April 21st, 2013
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS- The Cup race returned to KC at the Kansas Speedway. Matt Kenseth was able to take the pole position for this race, with Carl Edwards starting beside him on the front row. Kenseth also set a new record at the track with a speed of 191.864. This was Kenseth’s ninth pole in 480 races of his career. Both Jeff Gordon (Qualifying) and Kyle Busch (Practice) crashed their cars. Busch was able to take a back-up car and qualify in fifth, but Gordon had to start at the back of the field. This is the very first time that Gordon has started as the very last car in the field. During the pre-race show, NASCAR did a very nice Tribute on Pat Summerall who passed away this past week. He was 82 years old, and he was the voice of the NFL with John Madden for thirty years. He also covered numerous years of Golf and Tennis. Kansas Speedway had plenty of green in the race, as they were supporting Nascartogreen.com. The track surface was replaced last fall. There have been three races on the new surface and there have been plenty of cautions due to the high speeds. Brian Vickers ran Denny Hamlin’s car for the second weekend in a row.
In opening ceremonies, “A Moment of Silence” was held for Boston and West, Texas. Cole Cochran provided the Invocation. Tate Stevens sang the “National Anthem” and NASCAR Legend Richard Petty, was the Grand Marshal. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the In-race reporter. The KC Flight Team flew overhead of the track. OneFundBoston.Org was also displayed for donations to Boston for the losses they had on Monday.
In other NASCAR news: Brad Keselowski was penalized after he spent Tuesday getting congratulations from President Obama, for winning the Championship last year. He and teammate Joey Lagono both received penalties and loss of points for illegal parts on their cars. The rear gear housing was taken by NASCAR officials, and the teams received a variety of punishments for them. Both drivers received a 25 point reduction in their scored points, so far this season. Both crews received suspensions for this action as well. The crew chief for both drivers, also were fined $100K a piece. A handful of the team’s crew members, received 6 week suspensions that will hurt both team’s plenty. Both Roger Penske cars violated sections 12-1, 12-4J and 20-12, which control all suspension systems. Martin Truex Jr. lost 6 points, for his car being too low in a post-race inspection at Texas also. His crew chief received a $25K fine, and he was placed under probation until June 5, 2013. Ron Hornaday Jr. also received penalties this week, for an on-track incident at Rockingham last weekend. He bumped another driver (Wallace) in disgust, and he spun out into the wall. He lost 25 points and he was fined $25K. This incident happened under caution which is the reason for NASCAR responding to it. This happened in the Camping World Truck Series.
At the beginning of the race, the temperatures were at 62 degrees. There were winds from 10-25 mph that would be affecting the race all day. The race was scheduled for 267 laps.
On lap 5, Kyle Busch (18) spun out on track. This brought out the first caution. He was running third when this happened. During the final practice, Busch hit the wall in the same corner and had to go to a backup race car.
On lap 38, David Blaney (7) ran up and into the wall to being out the second caution. Just prior to this caution, Kurt Busch (78) made a green flag stop due to a rear left tire being loose since the start of the race.
On lap 74, caution came out for debris on track. Martin Truex Jr. (56) was penalized for a crew member not being across the pit box before he left it. Sam Hornish Jr. (12) had a tire violation and was also penalized.
On lap 87, the fourth caution came out for Elliott Sadler (81) spinning out, and then into the outside wall.
On lap 104, Kyle Busch spun out and as he came back across the track, and onto the apron, he and Joey Lagono (22) ran into each other. The two cars hit nose to nose and it destroyed both cars. Busch was not happy that his car was so snappy. He did not even try to wait for repairs to be attempted, as he changed into his street clothes and left the track pissy. Matt Kenseth (20) has led the first 102 laps.
At the mid-race point, Martin Truex Jr. had the lead. He finished second at this track twice last year. The fastest car on track seems to be Jimmie Johnson (48), who has been passing a lot of cars in the first half. Brad Keselowski (2) has also passed 31 cars so far in the race. On lap 146, Keselowski, Mark Martin (55), Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray (1) had to make stops after they did not stop at the last caution.
On lap 156, the green flag stops began to take place with the leaders. Kenseth reported that his oil temperature had went over 310 degrees. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) took a few laps as the leader, before making his stop for four tires.
On lap 163, Stenhouse Jr. ran his car out of fuel, as he was coming to pit road. Juan Pablo Montoya (42) had a tire failure, and had to go back into the pits a second time.
On lap 174, the sixth caution came out after Brian Vickers (11) spun out, after tagging the wall. This was the third of four JGR cars to have damages at Kansas.
On lap 180, the seventh caution flew when Marcus Ambrose (9), spun and then Sam Hornish Jr. (12) got into him. Casey Mears (13), then spun into Hornish Jr. Timmy Hill (32) was bumped by Danica Patrick (10) in the incident. David Gilliland (38) also had some damage.
Near lap 200, Marcus Ambrose was running inside of Danica Patrick and he got loose and ran into the side of Patrick’s car. Patrick’s car began to smoke pretty heavily from the rear corner panel rubbing the tire. No caution came out for the contact. Patrick had to make a green flag stop earlier in the race due to garbage on her grill. That dropped her two laps down, and she had just got one of those laps back prior to this incident. Jack Roush pledged $100 per lap his cars lead in the race, and to this point that has been 36 laps. Track temperature had risen to 88 degrees.
On lap 217, the last green flag stop begin. The caution flew for the eighth time during this round of stops, trapping Earnhardt Jr., Stenhouse Jr., Edwards, Gordon and Biffle one lap down, due to Keselowski’s rear panel flew off the car. The cars that were caught a lap down were able to stay on track, and come around to stay on the lead lap. It would be costly to all of them either way, when they were in the top ten before the caution flew. They restarted back near twentieth spot, with 44 laps left.
Matt Kenseth (20) was able to hold off Kasey Kahne (5) with just a car length or two for the win. Kenseth was able to go from pole to victory. He is the third driver in three races to run pole to victory. Kenseth also is the third driver to get his second win in the first eight races of the season. He led 163 of the 267 laps run, and he also ran the fastest lap in the race, being run at 184.59 mph. That was completed on lap 10 of the race.
The rest of the top ten were: Jimmie Johnson (48), Martin Truex Jr. (56), Clint Bowyer (15), Brad Keselowski (2), Jamie McMurray (1), Aric Almirola (43), Mark Martin (55) and Paul Menard (27).
The next race will be at Richmond next Saturday night at 7 PM on Fox.
Jimmie Johnson remains the points leader after this race.