps  up at  Homestead (Nov. 16).  Phoenix is one-mile in
 length.
 
 Hornish  has  only one win  this season,  which came in  March at Las Vegas (a
 mile-and-a-half track). Dillon has yet to score a Nationwide victory in 2013.
 
 "I  think  it's going to  take top-five finishes,  and by top-five finishes, I
 don't mean you can finish fifth every weekend for the rest of the year and win
 the  championship," Dillon  said. "I think you need to finish in the top-three
 consistently.
 
 "Sam  Hornish, Jr. and  I are both really competitive, and in order to win the
 championship,  the  No. 3 (Richard Childress  Racing) team is going to have to
 finish  ahead of him every weekend. Kansas Speedway is a mile-and-a-half track
 where  we have performed well at in the past. I'm really comfortable there and
 looking forward to this weekend's race."
 
 Dillon  has gradually crawled back up the Nationwide standings since his 21st-
 place finish at Mid-Ohio in mid-August. He dropped from first to fourth in the
 rankings  at that time. After the Sept. 14 event at Chicagoland, Dillon was 17
 points behind Hornish but has trimmed 13 points from his lead in the two races
 since.
 
 Both  drivers competed in  a Nationwide race at Kansas for the first time last
 year. Dillon finished second, while Hornish placed ninth.
 
 "Kansas  is one of  the tracks that we have run better than we have finished,"
 Hornish  said. "It has  changed a lot over the years, and with the resurfacing
 they  did there last  year, it is fast. This weekend is going to be a good one
 for  us, as  our intermediate track program  has been solid this year. We know
 what  we have to  work on, and we plan on making the most of it come Saturday.
 We  are coming  down  the stretch  for the  championship,  and every  position
 counts."
 
 Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup
 Series regulars competing in this event.
 
 Keselowski  is driving the  No. 22 car for Penske Racing. That car has been to
 victory  lane in  11  Nationwide races  this season,  including  the last  two
 events.  Ryan  Blaney won at  Kentucky, and Joey  Logano scored the victory at
 Dover.
 
 Busch (2007) and Keselowski (2011) have won a Nationwide race at Kansas in the
 past.
 
 Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the Kansas Lottery 300.
 
 
 IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
 
 Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Reliant Park - Houston, Texas
 
 After  taking  a month-long  break, the  IndyCar Series is  back on track this
 weekend with not one race but two.
 
 The  series will run its third and final weekend doubleheader this season at a
 new venue -- Houston's Reliant Park. Houston is race 17 and 18 on the 19-event
 schedule this year. The season concludes on Oct. 19 in Fontana, Calif.
 
 After  finishing ninth in the most recent IndyCar race, the Sept. 1 Grand Prix
 of  Baltimore,  Helio  Castroneves  increased his  lead  in  the  championship
 standings  to  a season-high  49 points  over Scott  Dixon, who finished 19th.
 Dixon  started on  the  pole but  was  involved  in a  wreck  with Will  Power
 following a restart late in the event.
 
 "Wow,  it seems like  a long time since we last raced in Baltimore a few weeks
 ago,"  Castroneves  said. "It's been  tough waiting, but  it will make it even
 better once we get on track."
 
 Castroneves  has scored 12 consecutive top-10 finishes and has completed every
 lap  in  the first 16 races  this season. The  Team Penske driver has one win,
 which came in June at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
 This  is the third  time Castroneves has led in points with three races to go.
 He  was  atop the standings  at this  juncture of the  season in 2003 and '06.
 Castroneves  has been  in contention for the  series title in four of the last
 five years.
 
 "We  know we need to have a strong weekend with two races in front of us and a
 close  battle  for the championship," he  said. "We are focused and ready, and
 I'm  looking forward to getting to know the new Reliant Park street course and
 see what we can do."
 
 After  winning  the GP of  Baltimore, Simon Pagenaud moved  up to third in the
 standings. Pagenaud is 70 points behind Castroneves.
 
 Sebastien  Bourdais had  a superb  performance in  Baltimore, finishing  third
 after  starting 22nd. Bourdais won both Champ Car Series races at Reliant Park
 from 2006-07. He has yet to win in IndyCar.
 
 "I  have  great memories from  Houston, having won  the previous two events at
 this  track, back in the Champ Car days," Bourdais said. "I sure hope to score
 some more podiums and why not a win."
 
 Ten  different  drivers have  been  to  victory  lane  in IndyCar  this  year,
 including  first-time  race winners  James Hinchcliffe (St. Petersburg, Fla.),
 Takuma  Sato (Long  Beach, Calif.),  Charlie Kimball  (Mid-Ohio) and  Pagenaud
 (Detroit/Race 2).
 
 Each  of the  two races on the 1.683-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit at
 Reliant Park will be 90 laps (153 miles) in length.
 
 Six  drivers competing in this weekend's doubleheader have previously raced at
 Reliant  Park --  Bourdais, Pagenaud,  Power, Graham  Rahal, Oriol  Servia and
 Justin Wilson.
 
 "I  think it's great to add the Houston street circuit this year," Power said.
 "I  remember racing there  around Reliant Park in 2006 and 2007, and it seemed
 to be a really popular event with the fans and a cool venue for a race. It was
 a  bumpy and  challenging street circuit, and I think it's definitely going to
 make  for an interesting weekend, especially with two races and so many points
 on the line for the championship."
 
 IndyCar  will conduct a standing start in the first Houston race. In race 2 on
 the  streets of  Toronto (July 14), pole  sitter Dixon had a clean getaway and
 went on to complete his weekend-sweep there.
 
 Twenty-four  teams are on  the entry list for the Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of
 Houston.
 
 
 FORMULA ONE
 
 Korean Grand Prix - Korean International Circuit - Yeongam, South Korea
 
 With six races to go, Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull is on the way to claiming
 his fourth consecutive Formula One world championship.
 
 Vettel  has won the  last three grand prix -- Belgium, Italy and Singapore. He
 now  holds  a 60-point lead  over Fernando Alonso  from Ferrari and a 96-point
 advantage over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
 
 Sunday's  Korean  Grand Prix  is the  next round on  the 19-race schedule this
 season.
 
 Last  month in  Singapore, Vettel put on a flawless performance by starting on
 the  pole and leading  all 61 laps. He crossed the finish line a whopping 32.6
 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Alonso. The 26-year-old German earned
 his  33rd career  victory, which put him  in sole possession of fourth on F1's
 all-time  race winners  list. Michael  Schumacher (91),  Alain Prost  (51) and
 Ayrton Senna (41) have more victories than Vettel.
 
 "In  Singapore, we had something of a luxurious situation in that, towards the
 end,  we could even take it a bit easier and reduce the speed. Let's hope that
 it's going to be the same this Sunday."
 
 Vettel  has won the last two Korean GPs. Last year, he scored four consecutive
 victories  late in  the season (Singapore, Japan, Korea and India) but claimed
 the championship by just three points over Alonso.
 
 "We've  done fantastic in  the last few races, but that does not mean that you
 can  bank  on it  to continue everywhere,"  Vettel said. "We  do have a strong
 package.  That is a  fact. How strong? The weekend will show. Korea is a track
 that, in general, suits us."
 
 Alonso won the inaugural Korean GP in 2010, his first season with Ferrari. The
 Spaniard  is hoping to win in South Korea for a second time and gain ground on
 Vettel in the championship battle.
 
 "We  have to be  realistic that we don't have the pace to beat them (Red Bull)
 in  normal conditions, and if we do get any luck, you can be sure we will take
 it,"  Alonso  said. "We will  not give up  the fight until it's mathematically
 impossible to take the title."
 
 After  Korea, F1 moves  on to Japan (Oct. 13), then India (Oct. 27), Abu Dhabi
 (Nov.  3)  and Austin,  Texas (Nov. 17)  before the season  wraps up in Brazil
 (Nov. 24).
 
 10/04 12:16:23 ET

TEST CONTENT