Hollywood Casino 400

By the numbers: The 2013 Chasers at Kansas

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The Chase for the Sprint Cup heads into America’s Heartland this weekend for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, marking a return to the intermediate tracks that make up the majority of NASCAR’s playoff run.

Last weekend at Dover, Chase leader Matt Kenseth came back to Earth with a seventh-place finish but will likely be the favorite at Kansas, where he triumphed over fellow Chaser Kasey Kahne in the spring. Dover winner Jimmie Johnson came up third behind the pair and may be up for another strong run as well this weekend.

The one to watch may well be Kyle Busch, who has had many struggles on this particular 1.5-mile oval. This past spring was particularly brutal for him at Kansas; during that weekend, he wrecked his primary car in practice, crashed out of a Camping World Truck Series event, and spun twice in the Sprint Cup race – with the second spin ending in a collision with Joey Logano.

At the risk of stating the obvious, he can’t afford another struggle here versus his main title rivals – Kenseth, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, and Johnson, the five-time Cup champion. Here are the Kansas statistics for each of the 13 Chase contenders, as provided by NASCAR.

MATT KENSETH (LEADER, 2,149 points)
Two wins, six Top-5s, nine Top-10s
Average Finish: 14.8 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 9.5, third-best

JIMMIE JOHNSON (Second, -8 points)
Two wins, six Top-5s, 12 Top-10s
Average Finish: 7.6 in 14 races
Average Running Position: 7.4, Series-best

KYLE BUSCH (Third, -12 points)
Two Top-10s
Average Finish: 22.4 in 12 races
Average Running Position: 18.4, 19th-best

KEVIN HARVICK (Fourth, -39 points)
One Top-5, six Top-10s
Average Finish: 12.8 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 12.7, ninth-best

JEFF GORDON (Fifth, -39 points)
Two wins, eight Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.1 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 9.7, fourth-best

GREG BIFFLE (Sixth, -41 points)
Two wins, seven Top-5s, nine Top-10s
Average Finish: 10.1 in 14 races
Average Running Position: 8.2, second-best

RYAN NEWMAN (Seventh, -48 points)
One win, three Top-5s, four Top-10s
Average Finish: 18.1 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 20.9, 24th-best

CLINT BOWYER (Eighth, -51 points)
Two Top-5s, five Top-10s
Average Finish: 13.1 in 10 races
Average Running Position: 15.2, 15th-best

KURT BUSCH (Ninth, -55 points)
Three Top-10s
Average Finish: 17.9 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 14.8, 14th-best

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (10th, -57 points)
One Top-5, six Top-10s
Average Finish: 16.4 in 14 races
Average Running Position: 16.1, 17th-best

CARL EDWARDS (11th, -65 points)
Four Top-5s, eight Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.3 in 12 races
Average Running Position: 12.5, seventh-best

JOEY LOGANO (12th, -66 points)
Average Finish: 26.1 in eight races
Average Running Position: 24.2, 32nd-best

KASEY KAHNE (13th, -78 points)
Three Top-5s, six Top-10s
Average Finish: 13.9 in 12 races
Average Running Position: 13.9, 11th-best

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.