The Backstretch Blog: The Wizards of Oz

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:49:49 PM CST   Updated On: Oct 30 2013 10:10:08 AM CDT

When it comes to Kansas Speedway there seems to two types of drivers, the ones that are good there and everyone else. It's always the same cast of characters in the front of the pack. Jimmie Johnson has two wins, as does Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle(for the record Tony Stewart has two wins as well).

"You always look forward to going back to tracks where you've had some good fortune at and some success at," said Matt Kenseth. "So, we'll just go back there and hopefully we still have that speed and that balance with this new tire and if we don't hopefully we can get that dialed in and have a good day again."

Ah yes, the tire. Goodyear is using a new "zone tread tire." It's actually the second time the tire has been used in the Sprint Cup series, the first was at Atlanta. The tire is supposed to combine durability and increased grip. But obviously the tracks are different, even more so with the Kansas repave last season.

"(The tire) does have the dual zone tread compound, but I don't think it's not the same tread compound, I don'tmthink it's the same one we ran at Atlanta," said Kyle Busch. "I wasn't a huge fan of the dual zone right at Kansas, but it did get great reviews at Atlanta, so I would expect that it will run pretty well at Kansas too."

There was a tire test at Kansas on Thursday, so some drivers got a chance to see how well the new tire will do here. For the most part drivers liked what they saw after one days worth of work.

"I don't think any of us like the box that Goodyear is put in when we come to a newly surfaced track and have to put a rock hard tire on there for durability," said Gordon. "It's not because that is the best performance tire - it's because they have to play it safe because of the high heat and the speeds that we are running. Right now what I'm feeling it feels good."

What would feel better, would be to ride those Goodyears to a Kansas victory. Obviously with Kenseth and Johnson being so good at this track, it makes it hard for the other 11 Chase for the Championship drivers trying to catch them. Only Gordon, Biffle and Ryan Newman also have Kansas victories.

"We're only three races in, there are seven more to go," said Newman. "A lot can happen in seven races. We can find ourselves having some misfortune, and we might find some of the guys we're racing for this championship have some misfortune. We have to be in position, should they have misfortune, where we can capitalize on it."

Other past Kansas winners in the field this weekend include Joe Nemecheck, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Mark Martin.