Johnson is a two-time winner at Kansas. His average finishing position at the 1.5-mile oval is 7.5, by far the best among all those who will take the green flag on Saturday night.

BOWYER FEELING HIS AGE, WITH BABY ON THE WAY

Kansas native Clint Bowyer admitted to feeling a bit older this week. No, not because he has developed a need for bifocals, nor because he's begun getting mail from AARP.

Making the Michael Waltrip Racing driver feel his age were a couple of recent real-world incidents.

First, there was a visit to his old high school in Emporia.

"Last time I left there was in 1998, a free man," Bowyer said. "I went back and it was so fun to talk to the students. It's really probably the hardest thing I've ever done, because I remember when I was a senior in high school and you're not a kid anymore and you don't want to be talked down to.

"You hear all these people come in and tell you stats and everything and I was that guy, I couldn't help it. I was like, 'Trust me kids, I know this, I've lived it. Don't screw up and listen to us.'"

The message Bowyer had for the high schoolers was a worthy one: Don't text while driving.

Second, was the announcement this week that Bowyer and his wife Lorra are having a baby boy.

And the name? Good question. One for which Bowyer has no answer yet. He knows that it will not be Clint Jr., however.

"No, no Juniors," he said. "Can't have Juniors. I'm really looking forward to it. That's the question, I know everybody you talk to, 'What are you going to name him.'

"I'm scrambling right now. Really, really excited about our boy. Casey (Bowyer, Clint's brother) brought in nieces and nephews to our family a few years ago. And ever since then Lorra and I are like, 'We got to have one soon.'"

ALLMENDINGER LOBBYING FOR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE FAN VOTE

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet, was asked Friday why he thinks fans might vote him into next weekend's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With the precise comedic timing of Jerry Seinfeld, Allmendinger shot back: "Because they've got to be tired of voting for Danica (Patrick)."

Voting for Danica Patrick, now in her second full season in Sprint Cup, has seemingly become pro forma among the NASCAR electorate. With Dale Earnhardt Jr. already locked into this year's all-star event, Patrick would seem to be a slam dunk for inclusion.

Allmendinger might not need the fan vote to get into next weekend's race at Charlotte. His team has been looking strong in the late spring this year. He finished fifth last week at Talladega and sixth the race before in Richmond.

What's up with a JTG Daugherty team that has struggled in the past? Credit, he said, being a member of the "Childress Alliance."

"With the RCR alliance, it's been great because Richard (Childress) for our team at least has just opened his doors," Allmendinger said. "I mean giving us all the information we can have. Our cars right now aren't brand new cars, they are cars from late last year. A lot of the No. 29 cars a couple of them that Kevin (Harvick) won with. So they are not brand new cars, but at the same point they are still fast race cars.

"They have given us just basically open information, engineering, set-ups, everything that we need to know what makes the cars fast. It's been great sharing, and hopefully we are bringing something back to them. That has been my goal, to not just keep taking but hopefully bring something back to where they are learning and we can make everybody as a whole better. Richard has been just fantastic. I've been part of an alliance before and this is the best I've ever seen. All credit goes to him and their race shop for allowing us to have that. Hopefully it just keeps continuing."