First night races set for May 9-10 at Kansas Speedway

As race fans prepare to attend the first NASCAR night races at Kansas Speedway, they can expect the same great experiences they have had in the past while also being part of another first in Kansas Speedway history.

For the latest updates, visit www.facebook.com/kansasspeedway and www.kansasspeedway.com. For updated ticket information, visit www.kansasspeedway.com or call 866-460-RACE (7223).

Schedule and Highlights:
May 9 – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (SFP 250) – 7:30 PM (FOX Sports 1 and MRN)

•         Parking lots open – 9 a.m.
•         Grandstand gates open – 10 a.m.
o   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice – 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
o   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice – 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
o   NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 3:35 p.m.
o   NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying – 5:30 p.m.
o   NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver introductions – 7 p.m.
  Invocation by Chaplain Jenkins, State Chaplain of the Kansas Army National Guard
  National Anthem by Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductee Betti O.
  Presentation of Colors: Kansas Army National Guard

•         In Sprint FanWalk, Ron White, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, will be writing out the names and rank from memory of the more than 2,200 fallen heroes from the war in Afghanistan. It takes him 10 hours to write the names on a 52 foot long wall.

May 10 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (5-hour ENERGY 400® Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation) – 6:30 p.m. (FOX and MRN)

•         Richard Petty Driving Experience Race Rides – 9 a.m. – noon
Rides must be pre-purchased; please visit www.drivepetty.com for information.
•         Parking lots open – noon
•         Gates open – 3 p.m.
o   Crossover gates for TrackPass open – 3 p.m.
•         NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver introductions – 6 p.m.
o   Invocation by Chaplain Jenkins, State Chaplain of the Kansas Army National Guard
o   National Anthem by Father Meinrad Miller, Benedictine Monk and Priest; Theology Professor at Benedictine College (Atchison, Kan.)
o   Presentation of Colors: Kansas Army National Guard

•         Kansas Army National Guard Pre-Race concert by ACM New Artist of the Year finalist Brett Eldredge at approx. 4:40 p.m.

•         In Sprint FanWalk, Ron White, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, will be writing out the names and rank from memory of the more than 2,200 fallen heroes from the war in Afghanistan. It takes him 10 hours to write the names on a 52-foot long wall.

•         KCSP 610 AM (Kansas City) will be broadcasting live from 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. in Sprint FanWalk.

All times Central, and times and events subject to change without notice.

VIPS
•         Major General Lee Tafanelli, the Adjutant General of Kansas.
•         2013 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Winner Don Post.
•         Green Bay Packers WR and former K-State WR Jordy Nelson is the honorary pace car driver for the Kansas 400.
•         K-State Men’s Basketball Coach Bruce Weber.

– Information from Kansas Speedway. For more information, visit www.kansasspeedway.com

No. 5 KCKCC takes 34-19 record to No. 4 seeded Colby Saturday

by Alan Hoskins

Freshman Geoff Birkemeier will draw the opening pitching assignment when Kansas City Kansas Community College opens the Region VI playoffs at Colby Saturday at 1 p.m.

Beaten 11-8 by Maple Woods in their final regular season game Wednesday, the Blue Devils will take a 34-19 record into the regional as the No. 5 seed. The No. 4 seed out of the West, Colby is 28-22. A best of three series, two games will be played Saturday with a third if necessary on Sunday with the winner advancing to the super-regional starting May 9 at Wichita. The Colby games will be streamed on OpenSpacesSports.

“Colby always has a good club and is well coached,” said KCKCC coach Steve Burleson. “They like to run so managing their running game will be a key.”

Burleson sent four hurlers to the mound and rested several starters against Maple Woods. Spencer Nielsen worked the first four innings, giving up seven runs of which only three were earned, while Cole Frakes and Derek Watkins were both touched for three hits and two runs in their two innings of work. Zane Mapes doubled and singled twice and drove in two runs, Tyler Raymond and Mitch Glessner each singled twice and Trevor Norbury delivered a pinch RBI double  in a 12-hit KCKCC attack.

The workhorse of the Blue Devil staff, Birkemeier completed nine of his 12 starts this season while compiling a 6-4 record with a 2.89 earned run average. Burleson is undecided on his Game 2 starter. Possibilities are southpaw Hunter Phillips, 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA, and E.J. Merlo, 4-3 with 4.36 ERA.

Boasting a team batting average of .300, seven of the eight Blue Devil starters are hitting .300 or better led by centerfielder Luke Norton, who is hitting .378 and leads in stolen bases with 27. The others are leftfielder Mitch Glessner (.344), third baseman Daniel LaMunyon (.341), shortstop Zane Mapes and catcher Garett McKinzie, both .319, rightfielder Christian Arnold (.308) and second baseman Tyler Raymond (.301). Only first baseman Tanner Foerschler is below .300 but he has 18 RBI.

Arnold, McKinzie and LaMunyon have supplied the power. Arnold leads in home runs (10) and RBI (50) while Garrett has six homers and 39 RBI and LaMunyon five homers and 36 RBI.

KCKCC will send .395 offense against No. 8 Highland Saturday

by Alan Hoskins

Boasting the best hitting team in Kansas City Kansas Community College history, Kacy Tillery’s Lady Blue Devils will make their strongest bid for a return to the national tournament in 10 years this weekend.
With four players hitting better than .400 and seven of nine starters hitting at least .300, the Blue Devils (33-13) will take a team batting average of .395 into the four-team Region VI tournament at Topeka’s Hummer Park Saturday.
The No. 4 seed, the Blue Devils will open at noon against No. 1 seeded Highland, the nation’s No. 8 ranked Division II team with a 36-8 record. The other noon semifinal will match No. 2 Independence (40-14) and No. 3 Cloud (29-12) . The two winners and the two losers will then collide at 4 p.m. with tourney play to be completed starting at 10 a.m. Sunday
Saturday’s meeting with Highland will be the third for KCKCC, which dropped 9-2 and 3-0 decisions at Highland.
“If our pitching and hitting are on, we can play with anybody,” said Tillery, who last took KCKCC to the NJCAA national tournament n 2004..
Leslie Ford, who is third in the nation in number of innings pitched with 272, will carry the pitching load for KCKCC. As the workhorse of the staff, Ford is 21-6 with a 1.76 earned run average, seven shutouts and 21 complete games. Ford has also given up 13 home runs, which could be a problem. Highland is sixth in the nation in home runs this year with 40 and has a team batting average of .373. For is expected to face Paige Crawford (12-2 with 1.68 ERA) in the opener.
The top of the KCKCC lineup may be the best in the nation. Third baseman Lacey Santiago his hitting .494 in the leadoff position and leads the team in stolen bases with 14; centerfielder Justice Scales is hitting .497 and second in RBI with 41; and outfielder Mierra Morrisette leads in hitting (.500) and RBI (49) from the No. 3 spot.
Second baseman Amanda Holyrod leads the team in home runs with four, is second in RBI with 45 and hitting .397 from the cleanup spot while shortstop Hanna Barnhart is hitting .421 with 25 RBI at No. 5. Catcher Megan Dike, a .365 hitter with 11 stolen bases; Ford (.287), outfielder Ashley Henington (.307) and first baseman Laura Vanderheiden (.282) round out starting lineup. Santiago, Morrisette, Holroyd, Barnhart and Dike are all sophomores.