The Backstretch Blog: The thin line between love and hate at Kansas

Published On: May 08 2014 11:24:42 PM CDT

We all love Kansas, we all love it a lot. But Kyle Busch, Kyle Busch does not.

"The racetrack is the worst racetrack I've ever driven on," Busch said after the Kansas race last fall. "The tire is the worst tire I've ever driven on. Track position is everything. You can't do anything unless you're out front and then you get back in traffic. (Winner) Kevin Harvick couldn't pass me and he led the first 80 laps of the race so I would say it was pretty pathetic."

I’m sure drivers like Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth would disagree. Both drivers have a pair of Kansas wins.

“I like Kansas since they repaved it,” said Kenseth. “I’m looking forward to going back there and I don’t know how different it’s going to be.  The car has more air on it now with these rules, so they are going to be more stable and probably a little easier to drive them.  Before it was a handful on new tires and it was hard to find that good balance to be fast at the end and fast at the beginning where you weren’t going to wreck.  I’m sure it’s still going to be treacherous, but I’m looking forward to it.”

And there you have it. Those two are teammates. But it absolutely shows the juxtaposition this track creates. No track other than maybe Daytona and Talladega creates such a battle between love and hate.

"I think Kansas is a track all its own,” said Ryan Newman. “With the new asphalt and the different aggregates they have at the different race tracks now, even if it's a 1.5-mile track, there is a lot of difference between them and you have to really approach each track as its own unique entity."

Add to the mix something you and I deal with every day and barely notice anymore.

“Kansas is unique in terms of how the wind changes direction from day to day,” said Kurt Busch. “So, turn two might be a problem one day and turn four might be a problem the next day. Now, we have a night race, so it’ll be interesting to see how the racetrack wants to make the cars handle after moving from day to night.”

Night racing will be the most interesting wildcard of the weekend and the one drivers are looking the most forward to.

“Kansas at night will be fun,” said Martin Truex, Jr, who has run well at Kansas but had bad luck finishes. “There’s just something about the way it feels. Something about racing at night the excitement level is up.”