A record setting day occurred Sunday afternoon at the Kansas Speedway. We set the all-time caution record at the Kansas Speedway. Fourteen cautions at Kansas were also the most in any race this season. Matt Kenseth was slightly involved in an incident today but Kenseth still came out on top. Kenseth struggled early in the Chase and that put him behind in the point’s standings and now with two wins, he still sits far back in the Chase standings. Many Chasers experienced troubles today but the points were slightly affected.
Pole-sitter Kasey Kahne couldn’t even hold the lead for one lap. Mark Martin quickly got around Kahne to lead the first lap. Aric Almirola had a very strong car for much of the afternoon and he took the lead for the first time on lap seven. The first caution of the day came out on lap 31 for the No.13 of Casey Mears who blew a tire and hit the turn two wall hard. That type of incident occurred all race long. A very rare occurrence occurred on the restart. We saw three non-Chasers leading the race. With all Chase drivers competing for a championship, to see none of them in the top three at one point in the race is very rare.
Kyle Busch brought out the second caution of the day when he spun off turn four. Busch was running second at the time. A.J Allmendinger brought out the third caution of the day when he blew his tire and hit the turn three wall hard. Allmendinger had been running in the top five up until that point. Jimmie Johnson beat Aric Almirola off pit road to gain the lead for the first time in the race. The fourth yellow-flag of the day came out on lap 83 for Jeff Burton who hit the wall in turn four after slight contact with Tony Stewart. The contact got Burton loose and he slapped the wall. Jimmie Johnson pitted from the lead on lap 119 to start the cycle of green-flag pit stops and he handed the lead over to Aric Almirola.
The fifth caution of the day came out on lap 122 for leader Aric Almirola. Almirola got into the wall coming off of turn four. Almirola had little damage and he eventually made his way back to the front. Last week’s winner Clint Bowyer was the new leader on the restart. Matt Kenseth took his first lead of the afternoon on lap 128. At the halfway mark of the race we’ve witnessed almost twice as many cautions as we saw in the April Kansas race. The new Kansas surface proved to be exciting and tough to maneuver halfway through the race. Kenseth led followed by Bowyer, Biffle, Gordon and Menard.
A potentially devastating blow to Jimmie Johnson’s championship hopes occurred on lap 135. Johnson got loose in turn four and backed into the wall. Johnson never went to the garage and his team repaired the back end of the car under the caution. Johnson had been running very well up until this point. Not even one lap after the restart trouble struck again. Bobby Labonte wrecked in turn three after slight contact with David Gilliland. Labonte spun up the track and backed into the outside wall. Labonte brought his car to the garage and ended his day.
The eighth yellow-flag of the day appeared on lap 155 for Danica Patrick and Landon Cassill. Cassill and Patrick had been running roughly around the track for quite a few laps and Danica didn’t lay off Cassill’s bumper going into turn two. Cassill and Patrick spun and when Danica tried to save her car, she took a hard right turn into the outside wall. Patrick suffered a lot of damage and Cassill got away with minimal damage. Danica’s crew chief Greg Zipadelli told her after the incident that “you (Danica) know better than that.” Patrick said in an interview that she has to “stand up for myself or everybody is going to do it (race rough with her).” On the restart Mark Martin moved to the lead.
The ninth caution of the race came out on lap 165 for Tony Stewart who spun down the backstretch. Stewart managed not to hit anything and continue on in the race. The tenth yellow-flag waved with 99 laps to go for Trevor Bayne and Marcos Ambrose. Ambrose drove into turn three hard and then he tried to slow up but he moved up and got into Trevor Bayne, turning them both into the outside wall. On the ensuing restart Aric Almirola spun down the backstretch while battling Mark Martin for the lead. No caution came out and the race continued.
Chaser Greg Biffle had his day go down the drain when he wrecked off turn four. Biffle got loose coming off turn four and then he slapped the wall hard and then spun through the infield grass. Biffle would then take his No.16 car behind the wall. The twelfth caution of the day came out with 86 laps to go. Kyle Busch was tapped from behind by Ryan Newman coming off turn four and Busch backed into the outside wall and then he slid through the infield grass. Newman was then tapped from behind by Sam Hornish Jr and Newman slid through the infield grass which tore up Newman’s front end. Busch said after the incident that “he’ll (Newman) get another one before the year’s out.”
With 60 laps to go, drivers including Denny Hamlin began making their green-flag pit stops. The record breaking thirteenth caution came out with 54 laps to go for Aric Almirola who had an incredible impact on the turn four wall. Almirola cut a tire down and then went full speed into the turn four wall. Almirola said after the incident that he had the wind knocked out of him during the impact. Almirola said “I never had a race car that good” after the incident. Almirola was having his best run of the year up until this point. Almirola had also led a career amount of laps in the race.
Kenseth was the leader on the restart. The fourteenth and final caution of the afternoon came out with 33 laps to go for Sam Hornish Jr who blew a tire and hit the turn one wall. Kasey Kahne was expected to challenge Matt Kenseth for the lead on the upcoming restart but when Kahne didn’t maintain pace car speed under caution, he was penalized. Kahne fell back to sixth and that mistake cost him a potential victory.
Matt Kenseth was able to hold off Martin Truex Jr for the final laps. Kenseth then crossed the line first for the third time this season and the second time in three weeks. Kenseth won at Talladega two weeks ago and now he has won his second Chase race. Kenseth was emotional in victory lane because this could be his final win for Roush-Fenway Racing. Kenseth is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.
Other notable Chasers finishes are Martin Truex Jr in second, Kahne in fourth, Stewart fifth, Bowyer sixth, Keselowski eighth, Johnson ninth, Gordon tenth, Harvick eleventh, Hamlin thirteenth and Biffle twenty-seventh. Almost half the Chasers were involved in an incident throughout the afternoon. Jimmie Johnson went from wrecking and being counted out of a good finish to a top ten finish. If Johnson is to win the championship, this race will be the race looked back on as his best performance.
Brad Keselowski still leads the point’s standings by seven over Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin trails Keselowski by twenty and Bowyer trails Keselowski by twenty-five. A record fourteen cautions shook up the Chase field once again. Johnson and Hamlin continue to Chase Keselowski heading into Martinsville.
Martinsville has been very good to drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin and they could finally make their move on Keselowski. More drama is expected next week at Martinsville; tune in next Sunday to see another wild Chase race.
Results via Nascar.com
|2||16||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||42/0||267||Running|
|3||14||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / CertainTeed||42/1||267||Running|
|4||1||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||41/1||267||Running|
|5||33||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||39/0||267||Running|
|6||3||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women||39/1||267||Running|
|7||39||88||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||37/0||267||Running|
|8||25||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||36/0||267||Running|
|12||18||9||Marcos Ambrose||Ford||Black & Decker||32/0||267||Running|
|13||9||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Freight||31/0||267||Running|
|15||21||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Arctic Cat||29/0||267||Running|
|16||24||42||Juan Montoya||Chevrolet||Taylor Swift / Target||28/0||267||Running|
|17||31||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||28/1||267||Running|
|18||26||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||26/0||267||Running|
|19||8||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||Dollar General||25/0||267||Running|
|20||37||34||David Ragan||Ford||Client One Securities, LLC||24/0||267||Running|
|21||32||21||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center||0||267||Running|
|22||42||32||Timmy Hill||Ford||Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome||22/0||267||Running|
|23||38||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Long John Silver’s||22/1||267||Running|
|24||2||55||Mark Martin||Toyota||Aaron’s Dream Machine||21/1||267||Running|
|25||29||78||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||19/0||265||Running|
|26||15||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||0||234||Accident|
|27||11||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / Sherwin Williams||17/0||227||Running|
|30||6||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Code 3 Associates||14/0||188||Accident|
|31||4||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||M&M’s Halloween||13/0||181||Accident|
|34||35||195||Scott Speed||Ford||B&D Electrical||10/0||77||Electrical|
|35||13||51||AJ Allmendinger||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction||9/0||69||Accident|
|36||30||119||Mike Bliss||Toyota||Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza||0||47||Vibration|
|38||43||179||Kelly Bires||Ford||Bestway Disposal / Re-Load.biz||0||28||Rear Gear|
|39||41||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||TBR / TMone||5/0||25||Brakes|
|40||36||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||22||Rear Gear|
|41||34||191||Reed Sorenson||Toyota||Plinker Tactical / Crowne Plaza||0||18||Overheating|
|43||23||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||K-Love / Curb Records||1/0||7||Vibration|